With only 24 hours until we officially open all of the WDLH parks for the season we held the pre-season meeting yesterday for both new and existing team members. It was great to be able to update them on some of the main pieces of work we have all been carrying out since our last team meeting in October.
Today we welcome a crane to Golden Cap to pitch the 4th and final lodge of the 2016/17 winter works and I look forward to getting in them all next week or the week after once siting is complete.
Across the parks this week is a hive of activity with tidying, taking down gates and turning the services back on to pitches and buildings.
I expect many of you have enjoyed the first episode of the final series of Broadchurch last night, those of you that don’t know this is based on the harbour that Highlands End overlooks called West Bay. I am pleased we are working with both Visit Dorset and Dorset Tea to run competitions while the series airs to win a holiday with WDLH. Follow the links below to enter.
In Martin’s Bar & Restaurant at Highlands End Holiday Park, we are making progress and I have been asked to be careful what I release on the blog as to not give too much away until we start to open the building again. What I can say is we have finally chosen the lights, a lovely wood burner for the conservatory and we had a fantastic tasting of potential dishes last night from the chefs.
The Cowshed Coffee Shop is becoming more and more popular for food and drink while Martin’s Bar & Restaurant is shut and we are all wondering what our Holiday Home owners will think of the stunning view while enjoying a glass of Palmers Beer from Wednesday night onwards when they return.
Enjoy your pancakes tonight, i’m looking forward to my Lemon and Sugar!
It’s been another busy week our Dorset holiday parks. February half term has been our busiest yet since we started opening earlier 3 years ago. The sunny days have helped and James had to make a decision to open 19 gravel pitches on top of the 37 Hard Standings we already had open, which were full at the weekend. These will now stay open for the season and will be joined by the remainder of the pitches during March. We are on target for the 1st of March opening and the pre-season meeting is just being confirmed for both existing and new team members, who all start in the next week or so.
An update on Martin’s Bar & Restaurant
The kitchen extension is now up to roof height and the wooden trusses started to go up this morning which is exciting and also shows we are on target. Inside all the walls have been plastered and we are pleased it is now starting to be put back together after 5 weeks of destruction. We hope you enjoyed Valentine’s day. Sadly we couldn’t do a traditional meal in the bar this year but next year I think we could start offering romantic breaks during February with a package price for a meal, bubbles and a lodge / pitch for a short break.
We had fun making a short video made from stills of the Portland Lodge for sale at Golden Cap Holiday Park last week. It is our idea to use images to make videos of all the Lodge and Caravan Holiday Homes we have for sale over the next few months, particularly if we cannot use a manufacturers video to show off the caravan or lodge. The team are identifying our customers’ needs as much as possible and I am pleased we are providing as much information, video and images as possible on the website and printed to our prospective purchasers.
In Martin’s Bar this week we have completed (we think) the plans for all the changes and the building team have enjoyed working with a family most of the time as we ducked and dived and made changes. Who would of thought how much work is involved to choose where to put TV’s, speakers, CCTV and Electric sockets not to mention the main bits and pieces. Taking weekly pictures is becoming hard, as unless you are here the changes look minimal but believe me there is a lot so this week so no pictures – sorry.
What I can tell you is that we have chosen the light fittings, the furniture and the layout of the bar is completed. Talking about the bar, Sally and Zoe have really enjoyed attending trade shows, who wouldn’t when you can try Cider, Wine and Beer. I am looking forward to their suggested stock but we need to keep the old favourites. I can release you can expect to see a range of 20 bottles of Red, White, Rose and Sparkling wines all being supplied by Palmers Brewery in Bridport.
Being Creative is something we have enjoyed doing over the last 6 months and last week James from Marketing saw some of his hard work implemented. Working with the Jurassic Coast Team we have produced this amazing map to go in the Cowshed at Highlands and TIC at Golden Cap.
Golden Cap’s Seatown Stores has seen a complete transformation as has the Gents in Block 2 at Highlands End and the washing up sinks at Graston Copse. The team at Creative Solutions have been excellent and worked well with us to come up with some ideas. We have now asked them to a couple of jobs in Martin’s Bar which we will keep secret for now!
This week we have chosen to concentrate on how changing our offering and experience as a family business is important to keep up with our customers expectations and a changing tourism market.
Last Friday, I was pleased to serve the last drink over our bar after serving the first in 1985. This brings to an end the 32 years of Martin’s Bar and Restaurant as we know it and the contractors have already started stripping the ‘old’ bar out. We are keeping the wooden top although we don’t have a use for it as yet… ideas are welcome!
Our siting team have been busy with the caravans I mentioned last week. Many are now sited, including these two stunning ABI Amblesides which will be handed over to their new owners in March.
C G Fry, our building contractor, is getting on well in Martin’s Bar and Restaurant and I am sure over the next 4 weeks we will see some dramatic changes as a section of the roof is taken off the existing building and our new conservatory is built. This image shows the main area of the Restaurant, which is being prepared for refurbishment.
At Golden Cap we are in the middle of a toilet block rebuild for the Big Berries Camping Field and this week we took delivery of the roof trusses which are now being installed.
Many of you know we are proud of our branding and the changes we have seen over the last 2 years with the websites, logo, park signs and uniform. This is continuing to drive forward with the last of the old signage being renewed for the 2017 season. We are fond of the West Dorset Leisure Holidays logo, which has become well known both locally and nationally by our returning guests.
This week we present our logo for the Jurassic Retreat Development at Larkfield Holiday Park. Keeping in with the name we have chosen an ammonite for its identity and the new website should be launched shortly. The team are busy finishing the road and the first 2 Lodges are arriving in April.
It amazes me how much the team accomplish in what now seems a very short winter. I was reminded of this this morning when we welcomed back our first Touring and Motorhome customers for the new season.
I think 2017 is going to be both interesting and fun while we see everything come together.