CITO at the HERCMA Trade show 2013

ImageThe Hull and East Riding of Yorkshire Caravan Manufactures Association runs two events every September to introduce the new season’s caravans.  CITO is delighted to be attending both shows, starting with the Lawns, in Cottingham near Hull from 10th to 12th September.

Opening times are 10am to 5pm on 10th and 11th and 10am to 4pm on 12th.  There is also free parking and entry to bona-fide trade visitors.

The annual trade show at the Lawns is the largest of its kind in Europe. The public visit to view the new season’s caravans over the previous weekend, then the Trade gets together during the week to see the latest caravans and related products that the British industry has to offer, and to network with other professionals and service providers in the industry.

The show features over 120 new touring caravans and around 150 caravan holiday-homes & park homes from the major British manufacturers, together with an ever-growing number of suppliers and service exhibitors, ranging from security products and soft furnishings to insurance and (of course) training– the CITO caravan near the entrance to the Lawns Centre is a familiar sight to trade visitors.  

We are welcoming the opportunity to assist customers, colleagues, learners and holiday makers on all things caravans. The kettle is always on and biscuits and information are available throughout!

If you haven’t registered already then don’t forget to visit the HERCMA trade show website and fill in the online application form. Information about companies attending the show can also be found at the HERCMA trade show website

We hope to see you there! 

Celebrating caravan parks – an environmental haven

ImageIn the caravan industry, we all know the value of having an attractive park, and many customers welcome initiatives that are not just good to look at, but which support values that they may already hold.  

In 1996, BH&HPA launched ‘The David Bellamy Conservation Award Scheme’ to encourage biodiversity, to improve energy use, and to strengthen links with local communities. Not only do the parks in the scheme become better neighbours within their community, they also develop new skills in the workforce and the scheme can help provide them with an edge when it comes to marketing. The staff on the park will acquire new skills within the scheme – there is a great deal of support within the scheme itself, but other training also provides relevant learning, and helps with any staff development that may be required.

For example, one of the optional units within the level 2 NVQ and Apprenticeship in Operational Services is ‘Conserving the Park Environment’. Staff learn about actions to take that will make the park more attractive for wildlife, and decrease negative impact on the environment. They will understand the importance of good sign boards which bring park customers a greater understanding of biodiversity in the area, and help them look more closely and clearly at the natural world. They will also learn about saving energy, which has financial benefits as well as ecological ones.

Environmental initiatives are not always uppermost in these difficult times, but sometimes they can really enhance the park’s offer to customers as well as having less obvious benefits such as saving on energy bills.  Gaining this award is a way of letting existing and potential customers know that a park has something special to offer and is doing its bit for the environment. It could help a park stand out from the crowd in a busy marketplace.

According to Great Britain Tourism Survey figures, almost 16 million caravan holidays were taken in 2012, from weekends away in a touring caravan or motorhome to longer breaks in either hired or owned caravan holiday homes.  Statistics collated by the National Caravan Council state that the Caravan Industry in the UK currently contributes around £6 billion per annum to the UK economy (revenue from sales of products and related services, holiday bookings, etc).

With such a substantial contribution industry, it is important that staff give of their best, and much training is available to help them do this.  With the environment so crucial to the industry in recent years as public awareness of environmental issues continues to grow, some park customers may benefit from relevant training, which is on hand to raise awareness and develop staff in many relevant areas, including:

1. The importance of the carbon footprint

There is greater awareness of how the carbon footprint impacts on the environment. As well as this influencing potential travel distances on holiday, some customers are now looking for more environmentally friendly locations when deciding where to stay – recycling, energy saving etc.

2. Financial savings from good management of energy and waste

Parks that are able to reduce the amount of energy and water used and rationalise the amount of waste can benefit from reductions in utility bills and other costs which can be passed on to their customers.  

3. Wildlife

 Parks that have a rich and more diverse wildlife are able to provide a more appealing experience for the holiday maker. As the BH&HPA state, “boosting biodiversity is good for business” and the experience of a child seeing a badger or deer in the wild for the first time is surely beyond price.

For managers, one of the units within the Foundation Degree in Tourism Park Management is ‘Managing Biodiversity and Conservation’, which, of course, also includes the relevant ‘good neighbour’ aspects

If you would like to know more about the CITO NVQ Level 2 or the apprenticeship please visit www.cito.org.uk. A support booklet “Conserving the Park Environment” is available from CITO for £5 (including postage) or can be picked up from the CITO stands at either the Hull or Beaulieu shows for just £2.

For information on the foundation degree in Tourism Park Management please e mail Jenny Pritchard jenny@cito.org.uk

If you would like more information on the BH&HPA David Bellamy Conservation Award Scheme please visit http://www.bellamyparks.co.uk/

 

 

Is your business benefiting from social media?

Image

Whether your business is a park, caravan dealership or service and repair centre, many of your customers are now using social media to interact with those around them. However, are you interacting with them?

It used to be that if your company wanted to have an online presence all you had to do was create a website however, with the media-savvy world we live in today this is simply no longer the case. Social media can be a highly cost effective way to engage with your customers and will really help get the most out of your business.

Whilst some of you may be familiar with using the likes of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube for personal use, the rapid growth in using the media for professional purposes may leave others daunted as to how to begin marketing their business ‘socially’. So here at CITO we’re offering courses on how social media can really help your business and how to make the most out of it!

The Social Media Blueprint for Success course is an online training suite to help businesses succeed with social media. The training is presented in a clear, concise and easy to follow format. Modules include step-by-step guides on setting up your social media platforms and instructions on how to get the most out of your social media activity. The course itself is spilt into 8 modules covering all aspects of social media such as:

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • YouTube
  • LinkedIn
  • Blogging

If you’re interested or perhaps slightly unsure then we even offer a demonstration of the learning tool so that you can have an idea of the course before you purchase the programme: View Demonstration

When used effectively social media can really help boost your business’s potential. One recent example of the effectiveness of a social media campaign can be seen by Domino’s. The initiative they set up saw them attract customers through a unique campaign on Twitter utilizing the simple hashtag #letsdolunch. 

Why social media is key to your business and how it can help!

Here are our top three reasons as to why social media can be great for your business.

Engagement

This is the most important aspect of social media. As many companies do, it’s easy to fall into the trap of only using your profiles as a broadcasting tool – simply posting links to your website, advertising your products and not actually engaging with the conversation or the audience, which is a huge mistake! Social media is all about conversations, relationships and engagement. By engaging with both potential and existing clients and customers, you are able to build relationships and to better understand the needs of your customers.

Website Visitors

Social media platforms are a great way to drive fans and followers to your business website or blog. As long as you post intriguing and engaging content, then those interested will click on the links that resonate with them. It’s important to remember that an increase in traffic to your website will also really help your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and search rankings.

Feedback

Social Media has broken down many barriers between businesses and their customers; it’s a lot easier now to gain constructive feedback than it has been in the past. Whether it’s a complaint, query, suggestion, or praise social media is a great way to understand exactly what your customers want and to know what they think. Many companies now use social media as a portal for customer service; this can really help your business when conducted in an professional manner as it can be a quick and easy method for customers to give feedback.

If you’re interested in learning how social media can impact your business then please follow the link for more information or to apply for the Social Media Blueprint for Success course.

Image credit: socialsearchmobile.org 

“Staycations” are on the rise

Image

The amount of people choosing to book a caravan or camping holiday has seen a welcome increase in advanced bookings in comparison with last year in parts of the industry. According to the Camping & Caravanning Club, this growth is supported by the rise in popularity of luxury camping, nicknamed ‘glamping’, in yurts, teepees and cabins.

Other reasons for this increase may include the fact that last year, the industry escaped government plans to introduce a levy on VAT on the sale of caravan holiday homes. Instead of a planned 20% tax hike the government changed its plans and imposed only a 5% VAT rate. Or the increase may simply be that more people are opting to stay in the UK due to the cost of flights and other requirements when going abroad.

Head of Caravan Industry Training (CITO), Jenny Pritchard said,

“With ‘quality’ becoming the industry’s watchword, caravanning and camping holidays have completely shaken off the somewhat homespun image of yesteryear and as a result, there are now many more holidaymakers who are discovering the delights they have on their own shores instead of opting to go abroad.

The options for caravanning and camping have broadened significantly, giving a diverse range of luxury options and ‘glamping’ to accompany those that already exist in the marketplace.”

A late surge in bookings after the cold winter was very welcome, with the Camping and Caravanning Club reporting a very positive 56% increase on last year’s figures for May. This is a substantial industry, responsible for some 53,000 direct and indirect jobs in the UK, and worth £4 billion total turnover and visitor expenditure.

At CITO, we hope you carry on ‘glamping’! There are some great places to explore in the UK and each area has its own surprises and pleasures.  If holidaymakers are caravanning for the first time, they are likely to be impressed by the industry’s professionalism and wide range of facilities.  Now, widely varying parks have offerings for all tastes and types of holiday, and a highly professional workforce, trained through NVQs, apprenticeships and an industry specific Foundation Degree as well.

ImageImage credit – goodhotelguide.com and  ElleUK.com

Key Dates for 2013!

dreamstime_3091383

Don’t forget to make a note of these upcoming events

  • Scottish Caravan, Motorhome and Holiday Home Show, 7-10 February 2013 (SECC, Glasgow)
  • The Spring Caravan and Camping Show, 19-24 February 2013 (NEC, Birmingham)
  • The Great Yorkshire Motorhome and Caravan Show, 22-24 March 2013 (Great Yorkshire Showground, Harrogate)
  • UK Spring Motorhom and Caravan Show, 22-24 March 2013 (Newark Showground, Nottinghamshire)
  • The National Motorhome Show, 19-21 April 2013 (East of England Showground, Peterborough)
  • The Southern Motorcaravan Show, 17-19 May 2013 (Newbury Showground Berkshire)
  • Park and Holiday Homes Show, 17-19 May 2013, (Newbury Showground Berkshire
  • The Midsummer Motorhome and Caravan Event, 14-16 June (Westpoint, Exeter)
  • The Northern Motorcaravan Show, 19-21 July 2013 (Chesire Showground, Cheshire)
  • The Western Motorhome Show, 16-18 August 2013 (Three Counties Showground, Malvern)
  • The National Park and Holiday Homes Show, 16-18 August 2013, (Three Counties Showground, Malvern)
  • The Caravan Extravaganza, 7-8 September 2013 (The Lawns, Cottingham, East Yorkshire)
  • The Motorhome Show Season Finale, 20-22 September 2013 (Lincolnshire Showground, Lincolnshire)
  • HolidayPark and Home Show, 26-29 September 2013 (Hides Field, Beaulieu, Hampshire)

National Census Shows King’s Lynn Is UK Caravan Capital

Statistics from the latest National Census reveal King’s Lynn, in West Norfolk, has the highest number of households living in caravans in England and Wales.

The area boasts an impressive 5.9 per cent of caravan dwelling households compared to the national average of just 0.4 per cent.

Jackie Duffy, from the National Caravan Council, says the natural beauty of the area coupled with its largely temperate climate could account for the high figure.

She added people may also be attracted to live in a caravan park by the opportunity to live alongside like-minded people in a place with a strong sense of community. She said: “Older people especially might find comfort in the sense of security that having sociable and familiar neighbours close by can provide.”

Jon Boston, from the British Holiday and Home Parks Association agrees. He reports that 90 per cent of the 200,000 people that live on residential parks are of, or near, retirement age.

He also states that there are about 20 residential parks in the West Norfolk area (of a total of 1,000 across the rest of the UK and Wales).