On the road to well
Post by Graeme Hamilton - Leisure Specialist at JLU.
If the number of caravans on the road is anything to go by then it probably hasn’t escaped your attention that caravan and camping sites are open again. They were allowed to re-open from the 4th of July so last week was the first week of what will be a shorter 2020 season.
As Jackson Lee’s leisure insurance specialist I was keen to see how the caravan industry had adapted to the new covid-19 landscape so being a keen camper I booked the family Hamilton on to a mid-sized site near Slimbridge in Gloucestershire.
Was I nervous, a little bit, as an older male with asthma I ticked a few covid boxes but you can’t stand still in this world so we packed our kit and we were off, arriving on site early on Friday evening to start making the most of the improving weather.
First impressions? Honestly it looked like nothing had changed since our last visit. The site is very well maintained with large pitches for caravans, motorhomes and campers which already automatically lend themselves to social distancing.
On closer inspection however it was clear that the site owners were following the guidelines that had been set and were taking cleanliness and distancing very seriously. There were hand sanitiser stations at the entrances to all the communal areas including site reception, shower and toilet blocks, washing up facilities, chemical disposal points and even by the security gate which you had to use to enter and leave the site. Inside some features such as sinks were taped off to reduce by 50% the number of guests who could use them.
It was the same at the pub at the entrance to the site where only 50% of the tables were in use and you had to wait to be seated by serving staff wearing PPE. It seemed eminently more civilised in my view (PPE aside) but then again I have always been a fan of the continental table service system.
So what was the effect of the above on numbers and moral on site? Well none that I could see. By midday on Saturday there was a sign up saying the site was full but there seemed to be ample space for all. The communal facilities seemed less crowded and everyone was extremely respectful of other people’s space. A great time was had by all. The weather even played its part too.
Judging by the 100% occupancy caravanners and campers are clearly going to embrace what it left of the season which is great for an industry that was fearing the worst. This is good news for insurance brokers too as caravan insurance is still a fairly niche product and can provide a great new income stream.