Top 5 frustrations of UK holiday park guests (and how to fix them)

Despite international travel opening up again, the lure of a traditional British break remains strong, with 76% of holiday park visitors planning to visit a holiday park in the next 12 months, according to our latest research in partnership with CGA.

We surveyed 3,000 holiday park guests in September 2021 and found that, while there’s a desire and intention to book their next holiday park trip, there are five main frustrations that may well prevent them from doing so. Our research also identified the ways operators can address these issues, and in doing so, appeal to holidaymakers, create better experiences, improve efficiencies and grow business revenues.

Frustration 1: Where’s the technology?

It is perhaps unsurprising that, for consumers now used to using technology in pubs, bars, restaurants and hotels, the same is expected of their chosen holiday park.

In fact, the majority (67%) of visitors strongly agree or agree, that it is as important to have these technology solutions inside a holiday park as it is in the outside world and a similar number (64%) strongly agree or agree, that the availability of technology solutions improves the quality of their stay in a holiday park. However, less than half the of holidaymakers surveyed said they had tech-based services available on their most recent visit to a holiday park and, of the 42% that did (namely online or app-based table booking), nearly a quarter (23%) rated their experience using it as poor or average.

This may seem like sobering reading, but the reality is that this presents a clear opportunity for any holiday park operator willing to invest in their on-site tech systems. Making sure consumer-facing tech such as online booking, order and pay, and click and collect are available, friction-free and easy to use, will easily give a park and its facilities the edge in what is becoming an ever-more competitive market.

Frustration 2: Poor WiFi

This neatly brings us onto the next big frustration – for there is no point in offering great tech solutions if the WiFi leaves guests and staff unable to access it. Guests agree, with 71% saying that having great WiFi accessibility is essential to their visit but just 53% highly rating the WiFi connectivity and strength (that is giving it a four or five, out of top score of five) at their last holiday park stay.

The ease by which guests can set up online accounts was another area in which holiday parks are under-indexing, with just 52% highly rating this. As this will likely be the very first experience of a park’s tech capabilities, it is crucial operators look at getting this right. A frictionless, simple interaction here will not only set the tone but determine whether or not, or how much, a guest utilises the technology on offer for the rest of their break.

Frustration 3: Lack of personalisation

The good news is that customer service in holiday parks is very highly rated by respondents, with 65% of them saying that they received high-quality service during their stay. The opportunity here is for operators to improve this even further by offering a more personalised experience. Currently just half of holiday park guests say they receive personalised service from staff and a mere 43% agree the technology was personalised.

This concept of a personalised experience is becoming more common across not just hospitality, but retail as well, and consumers are coming to expect at least a degree of bespoke service wherever they spend their money. Operators can address this issue by utilising data collected at booking or at on-site facilities. For example, operators can create targeted offers and experiences on site that speak to customer preferences –  kids eat free before 5pm for a family, or give staff the information that allows them to greet customers by name, for instance. Such insight can also be used to inform targeted marketing campaigns pre- and post-visit that entice guests back and encourage pre-booking and up-selling.

Frustration 4: Speed of service

Eating and drinking are a vital part of any holiday and what’s on offer is an important part of the decision-making process when it comes to choosing a holiday park – interesting to note this the same for residents and non-residents alike. Exactly half of holiday makers and 45% of residents said a wide range was important.

When it comes to using the experience of F&B offers onsite however, there are some worrying trends. Only half of guests said speed of service met their expectations and 12% went as far as rating it below standard. Interestingly, the experience at dinner was rated higher than that of lunch or breakfast (59% versus 47% and 43% respectively).

Back-of-house technology can help improve this. Integrating booking, EPoS and kitchen management systems, for example, ensures speedier service for customers and frees-up staff to concentrate more on great customer service, as time consuming tasks are streamlined (such as taking an order at the table and then inputting it into the system). Even a simple integration of payment and PoS will make a significant difference, by enabling servers to complete transactions at tables without returning to the POS terminal.

Frustration 5: More perks please

Loyalty schemes and initiatives can be a powerful tool for operators looking to drive F&B sales, yet they are currently under-utilised in the holiday park sector. Just 16% of holidaymakers are signed up for one (although this does rise to 51% when it comes to residents) yet nearly half (45%) say they would be interested in one if offered.

For their part, 61% of residents say they would be encouraged to use onsite facilities more frequently if they had access to exclusive discounts for food and drink and 53% would be encouraged to used on-site facilities if they had access to exclusive events or services. In the drive to boost margins, then, a loyalty scheme can be a powerful tool – and it will also harvest data that can be used to improve experiences and inform those aforementioned personalised experiences to boot.

In conclusion…

By looking at these findings, a clear pattern is emerging. On one side, guests who want a more connected and friction-free journey and tech that improves their holiday experience and on the other, holiday parks, for whom leveraging this technology will prove a huge opportunity.

See the whole picture, join the whole experience

Zonal’s connected suite of hospitality solutions can help holiday park operators to optimise the guest experience and maximise revenues, while minimising costs and admin. These solutions include EPoS, table reservation systems, mobile Order & Pay at table, click and collect and more.

Visit our dedicated sector page to discover more.

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