“We’re within the business of producing dreams come true.”
Not the words of a Hollywood director or even a toy company boss, however what Bart Day was told during his interview for his role as head of marketing for Bailey of Bristol, which can be one of Europe’s biggest caravan manufacturers.
The company can be the UK’s oldest leisure vehicle maker in addition to has been family-run since its inception almost 70 years ago.
Bailey sells some 7,000 caravans a year, generating annual revenues of about £100m in addition to the item plans to boost production to 10,000 a year within the near future.
This specific ambitious target reflects a healthy UK demand for touring caravans. Just over 22,000 were sold within the year to June – a 7% rise on the previous 12 months – while sales for the entire leisure vehicle market, which also includes motor homes in addition to static caravans, rose by 9% to more than 56,000.
Brits remain Europe’s biggest buyers of touring caravans in addition to the UK market can be second only to the US. John Lally, head of the industry body, the NCC, attributes This specific rise in sales to a change in holiday behaviour.
‘Staycationing’ can be retaining in addition to even increasing its appeal, he says, in addition to we are going on more frequent, shorter holidays. “Tourers, motor-homes in addition to caravan holiday homes are perfect because of This specific.”
however why do the British love caravans so much? For Bart Day the item can be partly the “British belief in which we’re all explorers; being able to do what you want, when you want”, as well as a fondness for owning our “castle”, even if the item can be on wheels.
Bailey caravans cost between £15,000 in addition to £27,000. Despite the hefty cost tags some consumers are opting to buy one, rather than spend money on a foreign holiday, says Mr Day.
The slide within the value of the pound since the EU referendum has made in which decision easier for many, he adds: “Regardless of Brexit… people still want to go on holiday, ‘staycations’ are becoming more well-liked.”
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While some buyers were taken on caravan holidays as children, the challenge for the industry can be winning over “those who have been brought up with Jeremy Clarkson blowing caravans up”, says Mr Day – a reference to the TV antics of the former Top Gear presenter.
Almost every fresh caravan can be currently well insulated, with built-in heating in addition to a toilet, however many still associate sleeping in one to waking up to condensed breath in addition to frost on the inside of the windows.
in which was the case for Dan Trudgian, who remembers being “very cold all the time” in a van on seaside holidays with his parents within the 1980s.
Yet a desire to go on holiday more frequently, prompted him in addition to his wife Angela to buy a van a few years ago. Their first night banished those unhappy childhood memories for not bad: “All we needed was a duvet”, he recalls, annoyed in which he had wasted money on sleeping bags.
Despite initially focussing on a caravan as a means of cheaper holidays, he says the item can be the freedom to move on in which has proved to be the main attraction. “You can park the item wherever you want in addition to wherever you wake up the item’s somewhere completely different. in addition to if you don’t like the item you can move on. the item’s all about the adventure.”
Finding there was a dearth of online resources for caravan novices like himself led him to start a YouTube channel. Some videos, such as how to level or clean a van, have had tens of thousands of views: “These are all things in which people need to know, however no one incorporates a clue how to do them.”
Hull-based Swift, the UK’s biggest caravan maker with 40% of the domestic market in addition to annual revenues of about £200m, can be also on a mission to introduce them to a fresh generation.
People who like going mountain biking, fishing or to watch motor sports are one group its targeting, says commercial director Nick Page.
“They might be staying in a caravan, however they’re not caravaners as such. We’re promoting a lifestyle, rather than the product itself.”
As caravans currently routinely come equipped with all the creature comforts of home, manufacturers have been forced to make them lighter, to enable modern cars to tow them.
Swift has eliminated timber by caravan frames, for example. “They’re more aerodynamic in addition to stable on the road, while active trailer control systems, which can be similar to ABS, makes them far easier to tow in addition to more fuel efficient as well,” explains Mr Page.
Like its Bristol-based rival, Swift says in which the arrival of personal contract purchases – a form of leasing – within the UK caravan market has made them affordable, as only a deposit can be needed. This specific has also created a healthy second-hand market.
As well as buoyant sales within the UK, Swift can be exporting its caravan; not only in Europe, to countries such as Germany, Sweden in addition to the Netherlands, however much further afield in Australia, China in addition to South Korea, as well.
in addition to for British caravan enthusiasts for whom nothing however the best will do, Swift recently began importing Airstream caravans – or “silver shiny bullets” says Nick Page – by the US. Each one takes about a month to be hand-built, reflected in a cost tag in which starts at about £70,000.
the item can be a long way by the £0 in which Martin Bailey charged for his first caravan, made in a shed in Bristol back in 1948.