Well, life is certainly different for all of us now and that is certainly the case within the tourism industry!
Although the outlook for the UK ’Staycation’ is somewhat positive and there is talk of a ‘Boom’ there is still a lot of uncertainty mixed with a large dose of the new normal - whatever that turns out to be!
Back in early March I was busy preparing to open for the new season. Ironically I was very organised this year and was fully stocked with pick-and-mix sweets, ice-creams, logs and Husthwaite cider only to discover it was all in vain and five days before opening the country went into ‘lockdown’! Typical - lol!
My sons have benefited from the large amounts of stock in the shop over the last three months, mainly the ice-creams and the pick and mix! Oh, and we've had some lockdown hobbit house fun whilst we could!
A "Hobbit House", at Baxby Manor
I have to admit; I rather enjoyed the first six weeks of lockdown! The weather was fantastic and the boys were at home so apart from the home-schooling (!) it was great to be able to spend time at home with them in the good weather, something I never normally have chance to do as I am busy working at the campsite!
After that there was talk of re-opening; when, how, what, where, etc etc; there was a lot of second-guessing what government might say, what we might be able to do what we might not be able to do. The problem was I didn’t want to spend a load of time and money on things if it was going to end up being a waste of time! In the end I decided to take the bull by the horns and decide on what measures I would implement and hope it came close to what government guidelines would be - use a bit of common sense - and pray! I spent many late nights and many £’s on putting in place measures which as luck would have it paid off as pretty much everything I had decided to do government guidelines also stated! #lucky!
Rufus's Roost at Baxby Manor
I opened The Hideaway and Rufus’s Roost Treehouse on Saturday July 4th. We are operating at 50% capacity at the campsite and I imagine this will continue until the end of this season. I have been open for a month now and so far things are working well. I believe there will be some form of social distancing for certainly the rest of this year and think certain aspects of sanitation will be in place for the foreseeable future...maybe for ever!
People have in the most been very accepting of the measures and it all seems to be working well.
I imagine as further restrictions are lifted I will actually keep some of the measures I have put in place. One of them being the red/green light system we have installed for the toilet and shower cubicles! The system means people do not have to enter the building when all the cubicles are engaged, they can wait outside until there is a green light! People LOVE this ;-)
Social distancing; not a problem!
I don’t think things will ever completely return to the way they were pre-COVID as I think people will now be a lot more conscious of bugs and hygiene. It has made me re-think certain aspects of how we operate and opened my eyes to how certain things could be done differently, like the red/green light system. It is also a LOT easier only having half the number of people on site-perhaps just not all that financially viable! Hmmm…..
The advantage my business has is that it is outdoor-based and social distancing isn't too hard to achieve. People see camping and glamping as a relatively safe option. I have already had a lot of customers coming to me saying they have no intention of going abroad for the next few years, they have purchased a tent and will visit and holiday at various places in the UK instead.
The view of the countryside from Baxby Manor
Although it has been a challenging year with turnover and occupancy likely to be down 75% compared to last year I believe the next few years will see a huge swing in people camping in the UK and the industry will bounce back.
Anyway, I hope that's been an interesting insight into running the campsite so far this year! And if you've not seen it, I'm running a competition with Kids Camping Store to win 2 nights camping at Baxby Manor, and £50 to spend at Kids Camping Store, which you can enter via the Baxby Manor Facebook page by clicking here.
Good luck, and enjoy the rest of your summer