Holiday parks of the future: what true upgrades look like

When you upgrade, you want to see a noticeable difference.

You expect to hear glowing reviews, receive notable thanks and eventually witness a growing profit margin. Otherwise, frankly, what’s the point?

It’s not something lots of providers talk about, but it does happen (we’ve all read the reviews): guests wondering ‘why on Earth did they go with that carpet pattern?’ or ‘who thought it was a good idea to paint the walls that colour?’ or ‘who designed the room layout?’. Everyone has an opinion, a keyboard and the need to be heard; so, critics are everywhere.

Check out more articles like this in our quarterly industry magazine, Accom Management Guide.

As with anything in life, you can’t control how people will perceive you or your choices. What you can do is control your own intentions and the integrity of your property by partnering up with suppliers that share your ethos.

The best way to do this is to check out their previous work, talk to the people directly (use that phone you’re so eager for guests to book through) and get a sense of the brains behind every operation. That’s truly the best way to rope your property into the refurbishment of your dreams.

When I say that controlling your own intention is important, I’m not talking about ‘I intend to make a profit’. That’s always an underlying business resolve. I’m talking about the ‘why’.

Why should your property increase its profits?

At your core, what do you intend to be the outcome of a refurbishment. Perhaps it’s about bettering your family’s lifestyle, in which case family values should likely be at the forefront of your establishment. Perhaps you want to maximise the potential of your staff, in which case efficiency, organised calm and harmonious communications should be at the forefront. Do you want to boost the reputation of your business? That will likely push image and aesthetic to the centre of your upgrade. The integrity of your refurbishment comes down to how true the upgrade is to the intention behind it.

Of course, not all refurbs are made equal: some will be smaller or larger than others and intentions can be multifaceted. But the same rule generally applies.

Beds for days

Because they aren’t just for bedtime when it comes to holiday accommodation: guests lounge on beds, particularly if they are irresistibly comfy, as much as possible during their stay. Who doesn’t drop their bags and collapse on top of the mattress as soon as they walk in? Travelling is exhausting. If the comfort level blows you away immediately, you might even forego leaving the space for a while. One of the biggest camping complaints is a lack of bed comfort so the impact would be even greater.

There are a heap of trends when it comes to holiday bed refurbishment. One big one is family and couple ‘glamping’. Glamourous camping may have started life as a joke to get reluctant wives and elderly parents onboard for an outdoorsy week-end retreat, but it’s become an industry gamechanger. It poses the best of both worlds: home comforts and wild nature blend-ed together in the holiday park of one’s choice.

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Flexibility goes along with this as another trend. Bed options to suit a variety of groups and guest-sets while maintaining the aesthetic and integrity of the park. Mixed bed options like bunkbeds and different mattress sizes are great for modelling park packages around backpack-ing groups, school groups, children and families, students and even young couples holidaying with friends.

Of course, another trend is intricately upholstered glamp facilities. This involves bed-sets with matching headboards, cushioned storage, pillows, quilts and blankets; even matching upholstery around the tent, van or cabin via curtains, netting and throws. The more seamless, rustic and local, the better. You’ve heard of a pillow menu but what about a blanket brochure? Nothing says charming #parklife like sustainably made materials and blankets that tell a local story. Most manufacturers will now fill you in on all the info about how their products are made, so why not share it with your guests?

Swim on a whim

How to keep those kids out of their parents’ hair? Holiday parks are in a unique position to entertain pint-sized guests. Not only do you have a natural location primed for playtime, but holiday parks come with a spirit of fun that should capture kids’ imaginations. Most parks will have a swimming pool, or access to a lake; for instance, but do they have a waterslide? Do they have pool toys and games? Do they have sprinklers or water guns, or inflatables? Have you thought about installing a projector screen by the pool for night time movie showings? There’s so much that can be done in a holiday park to give children more to do and enjoy.

Laundered dreams

Facilities that shouldn’t be overlooked by any parks planning a refurb, are laundry facilities. Particularly if you want guests to stay with you for more than one or two nights: solid laundry solutions are essential.

Snapshot supplier view: accomnews spoke to industry supplier Phil Hodges, the managing director at GC Laundry Equipment, to find out his opinion on the matter. Mr Hodges said: “I believe the important arrears to consider is reliable equipment that can be environmentally friendly in using less water and power than previous equipment. Modern equipment can reduce water usage by up to 60 percent and reduce power by up to 50 percent.

“Also, there is the area of accountability with equipment having full audit facility and the use of credit cards to eliminate the use of coin problems; such as jams, collecting, banking and recording, vandalism, theft, etc.”

Behold, the small touch

The tiniest change can en-gender peace of mind for you and your staff. Swapping out tired old furnishings, or reinventing some of the tent set-ups or cabin areas to make them more magical can make all the difference if you’re looking to freshen up.

If you don’t know where to start, scan through your reviews and find out where most of the criticism is pointing at – bathrooms? Barbecue area? Beds? Whatever it is, use that as the spark to revitalise your holiday park.

The integrity of your refurbishment comes down to how true the upgrade is to the intention behind it

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