Seasoned motorhome owners will know that space is often an issue when looking for somewhere to park up for the night, especially as many towns and cities have strict rules concerning motorhome parking. In general, space is becoming more and more limited due to the fact that both populations and the amount of vehicles owned in large towns and cities is increasing. So what does this mean for motorhome owners? Here, Victor Millwell investigates: Continue reading
The motorhome industry has always been full of innovators, and they are exactly what keeps motorhomes fresh and interesting for all of us. Alongside this, campsite owners in the UK have always tried to maintain their high standards whilst trying to meet market demand for new technology. Lest we forget, the motorhome itself is way outdated by camping, and plenty of campsites have had to adapt to be accommodating to motorhome campers. In keeping with the trend of new ideas, a Cornish static park, Oyster Bay in Goonhavern, have announced that it would offer motorhome owners the opportunity to trade in their old vehicles for money off a new static caravan.
This idea will be appealing to many people who have formed a relationship with the area and, in this part of Cornwall, there are plenty who have been travelling there for years. Of course, a static caravan offers a different lifestyle to a motorhome: it’s much more convenient to make homely, but of course, you are still in need of a secondary vehicle to travel with.
A static caravan does also mean you’re able to bring in a little extra money from renting it out when you’re not there. Though some parks have specific regulations as to what you can and can’t do, it’s quite common for static caravan owners to bring in a little rent on the side. There are of course insurance considerations here too: your standard motorhome insurance policy is unlikely to be adequate for a static caravan, and customers will need to rethink the way they’re covered.
It’s great to see sites getting innovative with the sorts of deals they’re offering, and it’s likely that there will be plenty of motorhome owners jumping on the bandwagon with this one. In turn, this helps to keep the flow of second-hand motorhomes going, and keeps the economy surrounding the motorhome industry buzzing.
The days are gone when we used to ask fellow campers or consult the route map for great places to camp, nowadays we all go straight to the search engine and after a few swift clicks we’re presented with hundreds of reviews about the areas we’re interested in. The online review system has really revolutionised the way campsites are thinking about attracting customers.
Most campsites in the UK are now listed on an external review site and many even have their own where they can allow customers to give feedback. This is a great tool for campers looking for particular facilities or after specific information that isn’t usually displayed on websites. It also allows for up to date information to take priority over old and out of date sites which can often be misleading for campers, particularly after a change of management.
Motorhome owners in particular tend to prefer to book before they camp as it can be tough to find a pitch on the off-chance, and many are restricted by their motorhome insurance policies as to where they are able to camp. This means, normally, checking out the site online before travelling and that reviews make a real difference to the level of business that campsites are drawing in.
For campsites, this means making that extra effort to ensure that service is good and what is advertised matches up with what is offered. Providing that the bad reviews are always taken with a pinch of salt, it’s an ideal way to introduce a feedback loop into the motorhome and camping industry and it should help to improve facilities and service at the top sites in the UK.
Of course, this all means a little bit of extra focus from campsite owners on quality and, in the short term, things might be tough for sites which are reviewed poorly, but in the long run it should help to ensure quality camping is here to stay at UK campsites.
Winter is always a challenging time weather-wise and recently we’ve seen floods hit across the world. In the UK it tends to be severe rainfall that causes rivers to burst their banks and cause flooding in towns, but elsewhere in the world a combination of high rainfall, melting snow and ice can cause severe problems. New Zealand is the latest part of the world to be hit by flooding and a number of campers have recently had a lucky escape.
In one particular incident this week, the Waimea River overflowed and burst its banks, washing away a campervan and all its contents. Thankfully the four campers were unhurt, but they will be left with quite a campervan insurance claim and a few difficult nights trying to recover what they can.
Flooding has caused severe damage to the campervan and motorhome industry over the past few months and it’s not just the tourists who have suffered. Many campsites both in the UK and in popular destinations like New Zealand have been completely flooded, leaving them without business and with a serious recovery job to undertake. Often this leaves campers without a place to sleep and many have had to be evicted from campsites over the last few weeks.
Persistent rainfall is not just dangerous to the campervan community at present, it could have serious long term effects. Campers aren’t going to be inclined to invest in motorhomes or campervans for the long term if rain continues and the risk of flooding will really detriment the off-peak demand for tourist areas.
We can only hope that over the next few years we see some improvement in the weather and the flood protection for campsites and that hopefully campers can return to their favourite areas without fear of being washed out.
We’ve been experiencing some extremely unusual conditions over the last few weeks and though we Brits always like to talk about the rain, never has the weather been in the news in such a prominent way. The floods we saw just before Christmas tragically ruined the festive period for many, many people, but as the water hopefully begins to settle we’re starting to count the cost for the motorhome community.
Unfortunately, there have been individual incidents where motorhomes have been completely flooded, causing serious damage to interiors and engines of motorhomes and resulting in a quite a number of motorhome insurance claims. Many insurers are finding claims quite difficult to fulfil and have exclusions surrounding flood damage, but given the widespread nature of these floods it’s quite likely that claims will be honoured.
Alongside this, some of the worst affected have been campsite owners. Year on year, Devon is one of the most popular destinations for motorhome drivers but it appears to have taken the worst of the rain this year, and there are many campsites which are simply underwater. Damage to buildings and facilities was inevitable but is thankfully repairable, but what can’t always be recovered is the cost of business lost. Many campsites are struggling to make ends meet as it is, and a month of lost business could put some campsites in jeopardy.
It’s quite possible that the flooding will also affect future demand for camping and campsites. People in the UK are losing patience with persistent rainfall and we are seeing people selling up. This could affect future demand for campsites and we may start seeing former committed motorhome owners selling up and moving towards budget EU holidays or even going farther afield.
Our thoughts are, of course, with all of those affected by the flooding and we hope the motorhome community can swiftly recover from the damages caused by extreme weather over the last few weeks.
There have been a number of cases in the news lately about objections to caravan parks and campsites expanding in the UK to make room for more campers, often full time residents. Land is most certainly a controversial issue in the UK at the moment and with limited, expensive space, finding a way for motorhome and caravan owners to enjoy their leisure time while keeping land available for use will be a great challenge.
At present it’s possible to offer up to five caravan or motorhome spaces on private land without planning permission. Many businesses make use of this, including pubs, hotels and hostels. However, planning permission is likely to be required if businesses wish to expand any further than this, which can often cause a number of objections.
A common fear that motorhome or caravan parks are unsightly on the landscape and green fields are preferable to white roofs and awnings and it’s definitely true that thought needs to be given to where motorhome sites are placed. It’s quite possible to minimise the environmental impact of campsites, including unsightliness, with good planning.
Equally, quality motorhome campsites are essential for the motorhome community. Without proper camping facilities, motorhome users are often forced to use town car parks which are unfit for the purpose or to camp in the wild. This can cause disputes with residents and, if it is a permanent solution can cause motorhome insurance quotes to skyrocket.
Appropriate thought certainly needs to be given to the question of expansion in the coming years, and what needs to be identified is flexibility. Landowners who are looking to offer up land could seek to build campsites for peak months and reopen the land to the public, or find an alternative use, off season. Finding the right balance between using land and preserving it for future use is the challenge that campsite owners will need to look into.