I have no idea what the The New Normal will look like but if being out and about virtually non-stop is the route to it, I’m doing all the right things!
Someone asked me what the main changes in my life look like being as (Boris permitting) things start to ease.
Firstly I speak an entirely different language. My most commonly used utterance now is “You’re on mute.”
Secondly I suspect hugging will soon be a recognised Olympic sport as seemingly everyone wants to hug everybody else. Handshaking may never re-emerge.
Thirdly, working from home was formerly seen as tantamount to skiving. Soon it will be so widespread and universally approved that offices will be converted en masse to fast food dark kitchens delivering to hermits skulking in their homes.
Meanwhile The New Normal has yet to be defined but anyway Faye and I are off out tonight to our favourite pub restaurant for an indoor meal.
Our dedicated leased line is supercharging the staycation experience across the UK
For more than a century, the Caravan and Motorhome Club has helped Britons tour far and wide. With more than 200 camp sites directly operated by the Club, and affiliations with over 2,000 more, wherever you want to spend your holiday, the Club has the perfect place for you to stay.
And it works hard to make sure that when its members pitch, they have everything they need. Campsites are located in some of the most beautiful parts of the country. They’re close to a variety of leisure activities and they’re equipped with all utilities. The only thing missing? Reliable wi-fi connectivity, which is essential in today’s always-on digital world.
The rural location of the Club’s sites makes this difficult. And the sites that already offered wi-fi, didn’t live up to members’ expectations. Especially on their larger campsites, where lots of guests might be trying to get online at the same time.
This isn’t just a challenge the Caravan and Motorhome Club face. Poor wi-fi can be a roadblock for every rural business, as building an innovative forward-thinking business requires reliable connectivity.
We’ve seen first hand the business transformation that companies can achieve by embracing technologies like the cloud, VoIP , and artificial intelligence (AI). In fact, according to research carried out by the pollster YouGov, 79%of businesses have already adopted at least one cutting edge technology.
But only with a reliable connection can businesses truly start to see the possibilities that next-generation tech brings. Connectivity unlocks innovation and accelerates digital transformation. It keeps organisations competitive and helps them stay ahead, no matter their size, or sector.
The Club realised that without advanced connectivity, they simply wouldn’t be meeting their members’ needs in a digital age. That’s why they turned to us to superchange the hotspots at more than a hundred of their sites. Digitally transforming their entire organisation and future proofing their services.
Making wi-fi work
Club members’ biggest complaint about the wi-fi was the download speed. Luckily, we had the perfect solution: a BTnet leased line.
With a regular home internet connection, a whole street might share bandwidth. This means that if everyone decides to watch Netflix or play video games at the same time, the connection can overload. But with a leased line, the connection is 100% dedicated to one household. So they always get fast internet, no matter what their neighbours are doing.
We’re installing BTnet on each of the Club’s campsites. As well as not having to share the line with the wider world, it will have enough capacity for 100 caravanners. And with 100Mpbs downloads, they will enjoy exceptional speeds – with ultra-low latency – that never, ever slow down.
“Reliable wi-fi is about bringing the conveniences of home to the holiday park,” explains Harvey Alexander, director of marketing and membership services, Caravan and Motorhome Club. “ Our members can look up information about local attractions. Or stream a movie at the end of the day. And it means they can easily share their holiday snaps on social media with friends and family back at home.”
Unlocking digital transformation
The Caravan and Motorhome Club wants to offer its members much more than reliable wi-fi. They also want to revolutionise the way every campsite works, to make operations more efficient. So they can respond and react to events faster and smarter.
Digital transformation isn’t just about new technology for the sake of new technology. It’s an opportunity to rethink all our business processes. And use these digital tools to better serve our members
At the most basic level, this makes processing digital payments more quickly, minimising the check-in process for guests so they can kick back and relax.
In fact, the hope is that one day soon, Club members won’t even need to visit the campsite reception on arrival. They’ll be able to simply drive up to their pre-booked pitch, pull out their phone and use the on-site wi-fi to check-in and pay. The Club knows that everyone has come to expect this level of convenience in their day-to-day lives. So this transformation is an opportunity to level up and bring those modern conveniences to holidays too – offering much greater flexibility to staff and members.
Looking to the future
Their digital transformation doesn’t stop there. As part of the Caravan and Motorhome Club’s roadmap for success, it’s open to the idea of embracing new technologies that can work over their leased lines.
The Club is exploring whether it wants to use computer vision technology to automatically read number plates. This way simply driving into a Club site could trigger the check-in process, so member’s don’t even need to pick-up their phone when they pitch up. Saving time and resources.
Using IoT, connected sensors could also help monitor each site, from the local weather to the temperature of the swimming pool. This information could help site managers make sure that facilities are running at their best at all times.
Sensors could determine when certain maintenance needs to be carried out, like when the chlorine in the pool needs topping up. This means that maintenance staff can be deployed on-demand, which is much more efficient than relying on an inspection round to discover problems.
AI could even be used to analyse the sensor data and spot patterns that will allow site managers to predict what requires maintenance. This means potential problems can be identified and prevented before they even happen and stop small problems turning into larger ones.
In recent years the Club has expanded its range of pop-up sites that offer temporary camping facilities at stately homes and music festivals.
Advanced connectivity, in the form of Rapid Site, powered by EE’s no.1 5G network, could help transform this experience even further. The fully managed service promises to have new sites up and running with full 5G connectivity in just three working days. With super-fast internet, the Club can enable more efficient site management, saving them time and money, while giving guests the same high-quality experience they’ve come to expect from the Club’s permanent sites.
Organisations and businesses in every industry are now realising the potential of next-generation connectivity and IoT. Because it’s essential for surviving in today’s digital world.
Without a reliable network and advanced 5G connectivity, organisations simply can’t meet customers’ increasing demands. If you want to deliver better customer experiences and keep up with the ever-changing business landscape, digital transformation is essential. It gives your business the confidence to adapt, evolve and thrive – so you’re ready for whatever the future brings.
“We’re excited about what’s now possible with new technology, but we’re equally interested in making digital transformation a core part of our ongoing business,” says Harvey Alexander. “We want to create a culture in our organisation that will always be open to taking advantage of digital innovations to improve our campsites, bookings and overall holiday experience our members and guests expect.”
“Thanks to our partnership with BT, we’re now building strong foundations that will allow our business to grow and evolve in the years to come.”
I was in Regent Street on Monday and despite the lack of tourists and customers it was looking like Christmas. So, uncharacteristically, and breaking all the date conventions I am sending an unfeasibly early HAPPY CHRISTMAS to one and all.
I popped in to the Peterborough East of England Showground to see the Warners Show. There was a comprehensive range of new and used motorhomes on show via the many dealers exhibiting. Plus all the usual accessory stores – so much on display it would be hard to leave the show without making a few purchases.
The show was of course Covid compliant with lots of one way systems but being an outside show visitors were able to roam pretty much at will. There was a sanitiser outside each motorhome, only two people were allowed in the motorhome at any one time and your mask had to be used inside. So all good common sense stuff implemented very professionally by Warners events team and, mostly, visitors were complying with the rules. In fact everyone seemed delighted to have a show to go to although it does amuse me there is a certain section of society who seem congenitally unable to follow arrows!
So, in my opinion, 10 out of 10 to Warners for organising it and sticking with it. Sadly no evening entertainment so less of an all embracing event but the on-site temporary campsite was in action nonetheless.
For my part I wanted to stay at the CAMC Ferry Meadows site about half a mile from the show ground. It is one of my favourites located next to a 500 acre country park, next to the Nene Valley railway and a ten minute stroll from a pub.Happiness? I think so.
Oh, and as all readers know, it hit 34 degrees C on Friday!
SOURCE: thisismoney.co.uk and Ray Massey of the Daily Mail.
Boris Johnson this week urged the nation to enjoy a ‘staycation’ in Britain, as part of the Government’s plans to ease the lockdown in England from next weekend.
With campsites and hotels able to reopen from July 4, there has already been a surge in interest in campervans that provide flexible, mobile and self-contained accommodation.
Manufacturers say they are getting calls from both stir-crazy couples and families wanting to explore the country safely and avoid the hassle of travelling overseas and quarantine on return.
Campervans are ideal for creating self-contained hotels-on-wheels — ‘bubbles’ with beds, fridges, cookers, kitchen and often a shower on board.
And there’s a good choice on the market to buy or rent.
Volkswagen is a leading player with its recently launched, and refreshed, California 6.1. It costs from £55,339 in Coast trim, up to £69,889 for Ocean. Based on the Transporter van, the 2.5-ton 2m-tall model sleeps four and has a raised roof. It comes with a table, cupboards, double gas hob, kitchen sink, a side awning and a sleeping space.
Powered by a 2-litre 148 hp diesel, with seven- speed automatic gearbox, it averages 33.6 mpg with CO2 emissions of 221g/km.
The larger Grand California, from £72,745 to £82,258, based on the Crafter van, sleeps two or four, and has a wet room with a toilet and showerIn March and April, online requests for quotes went up 250 per cent for the California. Nearly 1,500 were sold in Britain last year. They are factory built — not conversions — and can be serviced at VW’s 97 UK van centres and authorised repairers.
To be truly authentic, a secondhand hippy-trail VW ‘bus’ will cost from around £10,000 to £40,000.
Other new options include: the Mercedes-Benz V Class Marco Polo, from £37,980 to £69,800 and the oddly-named Ford Transit Custom Nugget, from £59,608 to £63,334.
Horsham-based converter Sussex Campervans turns a Renault Trafic or Nissan NV300 into its Manhattan and Paradise ranges, from £41,995 to £51,995.
If ‘glamping’ is more your style, then bespoke luxury motor home firm GlamperRV.co.uk offers an office-hotel on wheels, from £75,000 plus VAT.
The third-generation Bailey Autograph motorhomes were launched this week.
Available in eight layouts including new fixed bed and fixed island bed variants, and with and without dedicated rear travel seats. They represent what you might call “the real deal” with a Peugeot drive train, AL-KO chassis, Alde heating and a policy of no hidden extras so a dedicated motorhome owner can be assured that the level of luxury will meet or exceed expectations.
The full eight-model range – which I have to say look pretty attractive to me – will be on show in Hall 19 at this year’s NEC Show October 15th to 20th.
It is interesting how time plays tricks with our memories. Back in 2011 when Bailey announced its first motorhomes it seemed a very big deal indeed – a brave move perhaps – and certainly a strong signal that the caravan-only company was prepared to innovate, change and move with the market. During the last eight years the company has continued to dominate the caravan market – so no loss of focus there – and has become a serious and successful motorhome manufacturer fighting its way with the Hymers, Rapidos and a string of other UK and continental European manufacturers. We all know that companies often struggle with change; they either don’t change or don’t do it very well and are burdened by their history.
Not so Bailey I would suggest.
The launch was held at the delightful Stanton House Hotel near Swindon and whilst obviously the launch was the all important part, I had a bit of a trip down memory lane. The original manor house was renovated and hugely improved to meet the demands of Japanese guests from the nearby Honda car factory and their suppliers. I was a fairly frequent visitor there because of my automotive background and although the hotel has for many years embraced all visitors with or without a Honda connection, the signs are bilingual, the website is in English and Japanese and the restaurant has an exceptional Japanese influence as well as catering of course for European tastes.