Holiday Centres - UK - June 2013
“Holiday centres still show very similar seasonal patterns to domestic tourism as a whole and could do more to promote awareness of their year-round weather-proof advantages compared to many other UK holiday types. The proportion of breaks taken during the winter months remains especially low. According to Mintel’s research, only Center Parcs has been able to stake a clear claim to being a winter break option.”
– John Worthington, Senior Analyst
Some questions answered in this report include:
- How can holiday centres attract new customers and win back lapsed visitors?
- How can the food offering be developed at holiday centres?
- How can holiday centres appeal more to singles?
- What are the key messages for attracting families to holiday centres?
Although there have been few opportunities for large-scale supply growth over the past decade, mainly due to planning restrictions, continual investment in new accommodation and facilities has sustained demand and the impending Center Parcs expansion could drive market volumes to a new level.
Holiday centres are a mass-market destination with a very broad appeal among families right across the occupational and income spectrum. Household leisure budgets are polarising further in austerity-era Britain. There is a need for a high degree of segmentation in terms of price points, accommodation and the nature of the offering and experience.
This report analyses market trends, consumer preferences and attitudes towards holiday centres, investigating the core market factors and dynamics and profiling the key players involved and the holidays they offer.
The report coverage extends across three types of site for holidays in the UK, although some sites may offer a range of accommodation:
- ‘Holiday centre’ is generally used for the traditional brands such as Butlins and Pontins, which were originally based on a 1950s ‘holiday camp’ formula but have developed over the years. They are characterised by permanent accommodation (rather than mobile homes), in blocks, detached buildings or (more recently) hotels; the holidays they sell may include meals or be self-catering, and they invariably include some entertainment and leisure facilities in the holiday price.
- Forest villages are also holiday centres, but they are very different from the Butlins/Pontins model; their siting is aimed at rural quiet, not seaside bustle. In practice, there are currently four in the UK, all owned and defined by their originator, Center Parcs.
- Holiday parks based on caravan or lodge accommodation are the most numerous overall, but Mintel is only counting those parks that can be described as ‘centres’ or ‘villages’ because they offer a full range of on-site facilities: swimming pools, foodservice, some indoor entertainment, children’s clubs etc
An adult, for the purposes of Mintel’s research, is anyone aged 16 or over.
The standard travel and tourism definitions used in the terminology of this report are as follows:
- tourism is any travel, which involves an overnight stay away from home.
- a holiday is a subjectively defined form of tourism, as defined by the tourist in response to surveys such as IPS or UKTS. A holiday can be distinguished from other leisure travel such as visits to friends and relatives (VFR) or shopping trips.
- a long holiday is a holiday of four nights or more away from home; a short break is a holiday that involves one to three nights away from home.
- short-haul refers to air holidays within Europe, dominated by flights to Mediterranean resorts but including the Canary Islands, which are treated as a part of the Spanish market. Long-haul, therefore, refers to holidays outside Europe.
- an inclusive tour, or package holiday, is defined as the simultaneous sale of at least two elements of a holiday to the traveller: fares on public transport (eg flights) and commercial accommodation (eg hotel or self-catering apartment). Other elements, such as meals or excursions, are not essential to the definition of an inclusive tour. The term ‘all-inclusive’ is used to describe a special type of resort holiday in which food, drink, excursions and other services are provided as part of the total holiday cost.
- an independent holiday is one in which the traveller organises and books transport and accommodation from separate sources (eg a Channel ferry crossing and a caravan site in France).
- seat- or flight-only is a type of independent holiday, and the terms are used to denote holidays in which travellers only purchase a return fare and thereafter book their own accommodation, car hire etc.
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