Can you give us an update on Bourne Leisure and its three brands?
2017 has been another excellent year for Bourne Leisure. Bookings are strong, our relationships and investments within the travel trade continue to grow and our brands continue to invest in the products to ensure we remain a strong contender within the domestic market.
Butlin’s and Haven have invested in their entertainment programmes for 2017, extending their offering to provide guests with even more choice.
Butlin’s has been dedicated to offering top quality entertainment for all the family for over 80 years, and this philosophy saw 2017 become the launchpad for its biggest and best line up to date! Newbie entertainers Justin Fletcher, Sam and Mark, Paul Zerdin and the Teletubbies have joined Butlin’s favourites Diversity and Stephen Mulhern across all three resorts and they are proving to be hugely popular.
Haven has opted for a brand new theatre style entertainment repertoire, which is currently going down a storm at five of its holiday parks. The Theatre Company cast has been handpicked and performers come from professional backgrounds at some of London’s best theatre schools. All shows are exclusive to Haven and incorporate impressive screen technology to bring them to life. Guests across these parks will also experience pop up street entertainment as they explore.
Haven has also improved facilities across its parks with new Nature Rockz activities, extended aerial adventure and Segway activities and improvements being made to pools and restaurants nationwide, to name but a few.
Finally, Warner Leisure Hotels has invested millions of pounds in its property portfolio to improve both the facilities on offer and the overall guest experience. Properties such as Nidd Hall, Lakeside, Gunton and Corton have all seen renovations with new rooms added and improvements made to bars and live lounges. Warner Leisure Hotels has also launched the MyWarnerTable.co.uk concept to improve guest experience during the evening. This online concept allows guests to select a preferred zone of the late lounge prior to arrival. They will be allocated a table within that zone for their entire stay meaning that there is no longer a need to rush dinner to get a good view of the evening entertainment.
What trends are you seeing currently within the domestic holiday market?
The summer has very much seen a late booking trend. We kick started the summer months with a snap general election, which always impacts holiday decision making, and coupled with the erratic weather, the market took some time to recover.
We have continued to see a very last minute booking trend with, in lots of cases, people calling on a Friday morning to book and travel the very same day. This has been driven by the weather in many cases with people deciding to take a plunge and head off for the weekend when the sun is shining.
The final quarter of the year looks extremely promising and October half term looks likely to provide the perfect opportunity for us to host guests that perhaps postponed a summer break. Likewise, advance sales for 2018 are extremely strong across all three brands so with some fantastic deals in market at the moment, agents can capitalise on this opportunity and pass on great savings to their clients when they advise on and secure early 2018 bookings across the Butlin’s, Haven and Warner Leisure Hotels portfolios.”
How do you support the trade?
Our commitment to the UK travel trade is a strong driving force for us. We continue to strive for excellence in everything we do because of our relationships with travel agents. We want them armed with everything they need to sell our products and that is the reason we aim to go above and beyond.
We launch a refreshed and revamped interactive online training course every year, which focuses on the brand new developments for each brand. Agents can become experts following completion of each dedicated training course. This year ‘Train with Brainz’ offers individual courses for Butlin’s, Haven and Warner Leisure Hotels; ensuring agents are completely up to date with the latest developments. On successful completion of each training course agents will receive fabulous benefits including:
We are also regularly rewarding our agent friends in other ways. This year agents have the opportunity to win with our ‘Agency of the Month’ initiative, which recognises the continued dedication and support of the UK travel trade. We offer a monthly award to agents we feel are going that extra mile for the Bourne Leisure brands. The award focuses on differing topics each month, for example, the highest monthly sales, most pro-active social media usage or best window display etc.
This month we have also welcomed a brand new look and feel website dedicated to the education and support of travel agents. Following an extensive due diligence process, a more sophisticated site architecture has been built to allow agents to browse content quickly, without having to navigate away from previous pages. Essential information has been prioritised through the homepage carousal to communicate multiple messages to agents and emphasise timely promotions, great incentives, educationals and much more.
Agents want relevant content at their fingertips and these new development find that balance and offer a more streamlined user journey. A central component of our new website is the new agent log in box, which provides new agents the ability to register and gain access to the site with ease. The improved functionality of the website also clearly highlights Bourne Leisure selling tools including personalised posters, free online training and an interactive map featuring all of Butlin’s, Haven’s and Warner Leisure Hotel’s 52 properties – for agents to show customers as a helpful guide.
Agents really can use the site as a one stop resource centre so we encourage them to log on and check it out.
I would also strongly advise agents to follow us on social media as we regularly offer spot prizes and highlight the latest offers, training opportunities, incentives and educational opportunities. Visit us at Brainz Agent Hub on Facebook for all the latest happenings.
What’s coming for Butlin’s Haven and Warner Leisure Hotels in 2018?
We have lots of exciting developments coming for all three brands towards the end of this year and into 2018.
Currently Warner Leisure Hotels is focused on pricing and offering the very best deal so 2017 will see fantastic savings that agents can pass onto their clients. Warner will also launch an incentive towards the end of the year, which will offer excellent earning potential so agents should keep their eyes peeled for the launch!
We also have our brochure collateral launching shortly and the autumn will see us produce a preview brochure, a festive brochure and of course the main 2018 brochure before the year is out.
Haven is also working towards its 2018 brochure, which will be bigger than ever this year. I can’t say too much but Haven will have some big news towards the end of 2017 with agent campaigns that are set to welcome a fresh new chapter for the family brand.
Finally Butlin’s will continue to develop its product to offer standout within the family market. Watch this space and we’ll have more info in 2018!
From a Bourne Leisure perspective, we have exciting developments coming to life online with a brand new website and new training programme launching shortly. We also want to interact with the trade event more and as a team we’re discussing ways in which we do that – I’d advise everyone to look out for additional giveaways and spot prizes online.