The importance of maintaining refurbishment and upgrading programmes in order to attract and maintain visitor levels to South West holiday parks is well accepted, but future profitability depends on anticipating demand and investing in new areas of development, according to Josh Donald, a director of two significant Cornish holiday businesses.
Having operated and then sold the Dawlish Warren based Peppermint Park, Josh Donald and his collegues acquired the 33-acre award-winning Seaview International holiday park located on the cliff tops close to Mevagissey in South Cornwall. The site has 225 camping/touring pitches, 31 static caravans and two lodges.
Josh Donald said: “We were looking for sites with considerable room for development. There is no point in acquiring a site that has already reached its potential. Our investment programme, including converting a redundant chapel into a new reception, shop and café and providing mobile phone boosters and park-wide wi-fi, is designed to maintain a Five-star status and ensure we offer a memorable and value for money holiday experience.
“However, we also operate two three bedroom lodges on the site and in year one they have successfully reached a 92% occupancy level and this is where future development potential lies.
“Firstly, lodges represent superb holiday products with year round sales thereby lifting the burden of making as much as 80% of annual turnover in a six week summer period from touring pitches.
“Secondly, with the appropriate consents, lodges can be offered for sale as holiday homes and then sublet. This makes sound business sense for us as an operator and will certainly return far more to the purchaser than if they buy to let independently.”
With this in mind Josh Donald’s consortium acquired Juliots Well, a 30 acre predominately lodge park near Camelford.
Both acquisitions were facilitated by Clydesdale Bank. Business partner Steve Tyers said: “Juliet’s Well has a mature infrastructure including a bar/restaurant, a function trade with non-residential license which effectively makes it the local pub and a fishing lake.
“Josh is looking to adapt the Parks’ business model to satisfy the ever changing demands of their customers where increasingly some holidaymakers are looking for the opportunity to purchase high quality lodges and sublet.”