LONDON MEET IS JUST CAPITAL

LONDON MEET IS JUST CAPITAL

DEVON MP Kevin Foster was invited by Beverley Holidays to the recent British Holiday & Home Parks Association annual conference.

Devon MP Kevin Foster was invited by Beverley Holidays to the recent British Holiday & Home Parks Association annual conference. Torbay MP Kevin Foster was the guest of Paignton’s Beverley Holidays at February’s annual conference of the British Holiday & Home Parks Association.

Held at the QEII Conference Centre in Westminster, just a short distance from Parliament, the event was attended by representatives from many of Britain’s 3000-plus holiday parks. The MP was welcomed to the conference by Beverley directors Claire Flower, Nicola Furneaux and Gary Furneaux whose family business last year marked its 65th anniversary.

Started originally by Claire and Nicola’s grandparents in the 1950s, Beverley Holidays is today one of Devon’s most thriving park enterprises providing over 50,000 bed nights each year. It employs up to 180 people in the main holiday season, and maintains 70 full-time posts all year round with training opportunities for those seeking a career in tourism and hospitality.

Kevin Foster heard at the conference how the park was currently investing in new top-end accommodation and guest facilities for visiting families and holiday home buyers in 2024: “For 65 years, Beverley Holidays has been making magical holiday memories for those who visit our beautiful bay at the heart of the English Riviera,” he said. “For Torbay, family fun is a serious business, with thousands of local jobs and many businesses supported by our holiday parks.

“They make our bay what it is, and it was great to join the team from Beverley Holidays at the conference to reflect on how national policy can further support them,” added Kevin Foster. Claire Flower told the MP that Beverley was proud to be able to play a major role in the tourism economy of East Devon, and that its visitors supported many other local businesses.

The conference, she said, had coincided with the publication of a new independent study which examined the economic impact of holiday parks in the UK. It found that parks generate £12.2bn in visitor expenditure each year in the UK and provide over 226,000 FTE jobs whilst representing 5% of the GDP of all UK tourism.

EXPANSION GETS THE GO AHEAD

EXPANSION GETS THE GO AHEAD

The multi-million expansion of a south Pembrokeshire holiday park, that will create dozens of new jobs and provide a welcome boost for regional tourism and leisure, has been given the green light by Pembrokeshire County Council. The proposed development at the Heritage Park, Stepaside, will be delivered by Heritage Leisure Development (Wales) Ltd.

It will result in the provision of 48 new, high-quality holiday lodges, along with an equestrian centre, five-star leisure spa, café, and cycle hire facility. The £6 million project will expand the local tourism offer while also breathing new life into a former pub, craft village and animal farm that have been abandoned and vacant for a number of years.

Heritage Park sits within a popular tourism location, attracting high levels visitors due to its close proximity to the seaside resort of Tenby as well as other local attractions and towns, including Saundersfoot. According to the Welsh Government, Pembrokeshire is ranked as the fifth overall most visited local authority in Wales, with millions of people coming to the region from within the UK and overseas annually.

The proposed development will provide a significant boost to the local economy in this area. An economic impact assessment estimates that people staying at the site are expected to spend significantly within the area, and together with Park spending, there will be an extra nearly £1 million additional expenditure in the local economy each year. Jobs will also be created during construction phase of the development, which is now expected to start next year.

These will be in addition to a number of full-time and part-time jobs that will be created once the park and the other the associated leisure facilities fully open for business. Working on behalf of the owner and operator, Helen Ashby-Ridgway, planning director at the Cardiff office of planning and development consultancy Lichfields, said Heritage Park is well-deserving of its 5* Visit Wales award.

Karl Watson, owner of Heritage Leisure Development, added: “We’re clearly delighted to have secured approval, which marks the next phase in ambitious proposals to provide top quality hospitality and leisure facilities in south Pembrokeshire for holiday- makers and visitors. This project will also breathe new life into a location that’s ready to be transformed, signalling a new chapter for the local area and creating opportunities and jobs for local people.”

TOP OF CLASS FOR HOLIDAY MASCOT

TOP OF CLASS FOR HOLIDAY MASCOT

PARK HOLIDAYS UK mascot Loopy spread the word about the importance of recycling on a visit to an East Sussex primary school.

Pupils at an East Sussex primary school are learning that recycling with the help of hanks to Park Holidays UK mascot, Loopy. The major holiday parks group has teamed up with Robsack Wood Primary Academy in St Leonards on Sea to help youngsters understand the importance of reducing waste.

Children who come top of the class by showing a commitment to recycling are being presented with a cuddly Loopy rabbit, the eco-friendly mascot of Park Holidays UK. The toys were donated to the school by the company which has its head office in nearby Bexhill-on-Sea from where it operates 40-plus holiday parks throughout the UK.

The donation was the brainchild of Louise Evans who works as a holiday sales support manager at the group, and whose two children attend the 420-pupils school. Louise is also co-chair of the academy’s board of governors, and said she knew how much importance the school attaches to raising environmental awareness.

She persuaded her bosses to make a gift of the 75 rabbits to Robsack Wood and spoke to pupils in two school assemblies about how essential recycling was to the future of our planet.

PIONEERING GREEN HOLIDAYS

PIONEERING GREEN HOLIDAYS

SUSAN AND DEREK Dickson (centre) were given two top spots by judges at the Cumbria Business Awards

The husband-and-wife team behind a popular Windermere holiday park say that they were left reeling after learning that they had scooped two top awards in one swoop. Susan and Derek Dickson of Park Cliffe heard the couple’s five-star park near the shores of Windermere had taken first place in the Best Family Business of the Year category.

Susan and Derek were then invited back to the stage again and told that Park Cliffe had triumphed in the Green/Ethical Business of the Year category, beating hundreds of other eligible enterprises to the title. “We were rather knocked for six when we realised that we would be taking two trophies home!” said Susan who, with Derek, has owned the park for just over 15 years.

“Our daughter Abi and son Jack play an important part in the running of Park Cliffe, and the family business award is a credit to how much they make this a real team effort. “Abi and Jack also share our love for the natural world, and our concern to make the holidays we offer as green and environmentally friendly as possible.”

Set in 25 acres of countryside above the shores of Windermere, Park Cliffe provides holiday homes to rent and own, glamping facilities, and pitches for tents, touring caravans and motorhomes. Last year, Susan and Derek welcomed local MP Tim Farron to officially open a major new green energy project undertaken at Park Cliffe by the couple.

Representing a £200,000 investment, it features over 200 high-efficiency solar panels which will save 21 tonnes of carbon from entering the atmosphere each year. The installation, known as a solar array, is capable of generating around 100Kw of power, and is designed to produce electricity even on the most overcast of days. More initiatives to reduce the park’s carbon footprint and to protect its indigenous wildlife and native plants are planned for 2024, said Susan.

VALUE-ADDED PRICES ON OFFER

VALUE-ADDED PRICES ON OFFER

FAMILIES CAN ENJOY a weekend camping break at Drayton Manor Club Site from £39 a night.

The Camping and Caravanning Club has launched offers on touring pitches, lowering prices at more than 60 of its Club Sites across the UK. As pressure on household finances continues, the Club remains committed to providing great value campsites with quality facilities in amazing locations.

Discounts can be enjoyed on stays between April and September, with seven Club Sites included in the ‘Ultimate10’ offer, where campers save 10% on stays all year round. With camping proven to make people happier and healthier*, the Club hopes even more campers will reap the benefits of the incredible outdoors this year.

There are eight offers in total, including 35% off stays at 14 Club Sites in July and August. Families can enjoy a weekend camping break at Drayton Manor Club Site, in the grounds of the Staffordshire theme park, from £39 a night, based on two adults and two children on a grass with electric pitch.

THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOOT

THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOOT

CAR BOOT SALES have proved so popular for Suffolk’s Stonham Barns Park that they will now take place on two days weekly.

The traditional car boot season is about to launch and can offer steady extra revenue for appropriate sites as well as increased footfall for on-site attractions and catering. Traditional car boot sales are about to restart at Stonham Barns Park – one of Suffolk’s premier leisure, retail and holiday destination in Suffolk – and due to their popularity, they will not only take place on Sundays but on Thursdays too!

While weather dependent, they are the perfect place to sell any unwanted possessions and buy a bargain or two at the same time. The Sunday event is boosted throughout the spring, summer and autumn seasons by the shows and events held at the venue’s Mid-Suffolk Showground but, is one of Suffolk’s most popular Sunday Car Boots. The event is outdoors where sellers can just turn up and sell on the day.

Covered stalls are available enabling sellers to guarantee a main field position and these can be pre-booked to avoid having to bring tables to sell from. Says organiser Simon Tilley: “The atmosphere of the sale is fabulous, and the event is extremely popular with the local community and visitors to the campsite, holiday park and retail and leisure village.’ He continues:

“We have built an amazing following at Stonham Barns Car Boot and decided to offer an additional day for sellers and buyers. “We pride ourselves on the organisation of the event and the public love that it is offers sellers a stress-free day - without having to put up with buyers climbing into cars. It’s the perfect place for new car booters to bring their goods to sell. The Car Boot attracts absolutely everything imaginable from antiques to children’s toys. It’s a real weekend go-to.’

TOURISM TRENDS UNDER MICROSCOPE

TOURISM TRENDS UNDER MICROSCOPE

WELCOMING TOURISM minister Richard Lochhead (third from left) to the conference were BH&HPA (Scotland) director Keith Campbell, BH&HPA Scottish policy director Sarah Allanson, and director general of BH&HPA Debbie Walker

Delegates from holiday parks across Scotland gathered in Edinburgh this winter for their annual national conference. Held at Our Dynamic Earth, the event brought together senior figures from many of Scotland’s near 200 parks providing camping, caravan, luxury lodge and glamping holidays. Members of the British Holiday & Home Parks Association (Scotland), and guests heard from a line-up of guest speakers including Scotland’s Tourism Minister Richard Lochhead.

Welcomed to the conference by association Directors Keith Campbell and John Kirkaldy, the Minister said that parks were doing much to minimise their environmental impact: “Sustainability is at the heart of the Scottish Government’s tourism strategy, and I welcome the steps the holiday parks industry is taking to champion green getaways in order to help achieve our net zero ambitions.

“This year I have visited several parks to see how they work within their communities, and with other local businesses, to provide the best possible visitor experience. “These businesses – and the visitors to campsites, caravan and holiday parks - make a valuable contribution to our national and local economies,” said Mr Lochhead.

Earlier in autumn, Mr Lochhead visited Findhorn Bay Holiday Park on the Moray Firth where electricity is generated by wind turbines, supported by the grid using a green energy tariff. The minister, who was a guest of BH&HPA, made his own contribution to a greener future by planting a commemorative tree to mark what the park described its new series of eco-adventures.

GUEST SPEAKERS
The conference also heard from other guest speakers on a range of different topics impacting on park businesses, many of which in Scotland are long-established family enterprises. Subjects addressed included how parks can best formulate and implement a green energy strategy, and what holiday home manufacturers are doing to make their products more sustainable.

Tourism trends were also put under the microscope, along with an examination of how parks could continue to meet the ever-rising quality expectations of holiday park guests. Running parallel to the conference at Our Dynamic Earth was an exhibition featuring suppliers of goods and services to Scottish holiday parks.

Keith Campbell, owner of Highland Holidays with three parks in Tyndrum, Oban and Ben Nevis, said that in 2023 holiday parks had remained as popular as ever with families and couples. But he added that the industry was by no means complacent, and that parks continued to invest heavily is their businesses to ensure they provided world-class standards of hospitality.

An economic survey produced four years ago and currently being updated found that BH&HPA member- parks in Scotland are part of a sector generating £772 million of annual spending in mainly rural areas, and that the industry also helps sustain over 14,300 full-time jobs.

SCOTS EMBRACE ‘SLOWCATIONS’

SCOTS EMBRACE ‘SLOWCATIONS’

SCOTTISH CARAVAN, Motorhome and Holiday Home Show visitors could choose from a selection of almost 200 vehicles and over 30 different travel brands.

The Scottish Caravan, Motorhome and Holiday Home Show returned this February at the SEC, Glasgow, to help Scots embrace ‘slowcations’, the hottest travel trend for 2024. With a selection of almost 200 vehicles and over 30 different travel brands to select from, visitors to this year’s show could pick their chosen mode of transport, equipment and all the trimmings for their next getaway.

With searches for ‘slow life’ up 60% on Pinterest, experts have touted ‘slowcations’ as the next craze for people looking to take a load off. According to a new Pinterest trend report, booking flights to exotic countries and packed-full itineraries of sight-seeing are dropping in popularity, with people opting for more laid-back breaks closer to home.

Jillyanne Glen, Scottish Caravan, Motorhome and Holiday Home Show, said: “People are using their time away differently now – it’s not just about sun, it’s about flexibility, adventure, wellness and doing exactly what suits them and when. “What’s more, we’re seeing people pull away from relying on flights to get them where they want to be and are taking things into their own hands, opting for alternative modes of transport, as well as holiday homes and camping sites across Scotland’s beautiful landscape.

“The show was back this year for its 37th year, once again giving people who are looking for more versatility in their travel an amazing range of top quality products to explore. Our exhibitors are experts in their field, and are always super knowledgeable and helpful, ready to advise new and returning visitors.”

Returning for this year were long standing exhibitors include BC Motorhomes, Argyll Holidays a regular exhibitor who will be showcasing what they have in store for 2024 as well as Willerby, another show regular and leading caravan and campervan manufacturer.

New exhibitors included Barefoot Caravans, a unique new curved caravan design that’s as chic as it is practical; Motorhome World, for those looking for a second hand motorhome to start their new adventure; Bradcot Awnings who is expert at providing awnings for caravans giving extra comfort for those all important trips; and Woodside Luxury Lodges, stunning holiday homes just outside St Andrews looking over the Eden Estuary.

CUSTOMER SERVICE CHAMPIONS CROWNED

CUSTOMER SERVICE CHAMPIONS CROWNED

Leisuredays wins prestigious national recognition...

LEISUREDAYS’ TEAM of 115 people look after the insurance needs of more than 110,000 caravan and motorhome owners

Static caravan and holiday lodge insurance specialists, Leisuredays, are celebrating after winning a top award for their high levels of customer service. The Yorkshire-based company was crowned Customer Service Champion at the 2023 Insurance Choice Awards.

The awards are an annual campaign to find the most trusted insurance firms and this year more than 92,000 data points were received from customer reviews on the Smart Money People website to help them find the winners. Jacqueline Dewey, CEO of Smart Money People, said Leisuredays received high levels of praise from its customers.

“Your customers should be the heart of your business and Leisuredays has proven this to be of utmost importance in its work,” she said. “Our reviews show customers complimenting the friendly and efficient staff, with many claiming that the Leisuredays team has gone above and beyond to solve their queries and concerns. “This kind of reassurance and confidence in a provider is a key part of policyholder satisfaction, and Leisuredays really has mastered its customer service.

Congratulations Leisuredays on this well-deserved win, keep up the great work.” Leisuredays is part of Caravan Guard, an insurance intermediary based in Halifax, West Yorkshire. Its team of 115 positive people look after the insurance needs of more than 110,000 caravan and motorhome owners and are tasked to deliver outstanding customer experiences every day.

 

Managing Director, Ryan Wilby, said he was over the moon the company had been recognised in the industry for delivering great customer service. “We’re passionate about delivering brilliant customer experiences, so for our customers to vote for us in their thousands and give feedback about our excellent service and how we’ve left them feeling impressed is a fantastic accolade,” Ryan said.

“We were extremely proud to beat off some fierce competition and win this top-level award that many insurance providers want to win. Our staff have a big reason to celebrate and a massive thank you to all our customers who took the time to vote for us – we couldn’t have done it without you!”

Leisuredays was also shortlisted for Best Caravan Cover Provider for their specialist caravan insurance cover and its sister brand Caravan Guard won Best Motorhome Insurance Provider. It is rated 4.95 out of 5 by customers on the Smart Money People website. To find out more about how your park can earn extra insurance commission by introducing customers to our team of service champions, email development@leisuredays.co.uk or visit. www.leisuredays.co.uk/operators please call 01422 396772.

LEISUREDAYS IS RATED 4.95 out of 5 by customers on the Smart Money People website

DON’T SLIP UP!

DON’T SLIP UP!

Freezing temperatures trigger increased claims...

Compass, the insurance specialist, has issued warnings to static caravan owners to prepare early for freezing conditions this winter. With a 115% increase in claims for freezing pipes and escape of water year on year, almost 80% of December 2022’s claims were as a result of extreme cold weather.

Static caravan and lodge owners must prepare their holiday homes for winter as per the terms of their policy or risk claims being rejected, according to Compass. The company saw a 115% increase in total claims caused by cold weather in 2022 compared to 2021. Almost 80% of total claims in December 2022 were due to damage caused by plunging temperatures, as the UK was gripped by the coldest start to meteorological winter since 2010.

During December 2022 alone, claims increased by 66% year-on-year compared to the same month the year before. Long-range weather experts are already predicting that another cold snap is on the way this winter, with a higher risk of snowfall caused by the El Niño weather phenomenon.

This typically brings colder, drier weather to northern Europe due to the jet stream shifting course. With the UK’s weather becoming increasingly unpredictable, Compass is warning static caravan and lodge owners to ensure their unit is winter-ready to mitigate the risk of damage and to allow for claims to be processed quickly if the worst should still happen, despite all precautionary measures being followed.

 

WATER ESCAPE
With escape of water being the main cause of damage following freezing weather conditions, static caravan and lodge owners need to ensure that they complete a full drain down of their unit prior to leaving it unattended during winter. While owners may assume that this responsibility falls to the park, performing a drain down is a condition within most insurance policies, making the owner and not the park, liable for any damage that occurs.

Karen Stacey, Managing Director of Compass explains: “Turning off the water and opening the stopcock valves is not sufficient, and does not constitute a full drain down, as the shower mixer valve, taps, and some components in the water heater are still exposed to risk if temperatures drop.” As well as turning off the water supply and opening stopcock valves, there are several other important steps in the process of draining down, including:

• Turning on the heating.
• Opening the caravan’s external taps, usually located underneath the structure.
• Turning on all taps, flushing toilets, and running the shower, as well as removing the shower head and connecting pipe to remove as much water from the plumbing system as possible.
• Removing any remaining water by blowing compressed air through the pipes.
• Using non-toxic anti-freeze where standing water may remain, such as in toilets and down plug holes.
• Securing all windows, skylights, and doors to prevent cold air from entering the unit. Checking any external plumbing and insulating any exposed pipes from the cold.

ALMOST 80% of December 2022’s claims were as a result of extreme cold weather, report Compass.

Stacey continued: “A lot of parks provide a drain down service, and owners should take advantage of this. However, it’s important not to leave this too late, as parks may have hundreds of units to complete, and weather conditions can change very quickly, as we have seen this October.

“If a park does not offer this service, and the owner does not feel confident doing the drain down themselves, they can hire a professional to do this for them. Even units with an automatic drain down system installed may not be covered in the event of a loss, as all precautionary measures need to be taken into account.

“With claims relating to damage caused by frozen pipes and escape of water ranging from a few hundred pounds to a total loss, we urge caravan and lodge owners to take the necessary action to protect their holiday home during the winter months as soon as possible.”

 

STORM HENK
With more wet weather forecast, and reports of flooding in areas which have previously been unaffected, there have been a number of holiday parks impacted across the UK, Compass warns. Karen adds: “The first storm of 2024, Storm Henk, has caused significant flood damage to holiday caravans across the UK.

“Our stats show that storm and flood damage make up 32% of insurance claims, and in one such instance, an entire static caravan was destroyed during a storm, resulting in a £148,590 claim. “In flood-prone areas, holiday home owners may need to check that their policy does not have flood-related restrictions or requirements, such as fitting a floatation device.

While floods cannot be predicted or prevented entirely, having a comprehensive insurance policy in place can help avoid being left out of pocket should the worst happen”.
For more information on specialist caravan and leisure insurance, visit www.compassparks.co.uk

 

Compass Insurance
0344 274 0276
www.compassparks.co.uk