Dorset Knob Throwing a hit for the Bank Holiday
Well after a colder than usual April and a busy first May bank holiday I was pleased to see many local events had a successful weekend and our visitors enjoyed visiting them. In particular The Dorset Knob throwing contest was enjoyed by visitor’s across the WDLH parks and I was pleased to see the event made the BBC news website which is great for Dorset. See below if you have not read about it already. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-dorset-36153406
Looking forward May and June are always great months for events going on in Dorset and this list may just twist your arm to visiting us
I hope you have enjoyed the Bank Holiday weekend and for those of you that have stayed with us have a safe trip home
A new environmental milestone!
At Highlands End we continue to strive to be as green as possible and this includes:
Creating natural havens for wildlife
Extensive tree and hedgerow planting
Install homemade bird and owl boxes
4 separate buildings with Solar Panels
2 buildings with Waterless Urinals
Harvest rainwater to water our plants
Use local suppliers to reduce travel
Promote public transport
A polytunnel to grow all our own plants during the low season
A milestone has been met during April 2016
Our 96 panel Solar Photovoltaic system was installed on the Leisure Club roof in October 2011 and has just reached over 100,000 kilowatt hours saved in less than 5 years and a saving to the environment of over 50,000 kilograms of CO2! We’re proud of the team’s effort in ‘going green’ and is another achievement that contributes towards all 5 of our Parks hopefully achieving David Bellamy Conservation Gold Awards once again in 2016!
A new first for WDLH!
We couldn’t resist getting out with the drone today and got this fabulous shot of the Dorset Coastline and for the first time ever Highlands and Golden Cap in the same image. We are so lucky to have parks in the locations we do and I am pleased to show these two off today.
Now that the busy Easter weekend has come and gone the teams are working particularly hard to get the parks up to the high standard we aim for. We still do have some winter work to complete and a few jobs still to do but the early Easter has put some of these on hold and we hope to start them again next Monday. Golden Cap is continuing to see investment from the family and the new Lodges are available to hire in April, the roads and parking bays in the owners section of the park will be continued next month and the refurbished Toilet Block is now open for the 2016 season. I am also pleased the sales team have chosen a lodge to be sold at Golden Cap called Portland and this is arriving in late June.
The parks are continuing to develop and the positive changes we are seeing are being noticed by our customers in our feedback. If you’re looking to come away in April be it in a Lodge, Caravan or Touring then our two coastal parks offer you different options and our team are always happy to help. If you are a returning customer we would love some feedback on our changes and also please say ‘Hello’ to our new team members.
Visit the website
Night Warden joins WDLH
As we continue to change at WDLH and wish to meet our customer expectations and requirements we are pleased to introduce a new role to the parks. Not only do we now have wardens, receptions open until 9pm on Highlands and Golden Cap and a friendly team working shifts to cover most hours of the day, we now have a Night Warden.
Bob has been undergoing training for the last few weeks and now works 4 nights a week carrying out routines, procedures and Health & Safety checks as well as attending any emergencies and cleaning the toilet blocks. If you see Bob or any of our wardens working in the evenings please say hello and we hope this service increases the WDLH offering.
The sun has got his hat on!
After greeting the first unnamed storm of the year last Wednesday we were pleased to see the sun had his hat on over the weekend. The Gravel pitches opened on Friday and Highlands End welcomed over 50 Tourers and Motorhomes for the busiest weekend of the year so far! To make a booking visit the website
As you can see we also welcomed Mazda UK back for the second time, the all new CX3 is doing the a tour around the country exploring the best roads and the Jurassic Coast road between Bridport and Portland was picked as one. For more info follow them on Facebook.
We welcomed the request to picture the car at the end of the park and I think you would agree it is a stunning car with a stunning back drop of the West Dorset Coastline.
Our team have taken the opportunity of a forecasted dry week to get the grass seed in after the winter developments. We built our own machine last week on a rainy day to break the soil up and I hear it is working well. Fingers crossed with a bit of a sun dance and some wetter nights when we are all asleep the seed should shoot and the pitches will open in late April, early May.
This weekend sees all the other Touring areas open on Sandyholme and Golden Cap, a sign that 2016 is really here!
Martin’s Bar Menu 2016
Martin’s Bar and Restaurant is open for 2016!
Open daily for evening meals and breakfast Friday to Sunday with lunch served on Saturdays and Sundays
We are also showing live sports, we welcome dogs and have pool tables and a children’s play park
Check out the 2016 Main Menu and Pizza Menu and find out more about private functions
Holiday Home Owners return!
Today we welcome back our Caravan and Lodge Holiday Home Owners for the 2016 season. This is our first year of opening on 1st March and the feeling of the park has really changed, particularly as Tourers have been here for nearly a month.
The teams have worked hard to get the parks ready to open and although we will still have some work to complete over the coming months it has been a good transition to the new opening timetable. It has been a learning curve for all of us as year one of any change always brings its challenges. I remember the changes we had to make when the season was extended to the end of October and I am seeing the same happening as the business goes from a 7.5 month season to a 9 month one.
All being said we have had some very positive feedback and with the bookings for March and the number of owners coming down, it looks like we are in for a busy month.
The Holiday Home Sales team spent last week at the NEC in Birmingham at the Motorhome and Caravan Show 2016. It was good to see some of our existing owners at the show and hopefully we have met some potential new owners who will be visiting the parks over the coming weeks. We have taken delivery of our last two Demos’ this week which are available to view here.
We are welcoming new team members this week, which we shall update you on shortly.
WDLH Branding and Marketing on the up
With under 2 weeks until the Parks open, we have been finalising our marketing for 2016. I must say the last 18 months have been an interesting time and marketing has been changing rapidly at WDLH due to a 3 year plan to change our branding. Our teams have really come together with ideas and comments on all aspects of the work being carried out mainly by our Marketing Assistant James, who has now been with us for 18 months.
Before James joined us and being a small family business, we used to do marketing on an ad hoc basis, as and when we had time or felt it was needed. James spent the first 6 months of his time with us undertaking a study of our internal and external marketing as well as the industry as a whole and we quickly realised an opportunity and James was offered a full-time position.
I never thought I would see the day where nearly 90% of marketing was online, now including our price list and booking options…paper has nearly gone. I decided to write this blog today, not just to show you our changes and what we have been up to, but I was reminded of the increase in digital marketing over the weekend when I read that the Independant newspaper would withdraw its paper circulation and become the first online-only national newspaper come March.
So what have we done to develop the WDLH brand? To name just a few:
We refreshed our logos at the end of 2015 that continue to be rolled out across our brochures, posters, signage, uniform and more
We have created our first holiday brochure for many years, giving a great overview of everything we’re about and everything we offer. Please pick one up from a park reception or follow this link to view: WDLH 2016 Main Brochure
Martin’s Bar & Restaurant has its own webpage and for the first time the menu is available to view online – Visit the Martin’s Bar & Restaurant page
We have new welcome brochures for each of the parks that will be handed out to visitors as they arrive at the parks, detailing park information as well as our recommendations on things to do locally for a great holiday
We will soon have a brand new Holiday Home Sales brochure – keep an eye out for this! In the meantime, click to view the list of Holiday Homes we currently have for sale
We have been making changes to our websites to make them more user-friendly and interactive with more image and video content – visit the website to see the changes
We are currently working on new park entrance signs and you will see signs around the parks gradually being updated and refreshed
We are developing emails that automatically send to our visitors to tell them all the great things they can do when they arrive on their holiday
We are reviewing the online booking process to make this as streamlined as possible
We have created a Virtual Tour of Highlands End Holiday Park, which can be viewed here
Lastly, our ever changing social media outlets are being worked on constantly with enquiries through Facebook and Twitter on the rise. We are pleased to have reached 21,000 likes on Facebook and 6,000 followers on Twitter as we think it is a great way to keep in touch with our guests and for them to get updates and a ‘daily dose’ of Dorset until their next visit.
I wonder what’s next…
From 33 to 51
I am pleased to see the conclusion of our first project this winter carried out by an external contractor. This involved the transformation from Grass pitches to Gravel pitches at Highlands End. In 2016 this will mean an increase from 33 to 51 gravel pitches, which is exciting because last year they proved to be our most popular pitches for Touring and Motorhome visitors. The team just need to wait for the weather to get a bit warmer to get the grass seed down and complete the landscaping.
I visited Golden Cap this morning to see how the team are getting on in the toilet block. The transformation is very pleasing and I am sure both our returning customers and our new customers will find the new look very welcoming. January is always a busy time on the parks as we finish off work started before the Christmas break. I am sure that our touring customers will be very impressed with the upgrade of the toilet and shower facilities.
This week we have seen the arrival of our new hire fleet, the siting team have been busy changing them over which is also means we have some pre-owned stock up for sale now at Graston Copse Holiday Park. Tomorrow brings another visit to Golden Cap as our next project starts upgrading the roads in Alberlon and adding parking spaces for the owners Caravans.
Next week we are attending the annual BH&HPA conference in London. It is always great to hear what our colleagues in the industry are up and to exchange ideas and experiences. We will also have an opportunity to meet many of our suppliers
Yesterday we welcomed the first lamb of 2016 to WDLH. Hopefully the first of many!
A seal in Seatown!
Brian the seal
At WDLH we love welcoming everyone to West Dorset, as a family business we thrive on making memories for families and their pets. Normally this involves a pet dog and I am sure you will join me in astonishment when the Anchor at Seatown shared an image on Facebook of a seal they named ‘Brian’ relaxing at Seatown. It seems our most recent visitor had a rest and has gone back out to sea, let’s hope he returns when the parks open on 1st March.
New caravan holiday home bases at Golden Cap
It has been a busy day at Golden Cap with a line of lorries queuing up to deliver concrete to the next 6 caravan Holiday Home bases. We are struggling with the weather but I am pleased the team are working well together to overcome issues. Next week we will be starting roadways and parking bays.