Club says “we’ll benefit from ash cloud chaos” Caravanning News: “Club says “we’ll benefit from ash cloud chaos” May 10, 2010 By admin The Camping and Caravanning Club’s Director General Robert Louden believes that the widespread disruption caused by last month’s volcanic eruption will have a positive impact on business this summer. Despite the indifferent British weather since the turn of the year, advanced bookings on Club Sites for the Spring Bank Holiday weekend at the end of the month are already up seven per cent on the same period last year, whilst website bookings (www.campingandcaravanningclub.co.uk) are 23 per cent ahead of last year. These figures are supported by a recent study by online company Travelzoo, which found that 12 per cent of respondents are now more interested in a UK holiday. Louden said: “People look for certainty in uncertain times and last month’s volcanic ash crisis, coupled with the threat of further flight delays, has caused holidaymakers to reconsider their plans for this summer. “We have seen an increase in Club Site enquiries of late as both members and non-members revert to what they know and look forward to a stress free domestic holiday.” Meanwhile, The Club’s European and Worldwide Carefree Travel Service is also nine per cent ahead of where it was this time last year as more people opt for a caravan or motorhome touring holiday abroad, travelling via ferry or Eurotunnel.”
With the arrival of cheap flights, wet weekends in Cleethorpes were replaced by mini-breaks to Rome and while there were still a hardened few who refused to give up their home on wheels, many decided it simply wasn’t worth the hassle. Why spend a Friday night crawling along a B-road when you could hop on a plane and be in Paris for dinner.
Caravans became a second- class kind of holiday, but as with every good underdog, the fight- back has begun. Suddenly, it seems the idea of swapping a four-bedroomed house for a week in a tiny box where the kitchen doubles as a bedroom is back in vogue.
The signs that something was stirring in what marketing people like to call the roam-with-a-home sector were first spotted last year. When the credit crunch bit, many decided to cut back on foreign trips, and when the euro exchange rate fell, normally cheap breaks abroad didn’t seem quite such a bargain.
Holidays in the UK were rebranded as staycations and caravan and motorhome showrooms unexpectedly saw trade increase and the average age of buyers fall.
According to specialist insurer Safeguard, which has witnessed a 62 per cent increase in the number of quotes for caravan and motorhome cover being sought by 20 to 30-year-olds over the past year, caravanning has nudged its way in to the lucrative “glamorous camping” market.
“The younger generations are feeling the pinch from the economic downturn, and as a result they’re choosing to staycation,” say Rita Sadler, Safeguard manager. “With the return of the great British holiday, caravan sales have increased, with some showrooms reporting a 15 per cent rise in business. Young couples, and families, are helping to fuel the boom as they see it as a way of getting really good value for money.”
Those who have been quietly championing the humble caravan admit it has suffered from a bad image in the past.
However, there is a new determination to break out from under the awnings, the Caravan Club website has been revamped with images of nice middle-class families picnicking by their motorhome and membership and bookings are now at record levels.
“We launched a Discover Touring campaign to promote the benefits of holidaying by caravan or motorhome,” says the club’s director of marketing, Nick Lomas.
“Essentially, it’s about freedom and since its launch last year, more than 70,000 people have clicked on our website’s new-to-caravanning section.”
There are now more than half a million caravans and motorhomes in regular use in the UK, according to the National Caravan Council, and site bookings throughout the country this year are looking exceptionally buoyant.
Car drivers might bemoan the fact that the annual great caravan crawl is now well underway on Britain’s B-roads, but the ever-optimistic Caravan Club recommend the frustrated should consider the vast amount of cash generated by their owners.
“Our members alone spent more than £400m in the rural tourism economy in 2009 – and that’s without taking pitch fees into account,” adds Nick.
“Club sites in the UK will also get £12.7m spent on them in 2010, and there are also plans to acquire more sites to meet demand.”
Research also shows that while the age of the average caravanner is 53, it’s dropping fast and with the likes of former Formula One racing driver Mark Blundell – a youthful 44 – coming out as a tourer, the embarrassment factor is fading.
“Holidaymakers are now far more budget-conscious following the downturn,” says Rita. “It isn’t hard to understand why more and more younger drivers want to avoid costly package holidays, long queues at the airport, and cancelled flights.”
And with the Icelandic volcano still casting a dark shadow over air travel, the age of the caravan looks like it just might dawn.
Well we have reached 2010 without to much hassle, despite the white stuff.
This is not all good news though as it brings us a little closer to the digital switch-over. I know this is one f my favourite subjects but I bet you a hundred pounds that some people will be sitting in the van thinking, “I wish I had listened to the digital adverts on the TV”.
This brings me to the subject of what to do next.
The choice is easy to be honest and wont even break the bank.
You have to decide if you intent to go to digital via antenna or by satellite.Digital By Antenna
This is the easy option but may not be the best way to go forward at the moment due to the lack of service in some areas. That said you can still go on with this option as long as you have your backup standard TV with you.
The main problem is that most of the digital antennas on the market are retro fit antennas and need to be mounted externally to your vehicle.
You are going to need a suitable antenna mount such as a telescopic pole or clamp. You will also need a digital signal finder to locate the strongest signal.
If you wish to make a decent job of your installation I would also recommend a cable entry cover to keep thing neat.
The plus side to this is that the complete setup should not set you back more than £60.00.Digital Satellite Dish
This option does give you the advantage of being able to take your SKY box with you and lets you watch all your non subscription channels in the caravan, motorhome or in the narrowboat.
If I have to choose and option, this would be the one for me.
To receive television via satellite is as easy as the antenna option and its ready now.
The equipment is similar to the antenna option but uses a dish to receive the signal instead of the antenna. This dish option has no need for the telescopic mounting pole as the dish can be mounted on a flat surface like a roof or table.
The setup is quite easy once you get the hang of it and takes no more time to setup either.
The Multimo satellite dish is available in kit form with everything you need but the antenna system needs to be purchased separately.
Get in the car and put a small mark or piece of tape on the lower rear window to show the position of your hitch.Now hitch your caravan to your vehicle and make two small marks on the window of your caravan so that they line up.Now all you have to do is to line up the marks when reversing and you should be able to line up the caravan with ease.
Line up your vehicle every time