MIND-BENDING CHALLENGES

MIND-BENDING CHALLENGES

Reporting from the Hoseasons Owners Conference & Awards...

THE ANNUAL HOSEASONS awards were presented at a glittering Gala Awards ceremony.

Hoseasons, one of the UK’s leading self-catering accommodation specialists, with more than 30,000 British destinations in coastal and countryside settings, gathered for its much-anticipated annual conference and awards event recently. From lodges and parks, to boats, cottages and apartments, the Hoseasons brand offers the widest available range of self-catering holidays in the UK accommodating 2.1 million holidaymakers and more than 170,000 pets every year and is part of Awaze - Europe’s leading managed vacation rentals and holiday resorts business.

More than 600 delegates gathered at the prestigious Celtic Manor Resort in Newport, Wales, in November and were rewarded with a packed conference programme and supportive trade exhibition. Many of the conference presenters were from the Awaze in-house team with an impressive injection of expert business and motivational speakers - all topped-off by a star appearance from comedian Tom Allen who co-hosted the Awards presentations.

Lead presenter, Daisy McAndrew, talked about the ‘mind-bending’ challenges holiday park operators had faced in the past ten years following Brexit, the pandemic, war in Ukraine, or five Prime Ministers and the cost-of-living crisis. She set the stage with Hoseason’s Simon Altham. Catherine Smith and Kris Penny gave an insightful talk on revenue management emphasising the importance of effective revenue management strategies for maximising revenue.

SPECIALLY SELECTED TRADE suppliers at the Hoseasons conference including Compass Insurance.

Andrew Goward and Luke Hansford shared key insights and industry trends that are shaping the industry’s future. Daniel Hulme (PhD), an AI and tech expert, shared mind-blowing insights into the future of AI technology before Martin Rovsing and Blake Carroll Fulford-Brown showcased innovative product designs and future technology that will enhance customer experiences. John Crosby’s presentation on Hoseasons’ marketing achievements highlighted the impactful campaigns and strategies Hoseasons have implemented.

Guest presenter, Tori James took delegates on an incredible journey of resilience and determination. Her storytelling was captivating and reminded us of the power of perseverance. Jamaine Campbell from Elite Dynamics, the Headline Sponsor, shared valuable insights on how the company’s partnership has truly elevated holiday park experiences. Adam Boulton, a renowned political broadcaster, discussed the impact of politics on the tourism industry.

His analysis shed light on the challenges and opportunities we may face. Rupa Patel, Laura Smith, and Dan Taylor provided an update on regulatory changes affecting our industry. Their work shapes the new rules to benefit our owners. The business development team discussed innovation and industry trends. They highlighted the importance of collaborating with Hoseasons for new developments.

THE BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT Panel is a popular part of the annual Hoseasons Conference programme.

Jason Fox inspired delegates with his session on resilience and overcoming challenges. He reminded us that the right mindset can conquer any obstacle before the impressive day-long programme was round-up by Hoseasons CEO, Henrik Kjellberg. Delegates included Gregg Mumford, Chief Executive of Richardsons Group that offers varied accommodation at its Hemsby Beach Holiday Park as well as holidays afloat on a fleet of over 200 boats on the Norfolk Broads.

Greg said they offer a combination of direct bookings and bookings through Hoseasons with slightly more coming through Hoseasons for the dry holidays and 60 per cent booking directly for boats. He confirmed “One of the main things you get working with Hoseasons is that you get the overall picture of the domestic tourism market including insights, such as which accommodation types are booking and how well they will yield,” Greg shared when he talked to Holiday Park SCENE magazine.

“The Conference enables everybody to come together and share your insights individually and there is always a great line up of presenters.” Hemsby Beach Holiday Park will offer close to 400 units this year following the addition of pet-friendly lodges with hot tubs. The resort also offers a popular Clubhouse, a show bar that seats 420 people, restaurant and family entertainment centre. The Hemsby team also work with Hoseason’s Go Active scheme offering climbing walls, and high ropes.

DAISY MCANDREW set the stage with Hoseason’s Simon Altham.

“One of our biggest challenges is predicting the market year on year and Hoseasons are great with statistics and advice on this,” Greg adds. “The external speakers are very good but it is equally important to hear from the Hoseasons team and I value the panel discussion they have.” Sarah and Jeremy Barber, now working alongside son-in-law Richard Broome, began diversifying their 357 acres of rolling farm land in 2016 adding just three holiday lodges and evolving up to a current stock of 16 holiday lodges with hot tubs.

“We have only booked through Hoseasons right from the start,” said Jeremy. “Although they book through Hoseasons, we like to offer the personal touch and make an effort to give each lodge plenty of space and a friendly greeting on arrival,” he continued. “We did not come to the conference at first because we did not release how much was on offer,” he said. “We have really appreciated the Hoseasons involvement and the return on holiday lodge investment has been colossal,” he added.

Love2Stay owner, Mark Debb, of Salop Leisure was an enthusiastic supporter: “The Hoseasons reach is phenomenal,” says Mark who says the stand-out resort still manages to retain its individuality while benefitting from the multi-million Hoseason reach. “We want as much return as possible to reinvest as much as feasible,” says Mark who says with raw materials increases it is now taking two and a half years to see a return on investment of a £45k lodge compared with 12 months pre-pandemic.

DELEGATES MINGLED with a host of selected trade suppliers for a complimentary exhibition.

BEST IN BRITAIN
A prestigious roll of honour at the evening awards presentations heard Henlle Hall Woodland Lodges, near Oswestry, had scooped the Best in Britain Award for the Small Park category for the second year in a row. The park was also named Best Small Lodge Escape destination in the Heart of England.

Commenting on the park’s success, Cosmo Lloyd and Keeta Thomas, Joint Owners of Henlle Hall Woodland Lodges, said: “We were really pleased to be recognised with the regional award, but being named Best in Britain for the second-year running has really blown us away! In the end it all comes down to the hard work the team puts into looking after our guests. They do a fantastic job when it comes to providing excellent holiday experiences and that’s why we have so many happy customers.”

Henlle Hall Woodland Lodges is part of Hoseasons’ Magnificent collection – encompassing six locations across the UK featuring the highest level of luxury accommodation, service and innovation. Another hat-trick winner was Selsey Holiday Park, named Best in Britain for the quality of its food by staycation specialist Hoseasons. The park also won the Customer Choice Food Award for Family Fun Destinations as well as the award for the Best Family Fun Destination in the South of England.

HOSEASONS SURPRISED party-goers as top comedian Tom Allen co-hosted the recent awards.

Andrew Sheerin, Sales & Marketing Director at Cove UK, the parent company of Seal Bay, said: “Winning three awards in one night, including one for being the Best in Britain, has really blown us away! In the end it all comes down to the hard work and dedication the team puts into looking after our guests. They do a fantastic job and that’s why we have so many happy customers.”

Speaking after presenting the awards in front of more than 600 operators, industry suppliers and members of the Hoseasons team, Luke Hansford, Senior Vice President - Supply at Hoseasons, said: “It takes something special to be named Best of Britain at these awards, particularly when you consider the quality of the competition.

MAX OFFERS REVENUE BOOST

MAX OFFERS REVENUE BOOST

AWAZE HAS TEAMED UP with the Hospitality Professionals Association to launch a first-of-its-kind training programme.

Holiday park owners who signed up to Hoseasons’ new revenue maximisation service MAX have enjoyed a strong start to the year, despite the cost of living crisis. Average income is up 35% for those owners using the service compared to the same point in 2019 – a statistic the self-catering specialist says clearly demonstrates the value of its unique revenue management model in a price-sensitive market.

David Groves, Director of Trading Performance at Awaze – the parent company of Hoseasons, says: “We all know people are having to make tough decisions about where they spend their hard-earned cash at the moment. “The Great British public are prepared to cut back on other luxuries if it means protecting their annual break, but they must feel like they are getting value for money.

“That’s why an approach that carefully balances occupancy and price is so important for holiday park owners right now if they want to make the most of their asset.” News of MAX’s success comes as Awaze teams up with the Hospitality Professionals Association (HOSPA) to launch a first-of-its-kind training programme to develop Revenue Management talent for the ever-growing short-term rental sector.

 

PRICE IS IMPORTANT FOR HOLIDAY PARK owners right now advises David Groves, Director of Trading Performance at Awaze.

The company has agreed a two-year sponsorship of the trailblazing programme, which it hopes will provide a strong pipeline of revenue managers with skills tailored specifically for the vacation rental market. Three qualifications are being offered as part of the programme, including the Foundation Certificate in Revenue Management, the Professional Certificate in Operational Revenue Management, and the Professional Diploma in Strategic Revenue Management.

The Foundation course is an entry-level introduction to revenue management principles and practices and is ideal for holiday park owners, on-site teams (such as reception or reservations managers) or operators’ corporate office staff. The Professional Certificate and Diploma - whilst open to everyone - will be mainly suited to those with some revenue management skills, including those with hotel sector experience and those seeking a career in revenue management.

Six Awaze staff have collaborated with the HOSPA Professional Development Team to shape the content for the three courses, which are already proving popular with finance staff from both individual and multiple park operators For more information about the Revenue Management Programme and to apply, visit https://www.hospa.org/professional-development.

BACK TOGETHER AGAIN

BACK TOGETHER AGAIN

Reporting from the Hoseasons owners conference...

 

EVENING ENTERTAINMENT at the Hoseasons Owners Conference 2022 gala dinner and Diamond Award Ceremony

 

The Hoseasons Owners Conference is always one of the UK holiday industry’s most hotly-anticipated events of the year. Bringing together hundreds of holiday park, lodge, and boating hire operators and a further 50 handpicked industry suppliers, there’s always a buzz in the air as the first week of November rolls around and people start getting ready for ‘conference’.

But last year’s event – the company’s 16th - was even more special than usual as it marked a return to it’s regular in-person format following a two-year break due to Covid. Held at The Celtic Manor Resort in Newport, South Wales, the Hoseasons Owners Conference saw more than 500 delegates treated to a mix of market insight from the team at Hoseasons and parent company Awaze, as well as a range of external speakers including Olympic Champion Hurdler Colin Jackson, markets commentator Justin Urquhart-Stewart and professional speaker Phil Hesketh.

TRADE SHOW
The two-day event also featured a trade show exhibition reception providing park, lodge, and boating operators the chance to network with key industry suppliers, including hot tub companies and holiday home manufacturers through to providers of IT business solutions, such as Elite Dynamics - the event’s headline sponsor.

Luke Hansford, Senior Vice-President of Business Development for Awaze UK, says: “The Hoseasons Owners Conference enables us to stay close to the networks of key suppliers within our industry and gives our owner partners the chance to speak directly to people who can help them achieve their growth ambitions. “Exhibitors are handpicked to reflect the best range of services our owners require to successfully operate and grow within the UK holiday accommodation market, and our 2022 exhibition was our biggest and best to date.”

The event culminated with the renowned Gala Dinner – a chance to recognise and celebrate the achievements and successes of the best-performing locations in the Hoseasons portfolio and reward then for the outstanding holiday experiences and service they have provided the company’s customers over the previous 12 months. Entertainment from comedian Michael McIntyre ensured 2022’s event will live long in the memory of those who attended.

 

DELEGATES ARRIVED to an exhibitor reception which kicked off the two day event

 

Paul Evans, Vice–President, Property & Portfolio for Hoseasons, says: “It really was a fantastic event and was great to see our industry back together again. Together we were able to reflect upon 2022 and celebrate some remarkable achievements, whilst also planning for success in 2023 and beyond.

“The year ahead will clearly come with its challenges, but the optimism in the room at Conference was palpable and it was great to hear owners sharing our positive outlook on the future for domestic tourism. “We always set ourselves the challenge of bettering the previous conference,” he says, adding: “Our team is already busy planning an even better one in 12 months’ time!” The 2023 Hoseasons Owners Conference is set to return to The Celtic Manor Resort on 7th – 8th November, 2023.

THE DIVERSIFICATION JOURNEY

THE DIVERSIFICATION JOURNEY

 

FOLLY FARM’S new lodge offering blends seamlessly with the attraction side of the business.

 

Families who holiday in South Wales will typically include a trip to Pembrokeshire’s fabulous Folly Farm Adventure Park. Located just 15 minutes from the popular seaside resort of Tenby, this fun-filled destination, complete with vintage fairground and world-class zoo, is now the largest privately-run, paid for visitor attraction in Wales.

A working dairy farm until the late 1980s, Folly Farm has expanded so much over the last 30 years that it’s now a shining example of what can be achieved with a clear commercial vision and a diversification strategy to match.

 

 

TAKE THE PLUNGE
And it was this never-stand-still spirit that led Managing Director, Chris Ebsworth, to take the plunge and open a holiday park next to the visitor attraction just after the first lockdown. This 43-pitch five-star touring park and campsite - complete with four cool and quirky Showman’s Wagons - has been so popular over the last two years that Chris has now decided to diversify further into the holiday let market with the addition of six fairground-themed luxury lodges with hot tubs.

Chris knew introducing lodge accommodation was something he wanted to do to capitalise on continuing strong demand for UK breaks, but he also knew it would be prudent to call on the advice, guidance and support of a trusted expert partner to help bring his vision to life, his product to market and crucially to ensure the best possible return on his investment.

That’s when he turned to Luke Hansford, Vice President Business Development at Awaze – the parent company of staycation specialist Hoseasons – a decision Chris says has ensured the location’s new lodge offering blends seamlessly with the attraction side of the business as part of an all-round ‘stay and play’ package perfect for families looking for experiential breaks.

 

FOLLY FARM is a shining example of what can be achieved with a clear diversification strategy.

 

“We’ve always been farmers, it’s in our blood, but diversification is what keeps us thriving as a privately owned, family run business,” says Chris, adding: “We could see the lodges were a good idea, but it quickly became apparent as a relatively new accommodation business, that we would need to draw on the expertise, knowledge and professionalism of a brand like Hoseasons that has successfully been delivering family holidays for years.”

“We had many meetings with Luke to run through the options, weighing up the pros and cons of different types of accommodation before making our decision. He also supported us to perfect the presentation of our new lodges – from reflecting the Folly Farm brand in the interiors to making sure the landscaping and planting were right.

“Luke was also instrumental in bringing to our attention the importance of an arrival experience for our guests – something which has resulted in a brand new customer reception, along with plans for an onsite shop selling local produce, which we are hoping to open next year.”

 

FOLLY FARM opened a holiday park next to the visitor attraction just after the first lockdown.

 

PAYING DIVIDENDS
Luke believes the care and attention Folly Farm have put into their new development will pay dividends over the next few years as families see the value of staying somewhere aspirational with fantastic facilities, activities and entertainment on their doorstep.

He says: “It’s been an absolute pleasure working with Chris to bring his vision to market. He really understands the importance of continuing to evolve the offer so that they stay relevant in an ever-changing market. “Pressures on family budgets mean people will be looking to get the most out of their UK breaks over the next few years – something that bodes well for locations like Folly Farm Adventure Park who know they need to invest and innovate to keep pace with guest expectations.

 

CHRIS EBSWORTH worked with Hoseasons to fill his lodges and showman’s wagons.

 

“You only have to look at their high occupancy rates and average 9.6 out of 10 rating on our independent review system Revoo to see their approach is working.” Working with Hoseasons to fill his lodges and showman’s wagons has given Chris the confidence to push on with the next phase of development, including rhino-themed lodges overlooking the black rhino enclosure, lion-themed lodges and giraffe-themed safari tents – all of which are expected to be up and running by Spring next year. All the new lodges and showman’s wagons at Folly Farm Adventure Park are exclusively available to book via Hoseasons.

www.hoseasons.co.uk