Why on-site experience counts in the Holiday Park market

Why on-site experience counts in the Holiday Park market – Part 2

From the moment your holiday park is ‘found’ online to the moment your guest posts a glowing review on Trip Advisor, their ‘experience’ and how they feel and encounter your park – before, during and after their stay – both online and off – is really at the heart of any digital investment.

In-stay Revenue Opportunities

Crucially the in-stay stage is where not only are memories made, loyalty is built and true experiences felt but where sustainable revenue growth can be earned – a downstream income stream fed by the initiatives and digital influences of high occupancy rates.

And, far from having to change the way your holiday park business works (as was experienced with the creation and adoption of online travel agents and bookings) – you already do this! The vast majority of parks already focusing on trying to ensure that their guests have wonderful experiences when on their parks or ‘in-stay’ – the foundations already exist to enhance these experiences with digital and also open new and sustainable revenue channels.

Delving through the mountain of opinion, reports, assessments of the Holiday Park space – before, during and after the various waves of the pandemic a number of fascinating figures presented themselves that highlights a significant range of opportunities.

Core ‘in-stay’ spend  

  • The average spend per visitor for a four day touring stay in a holiday park is £460 including accommodation, travel, meals and trips out. The average spend on park per visitor per stay on entertainment, restaurants and activities is £32.  The average spend off-park per visitor per stay on travel, entertainment, restaurants and activities is £133 (Frontline Holiday Park/Campsite Visitor Survey, 2018)
  • According to Dan Yates, CEO of Pitch up, families camping will spend, on average, £46 a day in nearby pubs, cafes, shops or attractions
    (June 2021 “Carry on Camping campaign”)

The opportunity for parks through enhancing the in-stay experiences to redress the balance between on-site and off-site spend, is clearly significant and by focusing on the (digital) experience expectations of guests, clues are provided to deliver immediate results.

Download the Frontline Holiday Park/Campsite Visitor Survey, 2018 findings

Demographic changes

  • 52% of 25-34 year olds in the UK expect to devote more of their holiday time to UK breaks.
  • 38% of 18-24 year olds and 39% of 34-45 year olds intend to do the same.

(Frontline Holiday Park/Campsite Visitor Survey, 2018)

These demographic groups are more digitally aware, have increased expectations in terms of customer experience and are ‘digital natives’.

Experience Expectations

  • Although some holidaymakers in the UK are interested in having some degree of time away from digital, there are varying definitions of digital detox – from switching off completely, to simply not having to be contactable by work.
  • Many are keen to continue to access shopping, available activities, sports results or local weather information.
  • A significant percentage 50% expect to be able to receive notifications about special offers, discounts, and last-minute activity availability.
  • Similarly, more people now expect to check-in online with their smartphone – particularly in the 25-34 age group. (Barclays Corporate Banking – The Great British Staycation 2018)
  • Of those hospitality businesses (30% of the total in the UK) that have invested in digital – 50% have seen an increase of up to 15% in revenue year on year.
    (Barclays Corporate Banking – The Great British Staycation 2018)

The blend

So, from this high-level view –

  1. holiday guests generally spend considerably more money off-site than on-site, despite significant investment by parks with impressive facilities
  2. a more digitally aware, demanding and more willing to share demographic are keen to stay and explore the UK and,
  3. there is a desire for blending relaxation with digital services during stays.

Just these three headline findings from two independent reports and perspectives provide some insight into where opportunities for enhancing experiences and services with the right digital technology and delivering revenue growth lie.

Identifying in-stay opportunities – where to start?

Well, there is a considerable amount of your own insight and data to identify immediate opportunities that can be gathered through delivering your day-to-day services.

Here are some initial ideas:-

  • Understand who uses your onsite shops and park restaurants by asking for the guest for their accommodation number when transacting. Then pull together all these different records to build a quick picture of who is using what. You only need do this for one day a week or even as a one off to build a picture.
  • Monitor visits to reception, what questions are guests asking? What information leaflets are they taking?
  • If you do not have booking systems in place for your activities or on-park facilities – again, simply ask for accommodation details when guests arrive.
  • Provide simple special offer vouchers for on-site facilities in guest arrival packs. Yu can then monitor what vouchers are used, when and by whom.

These simple examples allow you to build a picture of what guests are doing; how they are behaving and what experiences they are having when they are staying with you. You can then begin to focus on blending the practicalities of the current on park experiences with the needs of new and existing customers.

Sharing a camping experience

For example, could you …

  • Offer a pre-stay digital pack?
    Including special offers, pre-stay discounts, preferential access to facilities etc. This could also include videos of the latest Covid controls in place on your park – all focused on preparing guests before they arrive.
  • Send real-time ‘in-stay’ push notifications to guest’s mobile devices about your facilities – highlighting free slots available in your swimming pools, spa’s or restaurants?
  • Send notifications of personalised special offers to individual guests based on their group make up or previous activities and interests?
  • Make guests aware of busy areas of the site and then guide them to other facilities?
  • Meal booking can be completed before arrival at the restaurant or delivered to the accommodation, saving kitchen time, and creating efficiencies.

Although these enhancements may at first seem significant investments of time and money, many of the systems and mechanisms that can underpin these service experiences already exist. As a holiday park, you probably already have these in your booking system, ePos, CRM or individual databases – the data and therefore, capability is there. By focusing on pulling this information together into a guest facing view – you meet the digital needs of the guests with their willingness and desire to engage.

Holidaymaker – the guest experience platform

Look at platforms like Holidaymaker – that acts as a conduit and guest facing service – to rapidly enhance the in-stay experience of your guests.

By adopting the same values that you followed as a business by creating sustainable and secure revenue through the adoption of digital booking channels, you can achieve the same results through creating the capability to enable guests to blend their digital needs/desire/learnt behaviour with their in-stay experiences to grow your business and build loyal, committed customers.