Erwlon Caravan and Camping Park Crowned Best in Carmarthenshire

Erwlon Caravan and Camping Park Crowned Best in Carmarthenshire

At the recent Carmarthenshire Tourism Awards, which were held at the Diplomat Hotel in Llanelli, Erwlon Caravan and Camping Park proudly took home the award for the Best Caravan, Camping and Glamping site of the Year. Based in the town of Llandovery, on the edge of the Brecon Beacons, Erwlon is a 5 star family run site, offering visitors to the area a holiday experience in a beautiful countryside location.

The Carmarthenshire Tourism Awards, which are held every 2 years, showcase the best of the tourism and hospitality industry within the county and with hundreds of entries received, Erwlon are delighted to come away with the Gold award in their category.

Erwlon was established in 1950s as a diversification from the farm and has been run by the Rees family ever since. Priding themselves on offering visitors a wonderful base for their holiday in Carmarthenshire, on site dedicated family and adults only areas make it a great choice for a caravan or camping holiday.

The focus at Erwlon has always been about providing a family friendly feel. On site facilities include a comfortable shower and toilet block including family changing areas, super pitches (which include hard standing, your own water point and grey waste discharge plus of course an electric hook-up) a children’s play area, a dog walking area and Wi-Fi. And with a commitment to always improving facilities for visitors, in 2017 the team introduced a new camp kitchen and also 4 luxury glamping pods called Riverside Pods.

Riverside Pods are en-suite self-contained pods offering an alternative glamping accommodation for visitors, and set in a beautiful location along the river, in a great spot to relax and unwind. Each pod sleeps up to 4 people and offer all the facilities you would need for a comfortable and cosy holiday, including under floor heating which means all year round glamping.

Peter Rees owner of Erwlon Caravan and Camping Park said “We are delighted to have won the Gold award in the recent Carmarthenshire Tourism Awards. To be recognised for our quality of offering, facilities and customer service is so rewarding. It also makes it especially rewarding to have won the award in the year where we have expanded our offering and introduced our glamping pods to the site. This not only allows our regular guests to bring friends and family with them but also introduces Erwlon to new customers.”

Erwlon and Riverside Pods are open all year round and to find out more about the on-site facilities, availability and to book online head to www.erwlon.co.uk.

Find out more about their booking and management system

South West comes out top in national tourism awards

South West comes out top in national tourism awards

The national Visit England awards saw the South West reinforce its position as England’s top region for excellence for the sixth year running with multiple awards.

Finalists were all invited to receive their trophies from presenter Kirsty Allsopp at the VisitEngland awards event in Bath on 23rd April.

Three South West nominees took Gold trophies in the national awards:

  • Landal Gwelan Mor from Cornwall in the Holiday Park/Village category
  • The Roman Baths & Pump Room from Bath in the Inclusive Tourism category
  • Restaurant Hywel Jones by Lucknam Park from Wiltshire in the Taste of England award

Silver award winners included:

  • The 25 Boutique B&B from Torquay in the B&B category
  • Mylor Sailing & Powerboat School from Cornwall in the Inclusive Tourism category
  • The Roman Baths and Pump Room for Inbound Tourism
  • The Milkshed from Devon in the Self Catering category
  • Devon’s Bulleigh Barton Manor in the Dog Friendly category
  • Wiltshire’s Lucknam Park in the Hotel of the Year award

Bronze award winners included:

  • Cary Arms & Spa “Inn on the Beach” from Torquay in the Boutique Guest Accommodation category
  • Salad Days Beach Hut from Dunster in the Dog Friendly Business category
  • Polmanter Touring Park from Cornwall in the Holiday Park/Village category
  • Loose Reins from Dorset in the New Tourism Business award
  • Screech Owl Sanctuary & Wildlife Park from Cornwall in the Small Visitor Attraction of the Year award

Robin Barker from South West awards organisers Services for Tourism, said: “It’s…great to see the continued success of the South West and the region ‘heading the quality charts’ once again. With the 2018/19 Awards already open for entry we‘re looking forward to another record year ahead.”

VisitEngland Chief Executive Sally Balcombe said: “These awards are a celebration of our thriving tourism industry.  They highlight the people and the organisations that deliver amazing experiences for visitors, raising the profile of England as a world-class destination.”

Latest VisitEngland statistics show that in 2017 Brits took more than 47 million holidays in England, up six percent on the previous year. Brits spent more than £11 billion on domestic staycations in 2017, up six percent on 2016.

Tourism in England contributes £106 billion to the economy.

Do you want to increase the visibility of your holiday business on the web?

Tips to increase direct bookings to your campsite or glamping site

Tips to increase direct bookings to your campsite or glamping site

Do you want to take more direct online bookings and cut down on the commission you’re giving away?

 

Online travel agencies (OTAs) can be very useful for upping your occupancy in the shoulder months. They can take the sweat out of your marketing efforts, dressing you up in their shop windows and showing you off to thousands of potential visitors without you having to put in too much effort. But with that, you give away fistfuls of cash every time you take a booking from them.

 

While Anytime connects campsites, glamping sites and holiday cottages to a whole host of industry-relevant OTAs and portal sites to give you the choice of where you want to sell your offerings, you may want to concentrate on taking more direct online bookings.

 

Tips

 

  1. We’ve just said that OTAs eat up a chunk of commission every time they push a booking your way, but listing with them can increase the number of people who visit your website direct after hearing about you through them. So, list with them. But you don’t need to put every pitch, pod, room or property up (wink).
  2. Make your website really appealing. It doesn’t need to be expensive or pages and pages long. You just need to succinctly tell potential visitors what you have on offer, why you’re different from the rest and show them some gorgeous (but truthful) photography – it’s always worth investing in a professional photographer as quality images really do sell the dream.
  3. Two little words: Book Now. Make sure you have a prominent Book Now button on every page of your website, it’s the most powerful call to action you have. Don’t make people dig around trying to find it, they’ll turn away and you’ll lose business. Install one of these and your direct online bookings will sky rocket.
  4. Use videos. Footage from your smartphone will do. Talk to camera about what someone can expect from a holiday with you, give them a little tour. Better still, ask a departing guest to leave you a quick video testimonial about their experience. You can offer them a free night on their next stay for their trouble – but the extra business it will push your way will more than make up for the giveaway. Instant video reviews result in more direct online bookings.
  5. Your accommodation is your bread and butter, no question, but today’s discerning guest expects more. Whether it’s a free box of eggs for your camper to cook over a campfire or a personalised welcome hamper on arrival at their glamping pod – think of the little extras that might encourage more direct return business or recommendation to friends. Customer loyalty can only mean good things for you!
  6. Build up a community on social media and email marketing. Share your news and anything anecdotal you might find about the space you occupy. It’s fun to do once you get into it, you’ll find your style and followers help to create a buzz around your business. Encourage your visitors to post their holiday pics and say nice things about you. It works. Engaging with your existing customers is a powerful tool on your road to increasing direct online bookings.
  7. Improving your customer experience includes improving their booking journey. Ignore this at your peril. You need a good online booking and management system at the heart of your business. Your booking process must be responsive to any size mobile device (ours is). It must be intuitive (tick). It must be able to calculate all those extras like dogs and awning hire (check). It must be able to take live payments (like ours) and send out confirmations automatically (yep).

We do have loads more tips but if you’re ready to act on at least tip number 7, contact us now!

Glamping: going somewhere, fast

Glamping: going somewhere, fast

The outdoor market did once wonder if the glamping phenomenon would fall away just as quickly as it had risen. A simple analysis of the term camping in google searches shows that this is very much a fluctuating seasonal search term, but the term glamping is on the steep incline, all over google, all year round.

The outdoor movement has grown massively, but glamping has enjoyed a notable surge in growth as it appeals to camping and hotel lovers alike. It’s the winning of the hotel lover that is boosting this sector so much, attracting a whole new affluent clientele to the outdoor market, securing the glamping industry well into the future.

There have also been questions about the future security of the staycation. Worries withdrawn. World economy, the threat of terror strikes, Brexit, displaced societies and the refugee crisis and political unrest in the UK have all lent themselves to a strengthening of the staycation trend.

The key to staycation success is really about the value and quality of the experience on offer. What seems to be playing right into the hands of glamping business owners is that the holiday destination itself seems to be becoming less important to the glamping demographic than the actual experience itself, giving them the opportunity to constantly evolve and adapt to win the business.

What should you be thinking about if you are launching a new glamping business?

  • Less location, more experience – while the South West still comes in at number one for glamping destinations, make the most of your offering, provenance and experience. Research the type of glamping that is reaching saturation point in your area and go against the grain. Offer the little extras: thought about bush-crafting, bread-making, wine-tasting, weddings?
  • Pricing – hit the right mark; your prospective visitors should already be fumbling for their debit card as they peruse your gorgeous website.
  • Service and facilities – quality all the way. Look at the finer details of everything. MMFS! Make me feel special!
  • Customer expectations – ignore these at your peril. Glamping customers are ‘seekers’, they all want to ‘find’ something. Make sure they don’t leave your site still looking!
  • Connectivity & accessibility – a top class website with an integrated online booking management system to capitalise on online booking behaviours. Part of your success matrix must be a good PMS (property management software).

Anytime Booking will be your perfect PMS; we have put years into becoming specialists in this market. We work in an agile methodology, constantly inspecting and adapting what the development priorities are, keeping in tune with the nuances and fluctuations of the glamping market.

 

Bosinver scoops top award for Family Friendly Accommodation of the Year 2017

Bosinver scoops top award for Family Friendly Accommodation of the Year 2017

Anytime Booking customer Bosinver has just won the Family Friendly Accommodation of the Year category at the 2017 VisitEngland Awards hosted at the Hilton Waldorf Hotel in central London. We are delighted for them – this national award is such an achievement, and it is wonderful to have their efforts recognised in this way.

Owner Pat says, “We have previously won the top national award for self-catering, but ‘Family Friendly’ is a new category and it is particularly thrilling to win this award as families are at the heart of our business. We strive to combine luxurious accommodation and facilities for parents with the creation of magical childhood memories for children on our farm.”

The congratulations have been flooding in on social media from guests, many of whom have been holidaying with at Bosinver for years. Check out what a wonderful place to stay it really is at www.bosinver.co.uk.

What Bosinver says about Anytime Booking

“The quality of our booking system is an essential part of our success – it is one of the first experiences our guests have of us so it must be as ‘award winning’ as the other experiences we offer – which it is! We are proud to use a Cornish firm that is going from strength to strength and building and improving the service that offered to us. Thank you, Anytime, for helping us to win this prestigious award.”

How Anytime can help you

1 Install a Book Now button on your website, the most effective call to action there is

2 Share live availability with global third parties like Booking.com, Airbnb and Tripadvisor

3 Increase your visibility on the web to take advantage of the spike in staycations and short-breaks

4 Maximise your booking process to capitalise on mobile browsing

5 Minimise the risk of double bookings

6 Flexible management tools to run your business your way, eg. categorising your inventory, setting your pricing, fixing discounts and occupancy rules, moving bookings

7 Up-sell welcome hampers, logs, activities, dogs, you name it – quickly and easily

8 Improve and automate the way you communicate with your visitors

9 Carve through your admin giving you more time to spend ensuring your guests have a fantastic stay

10 Detailed reception reports (arrivals/departures), housekeeping and financial reports, and owner statements

11 Backed up data and a great team of people behind the product to assist you every step of the way

Are you ready to increase your bookings, streamline your admin and stay ahead?

Take me to church: the rise of champing

Take me to church: the rise of champing

Camping is always marching on, always diversifying, always presenting something new. But who would have thought of putting camping and churches together?

The Churches Conservation Trust, that’s who.

Take a disused church steeped in history. Take friends and families who are always looking for the next adventure, something different, something to feed the soul. Put them together and you have champing. Church camping. A juxtaposed stay as down to earth yet as close to heaven as you’ll ever get.

The Champing churches can sleep from 2 to 16 people. The hire of a church is completely exclusive; you won’t be rubbing shoulders with any strangers, apart from maybe the odd spider or two. Child-friendly, dog-friendly, group-friendly, picnic-friendly, alcohol-friendly, the experience is surely one to consider if you’re looking for an authentic, unforgettable mini-break experience.

Facilities are basic with camping beds, rugs, cushions and camping chairs supplied but you will have to rely on your own bedding and blankets to keep warm. It isn’t fancy yet there is a certain magic and humour about having the free run of a church for a night or two that makes it seem actually quite spoily. Think of it as a massive tent filled with history. Imagine lying there with the moonlight coming through the stained glass windows, pondering awhile on all the people who have paced the flagstones over hundreds of years. Imagine the kids playing hide and seek in the churchyard and swapping spooky stories by torchlight. That is quite something. And to top the Blytonesque experience, a steaming breakfast butty will be delivered to you by a friendly local in the morning. Sold.

Brainchild of Peter Aires, director of the Churches Conservation Trust in the south east, the scheme was piloted in 2014 and launched officially in 2015 with three churches. More than 150 holidaymakers stayed at a champing church that year, including Andrew Flintoff, the former England cricket captain, who documented his overnight stay in Aldwincle on Sky One after England won the Ashes series.

In 2016 the trust opened a further four more churches for their champing experience and nearly 700 guests came through their doors. The movement (for it certainly feels like a movement) is increasing to twelve churches in 2017. It is an imaginative way to generate income to maintain these congregation-less churches while offering a new phenomenon in camping.

Champing is certainly making the press sit up and take notice. It has been featured in the likes of The Times, The National Geographic, The Telegraph, The Guardian, The Independent and even on national TV. It really feels like there is a wave to catch here. With a new website launched today at www.champing.co.uk and our online booking facility in place to support them, the Churches Conservation Trust is already ramping up the bookings, even from as far afield as America.

So, are you going to frequent church anytime soon? We most certainly are. Champing. It’s the one to watch.