Tourism & Leisure Team support leading National Conference for the Holiday Park and Caravan Industry
Sarah Kemp and Oliver Tasker, solicitors from Wilkin Chapman’s Tourism & Leisure sector team, attended the British Holiday and Homes Park Association's (BH&HPA) annual conference in London from 21 to 23 January 2020.
As solicitors to the caravan and holiday park industry, Wilkin Chapman have supported the BH&HPA as National Associate Members for several years.
Sarah Kemp, a Corporate Commercial solicitor at the Beverley office, is also a director of the BH&HPA and chairman of its Yorkshire Coast branch:
“We are constantly looking to the future for our clients and much was learnt about the current concerns for the industry, the possible effects of Brexit, and how to prepare our businesses for the short and long term future. We were proud to support the caravan and holiday park industry again at this year's conference and would like to thank the BH&HPA for organising such a beneficial and worthwhile event.”
The main speakers at the conference included BH&HPA National Chairman Andrew Baragwanath, Director General Ros Pritchard, Secretary of State for Wales The Rt Hon Simon Hart MP, and former SAS soldier Ant Middleton.
“The continuing message of the conference and the association as a whole was clear. Lobbying in your constituency is key. It is vitally important for MPs to understand what your business means to the local area. Hoping the industry will be left alone is not going to work. Politicians are likely to make the wrong decisions if they do not know what the industry wants, the lobbying must come from us on the ground.”
Key developments to note:
- Political engagement is essential especially in these uncertain times - no one can predict how the outcome of Brexit and the removal of the UK from the EU will eventually affect the industry. However, the overall consensus was that the caravan and holiday park industry would be one of the sectors to see a positive outcome and potentially benefit from Brexit – what with the rise of staycations and more people choosing to holiday at home the sector has seen a boom in sales since the Referendum.
- There were however concerns over the need for EU workers in the caravan industry and how Brexit may affect employment in the sector.
- Park owners also compared the introduction of electric cars to the launch of broadband and WiFi in the 2000s, and whether the transition to ‘go green’ will leave rural infrastructure behind and smaller parks in remote areas struggling to compete.
- Since the introduction of the Consumer Rights Act in late 2015, there has been an increase in the number of parks dealing with customer complaints - our advice is to make sure that you manage the customer's expectations and do not make promises that you cannot keep. Carrying out PDI checks and making sure the product is right before it is handed over to the customer will reduce the risk of a complaint being brought from day one. Also ensuring that your sales staff are well trained and providing to the customer the correct specifications for not only the caravan but also the pitch it will be sited on, so as not to result in unwelcome surprises for the customer on handover.
- Planning for the future is vital, not only in terms of succession but also in order to protect and maintain the value of your park business for you now and for the long term.
With offices based in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, Wilkin Chapman has a wealth of experience advising the caravan industry and owners of holiday parks. We can help if you are planning to buy or sell a holiday park, advising on all elements of the sale and purchase including the property aspects, employment issues, licencing and contracts, and the transfer of the business. In addition we can assist you with an audit review of your existing contractual documentation, and advise on disputes between park owners and pitch holders, helping you to remove troublesome customers from your park.
Please contact Sarah Kemp on 01482 398386 for more details.