The facts don’t lie. The upsurge of Brits enjoying caravan holidays in the UK has been pronounced over the past few years.
In 2015, national newspapers begun reporting the massive bounce back of the caravan holidays industry following the recession, with the National Caravan Council confirming that the sector had risen to a value of £6 billion, and that caravan production had risen by 12.5 per cent.
Elsewhere, the media has been excitedly reporting the increase in searches and bookings for ‘staycations’; the outdoor hospitality industry was noted for its “stellar performance during the recent global financial slowdown” by the Journal of Outdoor Recreation and Tourism; and the caravan industry braced itself for an influx of overseas campers, as VisitBritain forecast a six per cent increase in inbound tourism.
All the evidence points to the fact that caravan holidays are spearheading a wider movement which is seeing the UK’s holiday hotspots increasingly cherished. So what exactly is it which has meant that caravan holidays in the UK are winning so many new fans?
In this article, we look at how caravan holidays have managed to redefine themselves in the eyes of the public, ask for an industry standpoint on the changing face of caravanning, and shine a spotlight on some of the innovations which have helped take caravan holidays to the next level.
Why the modern day caravan experience has changed perceptions
Let’s look beneath the surface at the big reasons why caravan holidays are converting British vacationers, and giving more incentives for current caravan owners to take to the road.
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The resolve to reinvest
Image: Love2Stay, the luxury touring caravan site in Shropshire.
While the caravanning culture in the UK could be said to have been strong ever since the Second World War, up until the past few years many caravan parks were happy to rest on their laurels. With a loyal core of campers, there wasn’t always the will to reinvest in facilities with an eye to improving the caravanning experience. That has all changed – the emergence of cheap foreign package trips, along with the luxury rural holiday option of glamping, has put the onus on caravan parks to up their game.
Credit must go to the UK caravan parks for the way they have risen to the challenge. A few years ago, a gym, cinema - such as the Family Cinedrome at Love2Stay’s caravan park - and swimming pool might have been the last things you would expect from a caravan site, but now those amenities are nothing out of the ordinary. The quality of the essential facilities – such as shower blocks and kitchen areas – has risen too, adding to further to a higher standard of living, while the irreplaceable lure of the open countryside remains the same!
Coming in from the cold
In the UK, the weather – or rather, the unpredictability of the weather – is no laughing matter. Seasoned caravanners might remember the days of gas lamps and cold caravans. Thanks to the advances in caravans and motorhomes themselves, along with the on-site facilities coming on leaps and bounds, there are no longer the power struggles which could make staying in a caravan only one step up from the cold confines of a tent.
Innovations such as solar panelling are offering caravan and motorhome owners more ways to stay warm and charge up for everyday tasks. What used to be an inconvenience is now not seen as such, and the growing range of power options, such as mains electricity, has certainly contributed to the redefinition of caravan holidays. And it’s a good thing too, as the range of electronic devices at our fingertips has never been greater.
The internet age
What about the booking process? There is no doubt that researching, booking and preparing for caravan holidays has become a lot easier, and like many tasks, this can be attributed to the era of the internet. We can now scroll through the pick of caravan parks up and down the country at the click of a mouse, ensuring that we choose a location, and facility, which ticks all our boxes.
And the booking has been made simpler – just tap in some bank card details and you are away; reservation done and dusted. Once the booking is in the bag, it is time to research your location, which is also far more straightforward than it used to be. Daily activities, down to the detail of meal options, can all be planned in advance. It has contributed to taking many of the uncertainties and unknowns, which might have perturbed some would-be caravanners in the past, out of caravanning
In the post-War era, caravan owners were often left to fend for themselves in terms of the upkeep of sites. As time went on, maintenance teams became the norm, but never have we seen a higher level of care than in today’s caravan park sites. Manicured lawns and designer landscaping welcome campers on arrival, and even smaller details such as hedging to divide pitches have done a lot to enhance the overall caravan experience.
Caravan parks are made to look their best all year round, as site managers show a willingness to back up their investments in facilities by preserving their appearance.
The official word
Let’s get the insider’s view on the significant transformation of caravan holidays in the UK, from the National Caravan Council’s Louise Wood.
Louise said: “Caravans, motorhomes and caravan holiday homes have been getting more stylish; they are packed full of high tech kit and all the comforts and luxuries of home. In fact, with the introduction of wet rooms, hot tubs, fire pits, even private beaches, and moorings, they may well be more luxurious than home!
“But it is not just where you’re sleeping that has got better. There has been a lot of investment in parks across the UK. The on-site entertainment is higher quality and more varied – everything from the best tribute bands in the land to creampie fights! The facilities are more sophisticated – gyms, wellness centers, tennis courts, climbing walls.
“All this resonates with our changing holiday habits. People are taking shorter holidays, but more of them, and they want to make more of their weekends and free time. Caravan holidays are ideal for this.
“There is also a growing trend towards multi-generational holidays and parks are providing a great product for this. So while there are problem-solving activities for younger children and hang out zones for teenagers, there is also a spa for parents to relax in and golf courses and great walks for grandparents. Britain’s holiday parks have really upped their game.”
The best of caravan holidays’ UK and international innovations
It is a healthy sign of a sector growing exponentially – the constant appearance of new innovations which are capable of raising the bar; expanding horizons and heightening expectations. Caravanning has certainly had its fair share of bright ideas in recent times, and in this section we take a look at some of the most remarkable:
- Lithium power – Motorhomes can now be powered by lithium, which can go some of the way to replacing the traditional battery. What lithium offers is a much more robust power source than a normal deep cycle battery – when the kettle, toaster, washing machine, and hair dryer are all on the go simultaneously, you are less likely to see a complete cut-out.
- Property Management Software (PMS) – as a caravan owner, it is unlikely that you will encounter PMS software first hand. But rest assured it is quietly doing its job on the computer of your site administrator, helping your site to run more smoothly. PMS software has allowed online bookings to be managed, receptions to be operated efficiently, payments to be handled and caravan parks to be publicised more effectively.
- Spa baths – another new feature designed to get motorhome and RV owners excited is the spa bath installed into the latest models of Australian manufacturer Van Cruiser. Four jets and a generous size make bathing a pleasure rather than a squeeze, and transports hotel-style luxury into the caravan park.
- Aerodynamic design – the new aerodynamic shaping of caravans is allowing both tow vehicles and the caravan itself to move with improved efficiency, making for a more enjoyable journey. For example, by achieving ten percent less drag with their Challenger and Conqueror models, manufacturer Swift Group reduced the force acting on their vehicles by 19.2 kgs.
- Underfloor heating – we can enjoy it at home, so why not in our caravan? Underfloor heating actually saves space inside a caravan, and is conducive to a lighter caravan as well. For non-summer holidaying, it is a neat feature which makes stepping out of bed and starting the day that little bit more pleasurable.
We hope you enjoyed this look at why modern day caravanning is an increasingly irresistible staycation option. To enjoy the best of caravan holidays in the UK, book your place on one of Love2Stay’s 120 fully serviced caravan pitches. Visit www.love2stay.com today.