Have been trapped at home this week but in comparison with motorists stuck in cars for hours on end I have nothing to complain about.
#motorhomes, Brian Morgan, camc, caravan and motorhome club, Caravan Times, Christopher Macgowan, Glasgow, Jamie Taylor, Manchester, Matt Allwright, motorhome, motorhomenews, NEC, Nick Lomas, William Coleman
SOURCE: Caravan Times
Interview Exclusive With CAMCs Head Of Communications And Events
By William Coleman
Last week I ventured up to Manchester to the Caravan and Motorhome show to speak first hand with senior members of the Caravan and Motorhome Club about what they had in store for their members during 2018.
So with both the Scottish and Birmingham NEC Caravan and Motorhome shows only a handful of weeks away I wanted to speak with The Club about how they prepare for the show and what it means to them to have such a presence. As an industry leading holiday provider I feel they do a great job with communicating with their customers, and the public in general. So here is my interview with CAMC’s very own Brian Morgan.
The Club always have such an impressive stand and presence at the shows. How far in advance does the planning start?
It’s an ongoing process, we exhibit at both NEC shows, Manchester and Glasgow, as well as a number of outdoor shows and events throughout the year. We are always in ‘show mode’!
What goes into making sure you have something for everyone at the show?
We make sure we have details of all Club products and services available for show visitors, we can help them from the very first stages with inspiring them to choose the right leisure vehicle for their touring group, to sharing ideas of where they could have their adventures and giving them help and advice along each step of the way and, of course, make their actual holiday bookings for them. Our show staff have such a vast amount of knowledge and experience and they love being at the shows and talking to people. We really do have a great team, not only at the shows but at head office and throughout the site network.
It is quite clear that The Club invest heavily in listening to their members, how can members communicate with you so they are heard?
It’s really important for us to listen to our members to hear about what they want and need from us. We have our Club Together forum with over 400k registered users, our social platforms are a great way for members and future members to interact with us, we carry out regular research and surveys with our members to hear from them – first-hand – about their views. Our Magazine is also a great source of information for members. And, most importantly, we act upon this information we receive. We provide over 60 relevant member offers (everything from discounts on outdoor clothing, fuel discounts, unbeatable ferry offers), our ongoing sites investment programme, we represent the members views through parliamentary channels and other associated bodies such as Transport for London and the FIA to name but a few.
As Matt Allwright said at the Manchester show, ‘there’s nowhere our members haven’t been’ and we are keen to provide the platforms for members to share their knowledge and experiences as they, in turn, inspire others to have great adventures.
At the Manchester show you had Matt Allwright open the show and do a acoustic set with his band ‘The Walnuts’. Will we see Matt again in Birmingham this February?
Yes! Matt will be with us on Club Day (Tuesday 20 February), he will again be hosting a series of informative forums for show visitors. Matt is a Club member and really enjoys getting away with his family in his campervan.
The shows are a fantastic way for members, new and old, to have face to face interaction with key members of The Club. What aspect of meeting the public do you enjoy the most?
You will always find me at the front of the stand, encouraging people to come and say hi to our team. I really do enjoy that aspect of my job. It’s so important to get to meet and talk to people, face to face, you can’t beat it.
And lastly what can we expect from you guys at this years Glasgow or the NEC shows?
We are heading to Glasgow soon, it really is a terrific show. We will be opening the show on Club Day with our Director General, Nick Lomas, the show Director, Jamie Taylor, and there will be a performance for show visitors by a really talented local quartet called the Capella String Quartet, so if anyone is in the area, come and say hi. And then we are at the NEC, Matt Allwright will be with us and we will have an exciting announcement to make, so make sure you are there on Club Day!
Source: Caravan Times
Research by travel trade association ABTA* has revealed the UK is set to be British holidaymakers’ destination of choice in 2018, as 66% of the British population are already planning time away closer to home. Europe follows a close second with 63% planning to visit and 14% look to travel to North America.
2017 was a popular year for UK breaks, with British adults taking an average of 2.1 UK holidays: up on the previous year. Families with children aged five and over enjoyed 2.7 UK breaks and adults aged 35 to 44 ventured on 2.5 domestic vacations.
Research indicates that British spending on holidays will also increase, as a significant 31% are putting aside more money for their vacations in 2018. 47% are hoping to spend the same and just 14% plan to spend less.
Fresh figures from The Camping and Caravanning Club^ suggest the trend is already underway, reporting a 10% increase in bookings across its 106 club campsites for the 2018 season year-to-date versus 2017. The Caravan and Motorhome Club also supports the forecast+, announcing that 2017 was the best-ever year for tent camping, with a 13% increase compared to 2016 and its best-ever figures currently for winter camping. Leisure vehicle holidays were also up in 2017 with the club reporting an 11% growth in pitch nights over 2016 and a record November for touring caravan, motorhome and campervan stays.
Commenting on the rise of UK holidaying, Jenny Summers, Group Marketing Director of the NCC (National Caravan Council), the UK’s trade body for the tourer, motorhome and caravan holiday home industries said: “Sales of both motorhomes and caravans were up in 2017, with motorhome registrations rising by 14.9% and tourer factory dispatches to dealers increasing by 8.7%. This clearly demonstrates the continuing popularity of using a leisure vehicle to explore the UK and beyond.”
The growth of the British tourism industry augurs well for the NCC’s next event in February, the Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show 2018. A record-breaking 101,583 visitors attended its sister-show in October last year.
Taking place at Birmingham’s NEC between 20 and 25 February, the Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show 2018 brings together over 370 exhibitors and is the UK’s largest showcase of caravans, campervans, motorhomes, caravan holiday homes and lodges as well as new season tents, trailer tents and folding caravans.
The family-friendly event features a variety of holiday destinations and trip options. Show sponsor Freedom to Go is on hand to help visitors plan their next adventure and the leisure vehicle industry’s two largest clubs, The Camping and Caravanning Club and Caravan and Motorhome Club also provide advice and inspiration for all.
Tickets for the Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show 2018 are now available at www.ccmshow.co.uk and by phone on 0844 873 7333. Advance prices start from £7.00**, with children 15 and under entering free.
More people booked pitches in November 2017 than the same month a year ago according to The Caravan and Motorhome Club.
The club saw an 11% increase in pitches booked during November this year by caravan, motorhome and campervan owners. The same is happening with campers who booked 13% more tent pitches than in November 2016.
Club marketing director, Harvey Alexander, said:
“Our members love an adventure whatever the time of year, and we are here to help and inspire them. Our Sites have fantastic facilities and over 50 of them are open all year round.”
“We also have an extensive five-van site network – Certificated Locations (CLs) – so the range of Sites and CLs enables members to enjoy the best of the UK countryside or explore some of our most vibrant cities throughout the seasons.”
With ‘record-breaking’ bookings in the summer months too, the club’s figures highlight the growing popularity of holidaying in the UK.
Like so many motorhomers I am continually looking for places to park and my latest successes have been around Starbucks outlets – mostly their drive through outlets which understandably have extra parking. Needless to say the drive through bit is no good but the rest is fine.
On the subject of coffee outlets (not parking!) keep an eye on Tim Hortons. It is Canada’s – I used to live in Canada so have a soft spot for that wonderful country – most successful coffee chain and it has started opening outlets in the UK. Well worth a try.
Tim Hortons was founded by its namesake, a top professional ice hockey player, who wanted to create a space where everyone would feel at home. Now one of Canada’s most iconic brands, nearly eight out of 10 cups of coffee sold across Canada are served at Tim Hortons and more than 5.3 million Canadians – approximately 15 per cent of the population – visit the café daily.
On the subject of parking (not coffee!) I find the majority of garden centres welcome me – and these days most of them have a café offering Andrew J Ditton style outrageous cakes and things I should resist.
One of my daughters recently hired a motorhome so that she and her husband could attend a music festival in some comfort. After talking with a couple of companies and discussing what they wanted, why and for how long they settled on a Midlands based outfit, paid the £800 hire and £1250 deposit.
All went well; they had a great time at the festival and the motorhome was returned to the hire company where it was checked over for any mishaps or damage and there was none. Some days later my daughter chased them up for the return of their deposit. She was told the contract she had signed specified a deposit return in 28 days. She was a tad surprised and at the 28 day mark she called again.
Only to be told this time it was actually 28 working days (effectively six weeks) “at which point you can write to us to apply to have the deposit returned.”
“To apply to have my own deposit returned?” she said incredulously.
These terms seem utterly oppressive and unreasonable to the point my daughter thinks it highly likely there will be a huge battle to get the money returned in full. I hope she’s wrong.
It’s got me thinking in the meantime. I often say to friends who are thinking of buying a motorhome and particularly caravanners who are thinking of going over to the Dark Side that a one week hire really would be an excellent idea before taking the plunge. Now I am thinking that I need to add they need to find a reputable hire company with a more friendly attitude and less oppressive terms.
BCA offers a unique opportunity for buyers later this month when Sir Bradley Wiggins’ Sporthome is offered for sale at BCA Blackbushe on 21 September.
The coachbuilt Sporthome by McLaren is based on a long-wheelbase Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 316 2.1 with manual transmission. It was commissioned by Sir Bradley in 2014 and while finished in white, has been vinyl wrapped in Team Wiggins colours of blue with chromed wing mirrors and bull bar and 8-spoke alloy wheels. It has covered 5,500 miles.
The Sporthome features bespoke red, white and blue leather seating with ‘Wiggo’ detail on the headrests. The custom GB-inspired interior includes a double bed, combined shower/toilet, integrated kitchen area with fridge, cooker and wash basin, overhead lockers and a storage area/repair bay for cycles.
There is a seating area with two swivel seats and fold down table and five television screens (two with Sky). The driver’s area has two leather seats and a custom GB dashboard with integrated Kenwood satellite navigation and CD unit. The vehicle is fitted with privacy blinds throughout for overnight stays and there is air conditioning throughout.
The Sporthome has five doors, including a sliding side door and barn doors to access the storage and workshop area. It is fitted with two roof windows and a pull-out awning for camping and overnight stays.
The Sporthome will be offered for sale at BCA Blackbushe on Thursday 21 September from 11.00 am. See the full catalogue listing and images online HERE
by Tom Leaning of Caravan Times
CaravanTimes recently caught up with Harvey Alexander, Director of Marketing at the Caravan and Motorhome Club, who has just returned from participating in the JustGo motorhome re-location programme with his family.
Mr Alexander also discussed what he attributes the Club’s record year (2016) to, in terms of member retention and acquisition, what he believes clubs and organisations can do to continue this growth and how the Club is attracting younger members.
Here’s the interview transcript below:
“We picked up a motorhome from a company called JustGo, and drove it back through Italy, Switzerland and France, stopping at 4-5 of our sites along the way, and brought it to the UK where it will spend another year touring the UK.”
On how long the holiday took and what the highlights were:
“So, you can take anywhere from up to 14 days. We took 5 days. Some of the highlights were just the driving through Italy and Switzerland, which was inspiring. It wasn’t a chore at all. When you think of driving around the M25 on a bank holiday, it sends a shiver down your spine. But when you’re out there in a motorhome, you’re high up and you’re touring and you’re really stopping wherever you feel you want to. It was just amazing. We stayed at some really stunning sites: one on the edge of Lake Como, where you’re literally by the water, lovely surroundings, there’s mountains in the background, the kids were playing football outside the motorhome, as they do. And then, from there we went on through Switzerland and ended up in the Morvan forest in France – again, one of the most stunning landscapes you’ll see. And we stayed at this tiny little site, with probably 20 or more pitches; just a really lovely setting in the forest, a fishing lake at the bottom of the site. [It just us] the ability to escape the pace of everyday life, to simplify things and get back to nature – it was just incredible, a real treat.
On the JustGo motorhome re-location programme:
“JustGo offer this to anyone who wants to try and drive a motorhome across Europe. They do it every year to bring their new fleet back to the UK, and we did it as a bit of a trial for our members to really see how we can make that the best experience it can be, in terms of getting the right routes for people, and giving them the opportunity to build their memories.”
On what he attributes the CAMC’s record year (2016) to, in terms of member retention and the acquisition of new members:
“It’s really interesting. We’ve seen record amounts of new members joining. Also, we’ve seen 90 per cent of existing members staying with The Club. And I suppose what’s most important to us is the fact that we’ve had a record amount of members touring our sites network across the UK. So I think it really comes down to our members loving what they’re doing, and enjoying it so much that they’re extending their season. Our last quarter of 2016 – October, November, December – was one of our best last quarters ever. So, it’s just incredible. We’ve got 40 per cent of members coming in who own a motorhome now, which is really interesting because they’re changing the dynamic and we’re seeing that motorhomers tour later into the season, which is great. So, we need to make sure that our sites are ready for the caravanners and the motorhomers, trailer-tents, whoever wants to come, but making sure we’re always staying relevant for that touring member.”
On what clubs and organisations can do to make sure these positive results continue:
“Well, I suppose the key thing, in this digital age, is we’ve got to keep inspiring people to get out there and enjoy the great outdoors. It’s about recharging. We attribute quite a lot of the increase down to shorter breaks. We have members who love their summer holidays with the Club or their Easter breaks, but it’s also down to the members who decide on a Friday night who say “d’you know what? Let’s just go away for a few days this weekend. Let’s recharge. Let’s get back to nature, and enjoy ourselves” rather than getting caught in that daily grind. We all feel that it all goes too quick and you’ve never got enough time to do anything, but I find myself if you just put that bit of effort in to just stop, go away – it doesn’t even have to be that far – I live in Rochester and we’ve got some wonderful sites around Kent. I go to Daleacres in Hythe or Bearsted – they’re literally 45 minutes away. But what it means is we can go and we can be in the middle of a lovely countryside park, within for 40 mins to an hour, where we’re just enjoying time as a family.”
On attracting younger members:
“I think that if you go around any of the shows and you look at these caravans and motorhomes, they’re anything but basic. They are homes from home. Some of them offer more luxury than their own homes. And I think that the fact is with all the latest mod-cons where you’ve got the proper heating in there, you’ve got cooking facilities, you’ve got digital [equipment] in there. It just helps people enjoy the great outdoors without feeling compromise. We’ve just come off the back of sponsoring the UK surfing championships down in Cornwall. The age group there is obviously not a typical age group for the Club, but they all love Club sites, they all love being part of the Club because we’ve got 40-odd locations that are near the greatest surfing resorts across the UK. So, I think it’s about being relevant for members and those people thinking of joining and creating that relevancy for them because there has been a stigma attached in the past that [the Club] was just for retired people, but I’m 40+ with a young family, and I guarantee you the best holidays we have are when we get the motorhome out or the caravan and we go down to the coast and we just have a great weekend.”
On falling back in love with the UK:
“We have recognised that people are starting to enjoy the UK more. They’re falling back in love with the UK. And that’s really the spirit of the Club in terms of touring. So, I think it’s important to recognise that, that they’re so much on our doorstep to explore.”
For more information about the JustGo motorhome relocation programme, visit:
When I was at school we had – of all things – an observatory tacked on to the end of the school buildings kitted out with a big telescope with a mechanical timing mechanism which enabled you to track the moon and stars without losing them because of the earth’s movement while you were sat at the telescope watching things. This instilled in me a love of astronomy and later the NASA space programme.
I was staying with a school friend in Chelsea when Sputnik cut across the night sky – a thrilling but slightly frightening experience because it was Russian – The Cold War was running full tilt then. Years later when Neil Armstrong landed on the moon I was living in Toronto and enjoying at the time a very good party in Mississauga. Everything stopped and we watched in amazement on the TV screens as the events unfolded. Never to be forgotten despite the many subsequent conspiracy theories that actually it all took place on a sound stage in Seattle and there was a really anxious moment when the studio cat nearly strolled into the picture……
So this interest has been with me since early childhood but somehow along the way I had never been to Jodrell Bank which even now is still the third largest radio telescope of it type in the world having slipped from its original premier position. A great day out for me amongst the earnest parents teaching their reluctant children the difference between stars and planets and goodness knows what else; how lovely it was for me just to enjoy it!