PET FRIENDLY

PET FRIENDLY

As one of the UK’s leading self-catering accommodation specialists, we are proud to provide holidays for more than 170,000 pets every year.

The owners we work with who welcome pets see an average 46% uplift in booking volume at their locations compared to those who don’t. Call our business development experts today to find out more about the benefits of being pet friendly.

Hoseasons
0345 268 1500
joinus@hoseasons.co.uk

A DECADE OF DESTINATIONS

A DECADE OF DESTINATIONS

Celebrating Holiday Park SCENE's tenth anniversary...

Flip the rewind switch on the time machine to 2013 and we find British Prime Minister David Cameron publishing a draft European Union Bill aimed at holding a referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union by 2017. It was the year that former Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher died, following a stroke, while Catherine, now Princess of Wales, gave birth to George Alexander Louis at St Mary’s Hospital, London.

On the sports scene, Andy Murray became the first British man to win Wimbledon since Fred Perry in 1936; defeating Novak Djokovic of Serbia in straight sets. Rising temperatures led to health warnings being issued, for Southern England and the Midlands, in the UK’s first prolonged heatwave since 2006. The weather continued to be challenging as, at the end of October, what became known as the St Judes’ Day storm, brought with it gusts of 99 mph at The Needles on the Isle of Wight.

2013 also saw the launch issue of Holiday Park SCENE, a new print and on-line magazine, packed with fresh ideas and a must-read for anyone who runs or works in a holiday park sector. The Holiday Park SCENE team set out its ambition to work as an extension of destination management teams. These core aims have stayed entrenched in the magazine’s mission statement to inform and inspire UK holiday destinations, boosting visitor experiences and reaping rich returns on investments.

For more than a decade now, Holiday Park SCENE has offered the inside track on the latest market news and reports covering all aspects of holiday park management. We have brought you behind the scenes news on destination businesses that are performing well as generously, they shared their experiences. But most importantly, we have talked to the people who matter – people who add the experience, energy and enthusiasm to keep raising standards across all areas of the UK and Eire holiday park sector.

With the help of our knowledgeable writing team over ten years, we have covered subjects as varied as holiday lodges, glamping, hot tubs, catering and entertainment. The Holiday Park SCENE team has looked at some of the latest options from camping to glamping and investigated the potential for health and wellness as an added value income for business, not just in the summer but all year through.

Over the course of its first decade, Holiday Park SCENE has held hands with some of the biggest names in UK holidays from Butlin’s to Parkdean and from Park Holidays to Hoseasons. Throughout ten busy years, that have simply flown by, the magazine has featured more than 250 destinations and well over 1,000 businesses within the magazine. Holiday Park SCENE has been granted a ten-year long front row seat as the boost in staycations and investment in family time saw the holiday sector enjoy a sustained boom period.

A fountain of inspiration, Holiday Park SCENE supported the networking opportunities at some of the industry’s leading trade shows and event to find out what they can offer businesses in the way of fresh ideas as well as new products and services. Holiday Park SCENE has frequently relied upon some of the UK’s leading parks to share their tips for an effective entertainment programme that will keep guests coming back for more through play and on-site attractions.

We have discussed the e-marketing revolution with the rise and rise of social media which we warned you would ignore at your peril. The New Year is often the traditional time to re-evaluate our business goals. An opportunity to take stock of the previous 12 months and resolve to make a difference for the year ahead. We examined the Winning Ways of maximising the potential of amusement and arcade game attractions.

The holiday park industry has always been ahead of the field when it comes to preserving the business development balance with Mother Nature. David Bellamy was a holiday park ambassador when it came to highlighting the eco-factor, building in green spaces and protecting nature. Holiday Park SCENE has reflected this with frequent looks at everything from eco-friendly accommodation and energy-efficient business choices like heat pumps and electric vehicles.

The first rule of marketing is that it is not good enough to be good. You have to be perceived to be good. So Holiday Park SCENE urged you to pick up your bucket and spade with a heap of tips and ideas that will enable your business to stand out from the crowd. We looked at the increasing use of automated control systems to dramatically reduce the risk of human error in the management of holiday park swimming pools. Holiday Park SCENE has regularly tackled the thorny issue of security with features like Lock Down.

We frequently carried advice on how holiday park destinations can maximise the potential of their water leisure offering, with the addition of splash pads, flumes and water play equipment. We urged you to put up the ‘do not disturb sign’ as we invited you to relish this packed edition with a wealth of inspiring initiatives and ideas to weave into your future business planning.

Probably our most popular and ‘stand-out’ cover of the first ten years, the September 2019 front cover featured one of the life-size wooden horse sculptures now on permanent display at two holiday destinations. More soaring temperatures had accommodation booked to full capacity and then some rain which had the happy visitors spending more on site activities, arcades and in the bars and restaurants. We regularly urged decision-makers to take time away and weigh-up the highs and lows for the season.

What worked well? What could have worked better and what short and long term improvements can be introduced. As well as our regular tips from fellow operators, we brought you timely features like Fashion Statements with the case for quality investment that some argue is crucial for the holiday park sector. We shared the catering thoughts of three holiday park businesses with their Recipe For Success. We also took a look at minimising hassle and maximising sales with our look at on-line management systems in, Click Here.

Like the rest of the sector, Holiday Park SCENE was eagerly anticipating the peak summer season ahead. There had been a general feeling of optimism and positivity in the air with early bird bookings up considerably, even on 2019’s high-flying figures. Then the small matter of COVID 19 hit. Not just the holiday sector but the entire plant. Official figures confirm the travel and tourism industries contributed 6.7% of all gross value added in the UK in 2018.

Since then, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic impacted the sector heavily in 2020 and into 2021, with government restrictions both in the UK and worldwide preventing tourism for large periods of time. Within the UK, unnecessary travel was first discouraged on 16 March, before a nationwide lockdown was announced on 23 March. Travel was again impacted by the second and third English lockdowns in November 2020 and January 2021 and travel corridors were suspended on 18 January 2021.

Heavily into a stop-start-stop-go scenario, government measures helped in the retention of key staff with some timely business funding initiatives. Restrictions-permitted, the industry’s quick-thinkers took an opportunity to rethink and reinvest in facilities, while the customers were forced to stay away. Holiday Park SCENE reported on the top holiday accommodation trends and revealed the UK’s most popular holiday park destinations while raising the emerging issue of on-site e-charging.

Bonkers busy we knew, but we encouraged managers to locate a quiet cupboard or handy hidey-hole, to escape to, as they soaked up the packed ideas and inspiration throughout the latest edition of Holiday Park SCENE. With the pandemic truly behind us, we challenged business development planners to create an action list with at least five short and long term goals that will help you future-proof business.

The Holiday Park SCENE team pulled out all the stops to keep you abreast of industry trends; sharing good practice with a lodge-full of ideas on maximising the boom in the UK holiday sector. With nearly half of all businesses reporting cyber-crime security issues as well as crucial advice, you could not afford to miss in Lock It Or Lose Out. As we set out on the second decade of reporting on the vibrant UK holiday industry, we feel proud and privileged to work alongside some exceptional businesses and some outstanding people.

We will continue to recommend a pack of sticker notes to mark those pages that you would like to share with the team and to contact some of the advertisers that make Holiday Park SCENE possible. Three cheers to the first ten years as we toast the second decade yet to come!

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.

CARRY ON GLAMPING

CARRY ON GLAMPING

Eco-credentials and a unique experience are top of the list when it comes to maintaining that all-important occupancy rate, reports Judith Wojtowicz

 

PEACE AND TRANQUILLITY in the Malvern Hills, a project developed by The Rural Planning Co

 

Getting up close and personal with a llama might not be everyone’s idea of a perfect holiday break. But at Glamping with Llamas on the border of Norfolk and Cambridgeshire, it is the ultimate in experiential glamping. The clue is in the name… a herd of ‘off duty’ grazing llamas are well used to visitors walking among them.

At 6pm each day, in the words of Tina Gambell, they are ‘on duty’ as she and husband Chris feed, groom and demonstrate how to handle them, sharing with visitors keen to learn more about these gentle creatures. The couple set up their business after realising their paddock pets had potential to offer a unique visitor experience.

“The difference here is that we encourage our guests to walk among the llamas and interact with them where similar sites seem to keep their animals behind a fence,” said Tina. One of their llamas acted as ring bearer for a summer wedding… a truly immersive and unique experience.

 

A WOOD-BURNING STOVE at the heart of this well-appointed safari tent is ideal for chilly nights at Meadowfield

 

SELLING POINTS
“The market is becoming saturated but for sites with a genuine usp, even those who are watching their pennies, will return if they enjoyed a memorable and unique experience,” added Tina, who is developing their wedding offering for the coming year. The word ‘experience’ is cropping up more and more as market growth slows, having seen an explosion of interest during the pandemic as people sought ‘outside’ holiday options.

While some pop-up sites and less-well managed businesses have since vanished, there is still much to choose from, be it a £60 per night cabin with shared shower block or high-end glamour from £200 upwards. In the absence of definitive data, anecdotal evidence seems to indicate glamour alone is no longer enough. Among the fast-growing millennial crowd, priorities include an eco-friendly offering combined with glorious setting and 5-star plus luxury… picture perfect for Instagram.

 

They want quirky en suite accommodation, think treehouse, geodome, gypsy caravan, stargazer tent, yurt, exotic tipi or converted vintage vehicles, with added value such as spa, wellness activities, nature trails and even the services of a top-class professional chef. Green tourism is a big trend with all ages, as people actively seek a glampsite that embraces sustainability, reducing their carbon footprint and getting close to nature.

One such is Brownscombe Luxury Glamping in Devon whose far-ranging sustainability policy has seen it win the Green Tourism Gold Award three years running. Its commitments include using third-party suppliers who follow similar principles such as the local laundry that has invested in biomass and solar technologies to minimise their impact on the environment, not to mention a water borehole.

 

SUNRISE: There’s glamping and then there’s Glamping with Llamas.

 

A fine example of a circular economy designed to reduce waste and protect the environment. Sarah Riley, founder of The Glamping Academy helps would-be hosts around the world to design their dream eco-accommodation. She told us: “Only ten years ago a bell tent in a field was enough of an attraction because it was seen as new and different.

Today, as well as a wonderful location and amazing interiors a successful business needs to maximise the guest experience.” All those things can be found at The Little Shire in Somerset, whimsical hobbit houses built partly underground… fit for hobbits and humans, says Adelle Hobbs, who added glamping to an established commercial operation within a converted dairy farm.

A selection of independent shops and eateries, plus black-nosed valois sheep and friendly alpacas make for a memorable setting. There is even a hobbit playhouse for children.

 

UP CLOSE and personal with Ria the llama.

 

COSY AND WARM
The houses are fully insulated with underfloor heating. While this makes them cosy and warm enabling year-round occupancy, they are energy hungry which is cause for concern amid rising costs. Fresh water comes from a borehole and the site has its own waste system.

Having welcomed her first visitors in May last year, after a four-year planning process interrupted by the pandemic, Adelle was fully booked very quickly and is anxious not to lose that momentum. Marketing is an ongoing challenge a role she has now passed on to a professional agency to relieve her of the ‘mind-boggling stress’ that kept her awake at night worrying about the online booking system and social media.

 

“I am great with people, and I love this lifestyle, but the key thing when starting out is to treat it as a journey of self-discovery, she said. “Learn what you can and can’t do and accept advice and help whether it be technical, practical physical tasks or the all-important planning stage.” In contrast, Meadowfield Luxury Glamping in Warwickshire is part of a working arable farm offering a ‘hands on’ experience to guests who stay in luxuriously appointed safari tents.

Their farm tour, by third generation farmer David Mold, is an education for all ages, especially children who have never seen a combine harvester or those who have no idea where food comes from. His wife, Jules, who was a panellist at The Glamping Show recently, has turned a four-acre meadow, seeded with wildflowers as part of an environmental project, into a thriving glampsite running between April and October.

 

THIS LOTUS BELLE STARGAZER Tent sleeps 10 in a one-acre paddock at Glamping with Llamas

 

“The site is set just off the yard, so guests are close to nature while also getting a close-up view of farm life,” said Jules. Her advice to newbies, as she explained at the show, is to do their homework and take the time to research and draw up a viable plan. And she adds a health warning: “Unless your heart is really set on it, my advice is to think twice,” she said.

“You will spend more, and work harder than you ever imagined although positive feedback is so rewarding and makes the effort worthwhile.” Diversification of this kind was one of the market drivers before Covid, farmers and landowners able to access grant funding from government and other sources to support and enhance rural life.

While this is still the case, there are signs landowners are now partnering with outside investors to monetise the opportunities. They recognise the potential for good return and see glamping as a short-to-medium term project, incorporating an exit strategy into a five-year business plan.

 

PHEW… it’s hot here! Llamas seek the shade on a hot summer’s day

 

CHANGING TRENDS
As the market evolves, this is one of the changing trends noted by The Rural Planning Co, former land agents who specialise in working with new operators. Sophie Blandford, business development and marketing manager, told us: “Ahead of Covid there was real buoyancy and excitement in the market and while that pace has slowed, 2021 was a fantastically successful year because of the ongoing uncertainty of overseas travel which boosted the ‘staycation’.

“The staycation market looks set to stay although popular coastal areas and areas of outstanding natural beauty are becoming saturated. When it comes to applying for planning permission, many local authorities will be keen to capitalise on the tourist pound. The consumer will vote with their feet in a crowded market so providing options in less obvious places is probably where the best opportunity lies at the current time.”

 

Hotels, holiday and caravan parks and even historic houses are getting in on the act, likely to generate even more competition in the future as they have their own traditional audience and are located away from the hustle and bustle of those saturated areas. “On the positive side, there is plenty of room for creativity and good return on investment, as long as the proposal is based on sound planning and in-depth research.” added Sophie.

MAKING IT MAGNIFICENT!

MAKING IT MAGNIFICENT!

Windmill Retreat and Spa offer's the 'wow' factor to woo guests...

WINDMILL RETREAT & SPA’S new luxury lodge development

 

Outdoor baths, balconies and fire pits are just some of the features designed to attract luxury-loving guests to Glastonbury lodge resort Windmill Retreat and Spa this summer. All are included in four new state-of- the-art lodges owner Nick Ridgment is adding at his rural Somerset escape and selling exclusively through staycation specialist Hoseasons.

“We’ve always tried to push the boundaries when it comes to what we offer our guests,” Nick says, adding: “There are lodge parks everywhere these days, so it’s vitally important to stay one step ahead and give customers everything they need for an unforgettable holiday experience when they weigh up their options for a UK break.” Panoramic views of the Somerset Levels, roomy open-plan living, and hot tubs also come as standard with these large three-bedroom properties – the addition of which brings to nine the number of beautifully-designed bespoke lodges to choose from at the park, which Nick opened as a newcomer to the industry in 2015 and chose to partner with Hoseasons to bring to market.

 

CONTEMPORARY LIVING styles are offered in both apartment and cottage accommodation.

 

Since then, the park’s high-end reputation has been cemented with the addition of its state-of-the-art Elements Boutique Spa, as well as an accompanying product range available in Holland and Barrett. The on-site Levels Country Kitchen also adds to the cool vibe with delicious breakfast and lunch options made with fresh ingredients sourced from local suppliers. Nick credits his long-established partnership with Hoseasons as being crucial to the success of the site over the last six years. “It’s one thing attracting customers and another staying ahead of the competition to keep them coming back for more,” says Nick.

“We always had the vision to develop our offering but working with the team at Hoseasons has really helped us realise the potential of the business. “They gave us the confidence to believe in our product in the early days and have offered invaluable insight and guidance over the last few years to ensure we get the best return on our investment in this new development.” Much of that guidance has come from Luke Hansford, Vice President Business Development, at Hoseasons who says Windmill Retreat and Spa is the perfect example of a location that knows it has to develop its offer to stay relevant in the modern UK holiday market.

THE ELEMENTS BOUTIQUE SPA is a huge draw for the Windmill Retreat & Spa

 

ASPIRATIONAL QUALITY
“The innovation and diversification we’ve seen in our industry over the last 18 months has been remarkable, with those used to holidaying abroad pre-pandemic now looking for the same level of aspirational quality in their UK staycation. “The data clearly shows people want more from their UK break and that’s exactly what we’re able to give them through Windmill Retreat and Spa and other high-end locations in our portfolio.”

The exceptional standard of lodge and cottage-style accommodation and facilities at Windmill Retreat and Spa recently led to it being one of only five wow-factor locations included in Hoseasons’ new Magnificent Collection - something the staycation specialist has launched to recognise new standards of quality and innovation across the self-catering holiday industry. Inclusion in the new collection means Windmill Retreat is being marketed to millions of Hoseasons customers looking for top quality accommodation design, premium on-park facilities, exceptional customer service and a genuine commitment to sustainability – something Nick hopes will help to mark it out as one of the country’s premier locations for an aspirational getaway.

NICK RIDGMENT AND ILZE PARANUKA are the owners of Windmill Retreat & Spa.

 

“We’re delighted to have been recognised as magnificent enough for Hoseasons’ new collection and are really looking forward to sharing our fantastic location with even more guests over the weeks, months and years to come.” Magnificent has been launched at a time when demand for luxury UK getaways is at an all-time high, and the number of high-end accommodations joining the Hoseasons portfolio continues to grow. Bookings for luxury properties this year are up 27% compared to the same point in 2019, while the size and scale of parent group Awaze’s luxury portfolio through brands including Hoseasons and sister company cottages.com has grown 45% over the last three years.

For more information about Hoseasons’ Magnificent Collection go to www.hoseasons.co.uk/magnificent