Sometimes motorhomers find Cornwall a long way away but in an era of staycations it is back to being hugely popular.
Clearly my loyalties lie with the CAMC but even in these early summer days the sheer number of motorhomes is very apparent and and I can foresee “invasion” headlines appearing in local papers. Congratulations to the Tintagel beauty hot spot for accommodating day time and night time motorhome stays.
For my part I will stay on regulated sites and try to be a responsible tourist. Simply because that is easily the nicest way to have a cracking good holiday – which we certainly had this week at the drop dead gorgeous Trewethett Farm.
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.”
A passion for camping led one entrepreneurial couple from Leicestershire to invest in a new motorhome for hire business, Hey Campers – after the COVID-pandemic accelerated their modest plans.
Trudi and Adam Lilley have enjoyed outdoor adventuring together for the past 11 years and for five of them, have been motor-homing. After investing in their own home on wheels and choosing to let that out when it wasn’t being used by them, they saw an opportunity to take their stock of one vehicle to six – and are now looking to order more for the booming summer season.
Now, the duo, who have run an accountancy consultancy together for the past seven years, have taken on new premises for Hey Campers, in Coalville. With the aim of opening their depot as a show home when COVID-restrictions ease, it’s currently home to Tillie, Beni, Lexie, Lillie, Minnie and, Tessie – its six motorhomes who, as the names suggest, are already very much part of the family.
Hey Campers co-founder Trudi, said: “There’s so much uncertainty around holidaying and travel restrictions at the moment, but understandably, people are desperate for something to look forward to.
“We’ve already seen booking for half of our summer availability this year and feedback from campsites is that they’ve seen a rise in enquiries too. If holidaymakers can’t go abroad, then the chance to take to the open road and discover something new in the UK is a popular alternative, especially as motorhomes provide self-contained living with onboard bathrooms and kitchens.”
While the doors to the show home remain firmly closed for now, anyone interested in booking can take a virtual tour of their chosen motorhome and is well looked after by Hey Campers’ general manager and concierge, Samantha McCaffrey. Joining Hey Campers in early 2021, Samantha worked at Avis in Leicester before her role was made redundant due to forced closure of the depot because of COVID-19.
With extensive experience in vehicle hire and procedural management, Samantha’s passion for the role and her personal interest in the great outdoors, makes her the ideal fit for the brand. Joining as a marketing intern is also local graphic designer, Molly Jarvis. The Sheffield University student from Market Bosworth is responsible for managing Hey Campers’ social media and design.
Trudi concluded: “With Hey Campers we’ve added lots of personal touches and special extras, to make sure trips in one of our motorhomes, will be truly memorable. These include luxury bed linen, made to order food hampers, 5G enabled WIFI fitted as standard and premium sports and movie channels.
“Our ambition is to also explore ‘money can’t buy’ experience stays and to get the message across to all our customers that with a Hey Campers hire they can have holidays they’ll remember for a lifetime. Just last year, Adam and I were sitting in our motorhome Tillie in Jersey overlooking the beautiful St Ouen’s bay. As I watched the waves crashing over the rocks, Adam made us a Sunday lunch with roast lamb and all the trimmings. We sat down in this perfect location to enjoy our meal and I remember thinking, what more could you want? That’s what I want for all our holidaymakers.”
I guess like many motorhomers and caravaners I have been booking sites ahead in the hope that one day, one of them will become a real booking and off I go! No harm in dreaming.
Anyway, things are getting close and at the end of April we have a pitch booked at the exquisite CAMC Trewethett Farm site near Tintagel. The May Bank Holiday will be a few days later on May 3rd and might I get lucky and be able to get to Trewethett at the end of April?
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.
The Director General of the Caravan and Motorhome Club, Nick Lomas, has today announced that The National 2021 is cancelled.
The logistics of organising such a huge event are significant and the risk of forced cancellation – possibly at short notice – because of Covid-19 are simply too great.
Sad but understandable.
Bearing in mind that I witnessed last month the Southampton Boat Show being cancelled at 4pm the day before it was opening I am pretty sensitive to the cancellation risk. Equally I and many members will sorely miss this annual gathering.
68% of people surveyed expressed uncertainty about travel changes after Jan 31
24% have consciously delayed 2020 holiday decisions
46% of respondents expressed desire for more reassurance on travel requirements
(24 January 2020)With Brexit just one week away, new research for the ferry sector has revealed mass confusion among potential travellers. Industry body Discover Ferries, is seeking to clarify and reassure holiday makers that there will be no change in requirements for people wanting to travel via ferry between the UK and the EU post January 31. This will be the situation for at least the rest of 2020, during the transition period, now the UK government has passed the EU Withdrawal Agreement.
The research* indicates widespread confusion about travel to EU countries and even ferry travel within the British Isles. Of 2,000 survey respondents, 68% admitted they were not sure what changes will apply for travel to EU countries from February 1, 30% said they thought they would need a visa to enter any EU country and almost a fifth (19%) thought they would need a passport to travel to Jersey and Guernsey, which are part of the British Isles. Neither of which is true.
There was similar uncertainty over pet travel. Over a quarter of respondents (27%) said they will need to take extra steps to take their pets abroad, while 44% fear that their European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will no longer be valid, which is also untrue
The effect on consumer confidence was also clear in the results. Almost a quarter (24%) of people have been consciously delaying their 2020 holiday plans until after January 31 this year. Almost half (46%), expressed their desire for more reassurance.
“It is clear that there is a lot of confusion around travel to EU countries this year, resulting in many people delaying their holiday plans,” said Emma Batchelor, director of Discover Ferries. “I would therefore like to reassure anyone looking to travel by ferry this year that there are no changes; all valid passports, EHIC cards and pet passports will still be authorised for travel to the EU and there will not be any new requirement for visas to Europe or passports to travel to the British Isles.
“I also encourage the government and the wider travel sector to support the message that nothing changes this year, and that people should book their 2020 summer holiday with confidence,” added Mrs Batchelor.
Sir, – Every year a huge wealth migration in the form of European and southern Englander’s campervans takes place up to, and back from, Scotland.
These visitors are for the most part multilingual, cultured, responsible and wealthy people and are among our best customers, vital to our own survival as a Pottery Cooperative and to the likes of the Pittenweem Arts Festival and other venues.
In the rest of Europe, tourist towns and areas provide a mostly free campervan service for overnight stays; they are recognised as being an important tourist adjunct.
Crail Pottery was founded in 1965, and until 2015 campervans freely used the Marketgate for overnight stays; a summer average of five or so vans a night, with their average spend of £100 or so each, vital to the co-operative.
In the old days, jobs for young people were important. However, probably a majority of the area’s new demographic includes non-local retirees, working commuters and second homeowners who now, quite frankly, find tourism a nuisance.
Hence the community councils persuading Fife Council to erect signs originally forbidding any campervan parking in Marketgate during the day and at night, now modified to forbidding overnight stays.
So the campervans moved to the likes of Kingsbarns beach, where I go often, and now they cause very little trouble and present little danger.
My family is probably one of the biggest employers in both Crail and Anstruther. Do jobs for our young people no longer count? Why is Fife Council so hostile to campervans, resulting in them travelling to routes like the North Coast 500?
Have they never thought how many millions would be brought into Kirkcaldy High Street, Leven High Street, Burntisland and so on, by providing free campervan service areas on the sea fronts? Especially for Kirkcaldy with its rail connection with Edinburgh.
The simple facilities campervans need is an area of land, a tap, litter bins and a wastewater disposable point.
I therefore urge Fife Council to erect notices welcoming campervans to Fife as they now do in the border towns, to remove the hostile signs in Crail and provide the facilities these pleasant people require.
I served on Crail Community Council for many years, in those days tourists were cherished and jobs for our young people were paramount.
As a walker and lover of Fife countryside I visit these local ‘problem sites’ frequently and never find a problem.
The season is very short. If we could get campervans to visit in the winter, it would benefit the community greatly and mean more jobs for our young people.
We must provide our campervan visitors with what they rightly expect from a civilised European country.