Holiday parks have always been an attractive proposition. You have the loyal customers who return year on year with their own children and grandchildren, to the same parks they went to as children with their own parents. That safe, family, community feeling can be hard to beat. However, in the last two years since Covid, there’s a new audience of people experiencing caravan and lodge holidays for the first time and of course, they’re loving them!
Who is buying into holiday parks?
But it’s not just new customers getting involved in the industry. Increased demand for caravan and lodge holidays is also driving external investment and holiday parks are becoming an increasingly attractive proposition to multinationals with money to spend. As recently as February this year, the industry has seen US-based resort operator, Cove Communities, acquire Argyll Holidays who operate eight holiday parks in Scotland. Earlier in 2021, Sun Communities acquired Park Holidays and CVC Capital Partners acquired both Away Resorts and Coppergreen Leisure Resorts. Those three deals alone came close to a combined £1.5bn investment in the industry. To put that into perspective, that’s almost a sixth of the total figure that the entire UK holiday park industry generates each year for the British economy.
Improving holiday park facilities
If there’s one thing this investment will do, it will help drive standards up even higher across the holiday park industry. We’ve already seen some pretty impressive amounts of money being invested by holiday park operators to improve, enhance and introduce new facilities to their holiday parks and resorts each year, but this will no doubt drive even more investment in the future. No one wants to be left behind, especially when there’s a whole new market of holidaymakers and potential holiday home owners, ready to spend their hard-earned cash on stylish new lodges with hot tubs, to share with their family and friends.
Gone are the days when there was nothing more on a holiday park than a tiny shop and a weekend bar. Buoyed by investment and by the expectations of new customers, there’s no question holiday parks are stepping up their game. They’re introducing new facilities, new technology and almost moving toward the more European/International model of becoming ‘holiday resorts’, offering everything from golf courses and leisure and spa facilities to marinas and choices of places to eat and drink. In 2017, one of Europe’s largest self-catering holiday brands, the Dutch-founded, Landal Greenparks, moved into the UK holiday park market and has plans to almost double the number of UK parks by the end of 2022. Some quite exciting, innovative developments are under way, including a site in Southwest Scotland which will offer sustainable lodges that promise to ‘combine the outdoor experience of modern glamping with the interior look and feel of a boutique hotel’. The site will also have a coffee house, separate restaurant, spa and baths, and run experience-led activities.
Using technology to advance holiday park operations
This is where Elite Dynamics IT business solutions really come into their own. With holiday parks branching out into multiple revenue streams, our software solutions fully cover every aspect. Every booking, every on-park event, every on-park activity, every holiday home sale. Yes, like our competitors we provide a park management system that manages bookings and owners, but that’s where the similarity ends. Our EliteParks flagship solution is the only one in the marketplace to have a fully integrated finance system, removing the need for additional financial solutions like Sage or Xero, and is the only one to be endorsed by Microsoft. We have an integrated holiday park CRM system and an Owners App to give your owners control of everything connected to their holiday home. We have a Maintenance module designed to help maintenance teams plan and complete jobs around the park. We have a Membership module for leisure facilities like gym and spa memberships, an Events module for anything from weddings to conferences, and an Activities module for any kind of on-park bookable activity, whether it’s yoga or ten pin bowling. The more revenue streams a holiday park has, the more they need a modern, comprehensive software solution that can bring it all together and make everyone’s lives easier.
So yes, it’s fair to say the holiday park landscape has changed since we founded Elite Dynamics in 2015. As a team, we’re all hugely passionate about this industry and excited for what the future holds. We’re here to help educate the industry on the value of technology and digitally transform it in a way where everyone benefits. We know there’s still work to do as there are still holiday park operators out there using Microsoft Excel or paper, but we know collectively we’re moving in the right direction. We might still be around 7-10 years behind other industries, such as hotels and self-catering cottages, when it comes to adopting technology. But as more investment comes in and holiday park operators are increasingly driven by commerciality, there’s going to be an ever-growing need for simplifying processes and improving reporting and analysis. That’s where technology is key.
Technology is moving fast, don’t let your holiday park get left behind.