Do you want to control access to your park using a barrier system?

Do you want to control access to your park using a barrier system?

Anytime Booking integrates with IDS Group for seamless access control

We are pleased to announce that Anytime Booking is now integrated with IDS Group’s barrier and ANPR (automatic number plate recognition) solution. Working with multi-award winning Padstow Touring Park and IDS Group, we have developed a simple access control solution from within the booking system for holiday park and campsite owners who want to fully control who is on site.

Tas Kyriacou, Head of Business Development IDS Group said, “The Anytime Booking software is an excellent tool which is widely accepted in the industry, so it extends the scope of our offer. Together we now provide a one-stop solution for customers who want to increase their business efficiencies. Holiday parks who utilise Anytime software can commission our barrier and ANPR system to seamlessly work in tandem. This first project with Padstow Touring Park gave us the opportunity to work together and take advantage of the benefits of both systems, making life easier for staff and customers.”

Philip Barnes, Padstow Touring Park Director said, “We feel the barrier system is invaluable to our business and having the link between the Anytime platform and the IDS barrier makes booking in faster and cuts out some of the human errors. We are always looking to improve existing systems and to stay ahead of other caravan sites where we can; we feel that we can work with Anytime and IDS Group over the coming years to keep moving with the times and give customers what they want whilst making things easier for the staff to use.”

Vanessa Glossop, Communications Director, Anytime, adds “It is fantastic to be working with IDS Group to give customers like Padstow Touring Park more benefit to the technologies they’ve invested in. While IDS Group can efficiently restrict and manage vehicular access to our customers’ premises with their barrier system, a car registration entered at the point of booking in our system is automatically recognised by the ANPR camera as visitors approach for their holiday, giving them immediate access. The partnership gives further edge to our offering as a booking management platform for holiday parks and larger campsites. ”

If you are interested in a quote for this solution let us know and we will put you in touch with our friends at IDS Group.

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.

Will you be providing mild camping next season?

Will you be providing mild camping next season?

A new camping industry trend has been identified by VisitScotland and is set to roll down the length and breadth of the British Isles over the next few seasons.

Dubbed ‘mild camping’, it is a type of camping for people who want to experience the wild outdoors but in a safer environment. It sits somewhere between wild camping and the kind of experience you’d get on a traditional family campsite. So rather than hanging off a cliff edge somewhere by yourself hoping for the best, you might be pitched in a wild field with the landowner within reach for greater security. It provides a down-to-earth, exhilarating experience without the worry.

It is almost anti-glamping, the other end of the scale. No marked-out pitches will be necessary, electrical hook-up will be a no-no, campfires a must. Mud won’t be frowned on, facilities can be dressed down and basic. The phenomenon opens a new world to landowners, holiday parks and campsites already in business or those starting out. It lends an opportunity to re-evaluate land stock, rebrand, or launch a business in a more environmentally sustainable way.

In an age of increased digital immersion and fast-paced living, the desire among consumers to escape to the simplicity of the great outdoors is staggering. Some are turning their backs on holidays abroad completely in favour of camping among the undulating hills and hedgerows of our fair isle. This gives the camping industry both the need and the opportunity to continually diversify, which is good news for camping businesses and good news for us. Mild camping is a new craze within the industry but it most certainly won’t be the last.

If you are a camping business looking for an online booking system to get you connected to the right marketplace and with the functionality to keep your business up with the changes, sign up to Anytime Booking now. We are the camping people.

The Tegstove by Tegology: a stove with serious charge

The Tegstove by Tegology: a stove with serious charge

We met Spencer of Tegology at The Glamping Show this year and were immediately bowled over by his nifty bit of thinking that is set to change how campers think about stoves forever.

Is it one of the coolest things we’ve seen for a while on the camping scene? Yes. Is it a stove? Yes. Is it a charger? Well, yes. It is so clever. No wonder Peter Jones couldn’t say no when Spencer presented it to him in The Dragon’s Den.

The cool bit 

The reason the Tegstove is so achingly cool is because it does the things you’ve always wanted one stove to do and more. It is compact, it is extremely stable, it controls the heat over a wider cooking area (no burnt bits in the middle!) and it stores energy so you can use it to charge your mobile devices. It ticks every box plus a box you didn’t even realise was there.

Who would’ve thought you could go completely wild camping, cook up a huge pan of chilli without it falling over or burning, and have the facility to remain in touch with the outside world at the same time? Great if you need to quickly post up that pic of the elusive Bigfoot. Or do something serious like catch up with the news or an important email. Or show your friends at home how fabulous you look beside your campfire in your grown-up onesie. You’ll wonder how you ever got by without it.

The science bit

Standard camping stoves will often use a mix of Butane, Propane and Isobutane to create a gas that works in cold climates. This is an unstable and expensive method. Tegstove uses widely available, cost-effective, clean-burning butane gas.

Butane is better gas – it comes in lighter cylinders, it can be stored inside, it’s cheaper, less volatile and readily available.

However, it gets cold fast and the pressure reduces – but Tegstove has harnessed this to create a greater difference in temperature between the hot and cold plates. The result? A strong controlled flame and stable production of electricity using a Thermoelectric Generator (TEG).

The ordering bit (because we know you’ll want to)

Go to the Tegology website and preorder your kit. It will be delivered in April 2017 just in time for the next camping season! Then sit back and wait smugly, knowing just how much this gadget will impress your friends and fellow campers.

Congratulations to Spencer and the Tegology team! You’ve made big fans out of us here at Anytime Booking, you’re onto a big winner!

The Glamping Show: be there or be a square tent-peg

The Glamping Show: be there or be a square tent-peg

Anytime Booking is a huge fan of The Glamping Show (www.theglampingshow.com). Now in its second year, it is being held at Stoneleigh Park on 22nd-24th September and is poised to be bigger and better than last year. Glamping is steaming ahead as one of the fastest growing holiday market sectors in the UK and around the world; the UK slice is set to be worth 1.8 billion by 2017. It is refreshing to see a dedicated trade show for the industry when there is more demand than ever for expertise in one place to quench this insatiable thirst for all things glamping.

Register free to attend this amazing event! Find us on stand 136!

Make sure you don’t miss out – register here to get the very latest news, advice, equipment and gadgetry in the industry!

So why is glamping such a success?

Provenance and authentic experiences are more important to the holidaymaker than ever. Novel and nostalgic, glamping is the perfect soul-remedy for the pressures of modern life. The very spirit of being in the great outdoors, watching the sunlight stream through the trees, listening to crickets, enjoying a campfire and eating produce from the surrounding landscape is very much there, but all with a certain style.

Imagine the world slowing down. Exchange your orange squash for hand-pressed lemonade. Trade old tin saucepans for an enticing dutch oven swinging over a fire-pit. Swap your roll mats and sleeping bags for a kingsize bed with cotton sheets, torch light for fairy lights and damp zip-up canvas for majestic safari tent or a perfectly formed pod with ensuite. Having some luxuries around you doesn’t mean you are any less close to nature. And you might even find you enjoy it more.

Glamping sets a different kind of scene for holidays, weddings, hen and stag parties, birthday celebrations, reunions and festivals. Hotels and holiday chains are increasingly bringing glamping facilities into their offerings to enjoy a slice of the action. Haven Holidays, a mainstay of the family holiday in Britain, is a case in point – they have launched new holiday experiences in super-tents, yurts, geodomes and safari tents. The very message in a chain like Haven investing in glamping is that the future of this slice of the holiday market is secure and bright.

Make sure you know your guests

Glamping is the thoughtful end of the holiday market, where all the frills and spills have been thought about and lovingly provided. If you are a glampsite owner, or are seriously considering becoming one, this does put you under pressure to know your customers deeper though. Some customers want to feel the mud squelching between their toes, but they just don’t want to carry all their stuff with them, so it’s a choice of convenience. Others expect sheer luxury and if there is no fluffy robe hanging on the back of their ensuite door, they won’t be back. Know which end of the glamping market you’re going after and set the scene.

This end of the holiday market has really moved on in the past couple of years. You can no longer simply stick up a few unusually shaped tents and cross fingers that this will turn into a good little business. Glamping presents so many more accommodation choices now but it has also become much more than the physical structure you’re staying in, it’s about the holistic experience. As such, the high service level you provide, the little extras and the adventure need to be reflected in the holiday proposition from outset to finish. You need to tell a story that in effect then sells itself.

Look to technology to keep you ahead

If you are a holiday business of any kind, the actual technology does not need to be a barrier to your visibility on the web. We recommend that the hub of any successful glampsite should be a well designed website with flawless photography and a flexible online booking management system plugged into it. Entice your customers in from the very beginning, show them what’s different about you, and make it easy for them to book a holiday online with you.

This is where Anytime Booking can step in to help you manage your business while enhancing your customer service and, in turn, your guest experience.

Our system will drive direct bookings to your website and link with the OTAs (online travel agents) of your choice to increase your occupancy and revenue. We can help you delve deeper to manage the relationships you have with your customers. The powerful CRM enables you to retain all the information you need about your customers to communicate with them time and again.

We also support all the aspects of a busy reception desk, including taking payments. For complete ease, you can even use our own payment gateway, Anytime Payments, which talks to your existing merchant provider.

So come and find us at The Glamping Show on stand 136, we love to talk! 

We will show you how Anytime Booking’s powerful functionality and flexibility will help you manage and grow your flourishing glamping business.

It’s more pertinent than ever to get ahead because according to VisitEngland, TripAdvisor and just about any travel expert going, the glamping phenomenon is no longer a trend, it is a bona fide holiday choice, it’s getting competitive out there and it’s here to stay. Have a happy Show!