A premier Yorkshire leisure park is celebrating its 35th anniversary by pioneering the way forward in engaging with its customers and local community.
Multi award-winning Patrington Haven Leisure Park was founded by Graham Sparkes in 1984 on a disused RAF base near the East Yorkshire coast, after he sold his caravan-building business.
It is now run by Graham’s son, Guy Sparkes, his wife Karen and their extended family, who have grown the team from 35 employees five years ago to more than 70 today.
With a growth in turnover from £2.7m in 2014 to £5.6m last year, the owners-only park close to the East Yorkshire coast is forecasting £6m in revenue for 2019.
The leisure park is benefitting from the staycations boom and is experiencing its highest ever occupancy rates, with just 15 of 485 plots currently free.
After investing £5.5m in the leisure park’s Country Club and infrastructure over the past five years, the business is continuing to push forward with new services for its owners and visitors and to reach out to the local community.
Significant investments have been made in Guy’s Café Bar and Restaurant and the business has launched The Spa at the Country Club, providing luxury health and beauty treatments to caravan owners and the local community, with staff trained by Elemis in London.
A takeaway delivery service offering food from the park’s restaurant menu has also been set up to operate within a seven-mile radius, delivering to caravans on site and local homes, with orders taken via the Just Eat service.
Meanwhile, an innovative, free mobile phone app has been launched to communicate with people on and off the park, with options for them to choose the news and notifications they receive, and a new website is due to launch this summer.
Managing Director Guy Sparkes firmly believes the park’s committed team and loyal customers are the foundations of its success.
He said: “We’ve seen a really strong five-year growth period and I put that down to belief, supporting the team and allowing them to be in charge of their own destinies.
“A leisure park is only as good as its owners and its guests and we have some of the best. Our main aim is for all our customers to be proud of our team and our team to be proud of our customers.
“I can’t say it’s like coming to work here. It has various pressures, but at the same time, you’re coming in to collaborate with people who believe in the same things. When you have shared beliefs, you can achieve anything.”
The park has been awarded the Remarkable Holiday Park/Holiday Village Award in the Remarkable East Yorkshire Tourism Awards (REYTAs) for the past three years, racking up the latest win in March. It also received the Visit England Gold Award for exceptional quality of accommodation and customer service 2018/2019.
The success is based on creating a home away from home environment for owners and making the leisure park a hub for the local community.
Although the pool and gym require membership, appointments at the Elemis spa can be booked and the restaurant, bar and other facilities are open to everyone all year round.
The leisure park draws its customers from across Yorkshire, the M62 corridor and the Midlands and enjoys remarkable loyalty, with the longest-serving caravan owners having called Patrington Haven their home away from home for more than 20 years.
Retired couple Keith and Denise Wright bought their first Willerby Vogue caravan on the park last month, going ahead with the sale within 24 hours of arriving and falling in love with the surroundings.
Originally from Manchester, they have owned a narrowboat for the past nine years and Mrs Wright said she is pleased to have found an ideal holiday home for their two children and five grandchildren to visit at various points throughout the year.
Mrs Wright, 66, said: “We thought we’d go to lots of different sites to see what was available, but we never went anywhere else.
“The staff took us round and we fell in love with it. When you need anything, someone is there straight away and nothing is too much trouble. There is such a lot going on for all ages and the park has a really nice feel about it.”