What a year it has been…just over 12 months ago the UK entered the first national lockdown and very few in the world would have predicted quite what an impact that the COVID-19 pandemic would have on everyone. Many have lost relatives or loved ones to this awful virus and countless others have been affected emotionally or financially, it hasn’t been easy and my sincere condolences to those of you who have suffered.
The holiday park and leisure industries have been impacted badly. Having to close, re-open and then close again put tremendous strain on many of our partners. Over a year on, as the UK’s vaccination programme continues to progress well and we edge nearer to lockdown restrictions lifting, and holiday parks re-opening on 12th April, I am optimistic and excited about what the rest of the year has in stall for our industry.
The last year has really tested everyone. We’ve all had to find new ways of working and new routines to try to continue being successful.
I, like many others, have had to learn new skills, adapt my management styles and really show resilience during this past year. Guiding our business through the numerous national lockdowns has truly been the most challenging time of my career. It is not something I could have got through without the support of my team, friends inside and outside the industry and my family.
We are not totally out of the woods, but there are certainly green shoots showing for our industry, as we edge towards the end of this lockdown.
At Vinyl Solutions, like many other businesses around the UK, we used the government furlough scheme to have our team available on a flexible basis based on business demand.
“This has been a very challenging time for our teams, but they are all itching to get back to doing what they do best – supporting our partners and customers on a full time basis again.”
I have been very impressed with the whole team’s unstinting patience, flexibility and professionalism during this time. They have been very understanding of the challenges facing our industry and I would like to thank each one of them for their loyalty and commitment.
Although the industry has been quiet due to the various lockdowns, we have not been resting on our laurels and have continued to look at ways we can improve as a business and the services we provide.
Providing the best customer service to all of our customers has always been key to us. This is why we are excited to have recruited a full time Customer Experience Executive who will be joining us later this month – I will give you more information about this very soon.
In addition we have been re-evaluating our quoting and drawing processes very closely over the past few months. Providing accurate and timely drawings and quotations is key for our partners, and I am very pleased to announce we will be introducing a new system which will enable us to provide this in a much more streamlined way.
Finally, we will also be launching a new e-shop on our website; where customers will be able to purchase a range of Vinyl Solutions products, such as replacement lights, post and end caps and decking cleaning products.
The holiday parks are all re-opening on 12th April and with uncertainty over foreign holidays we all anticipate this summer will be one of the busiest ever for our industry.
Things have slowly started to come back to life as holiday parks gear up to welcome guests.
“We are excited for our park partners to be able to open again and we’ll be doing as much as we can to help where we can to support them and their customers with their decking requirements.”
We believe that many people will look to holiday in the UK for years to come and I am excited about what this will mean to the UK holiday park industry.
All of our industry customers, suppliers and partners have continued to be very flexible, considerate and understanding of the situation in the industry – so thank you to all of them.
I also want to give a special thanks to the team at the British Holiday & Home Parks Association (BHHPA) who have been brilliant acting on behalf of the industry throughout the pandemic. Their lobbying on key issues and providing valuable information that businesses have desperately needed has been critical.
Please take care everyone, we are nearly there now (hopefully!) and let’s make sure the future is a brighter one!
By Ben Hart, Managing Director