It’s time for a positive outlook. Yes we’re still stuck in lockdown but with the news that the light at the end of the tunnel is edging ever closer, with a ‘loosening’ of the lockdown, it’s time to divert our thoughts to work. I for one, have actually really enjoyed the lockdown period for a number of reasons. I’m an introvert and massively enjoy spending time at home, I have caught up on so much TV and films that I wouldn’t have otherwise, which as a film buff is one of my favourite past times! I have also got to spend an untold amount of time with my one year old and enduring trying to teach him to walk!
When lockdown began, I had worried about my job quite a lot as i’m sure most of us were. Being that I work in the leisure industry and that our core customer base are 55+ year olds. I was unsure back then what the figures of deaths in that core group would be, you would assume quite high as they’re the most vulnerable. Considering Coronavirus hasn’t quite hit us as bad as the scare stories were making out at the beginning, i’m starting to feel a bit more upbeat.
There are multiple factors for me to feel comfortable about my job now looking forward. My first thought on this is the aviation industry is in massive turmoil. I have first hand experience as i’m still awaiting a refund for our flights to Sweden from Easter! Most of the carriers are being bailed out and won’t be able to fulfill the routes they did pre-lockdown and with most people being put off holidaying in other countries post-lockdown, their next port of call is to holiday in this country. I mean there will be some people who will look to book a cottage and get away which is fine. My attention is drawn to large portion of the public who maybe used to caravan as a child and has fond memories of this. Now imagine they’re at a stage in their life where they could potentially invest in a caravan/motorhome, opening up a new customer demographic to our market, the 55 and under category which to be honest is slim. All indicators point to the long term destruction of the aviation industry, especially if you pay attention to people like Warren Buffet who sold all of his stocks in US airlines in April, not just some, he sold all of his positions on the stock market. Aviation is no longer a ‘sure thing’ in the investment world, pair that with the still grounded fleets and excessive bailouts which will more than likely never be paid back. The entire industry will probably take about 10-15 years to get semi close to it’s previous position, if at all.
Secondly, the dreaded ‘second spike’ which is expected in the winter. Whilst it’s still a long way off, people might get ahead of the curve now and buy a caravan/motorhome in preparation so they can get away before they can’t get out again. Or for the single use of staying with family further away and being able to stay there but in their own space, rather than be self isolating alone over the winter period. Especially if the house isn’t big enough to put them up, they can just park on the driveway/outside.
Thirdly, the exciting prospect of actually seeing what this country has to offer. There are so many hidden gems dotted around this country. If you can’t leave the country to your standard destination of say Spain or Greece, then finding a nice campsite near the coast might be a good shout, saves fighting for parking in one of those fields by the beach (even when you leave at the crack of dawn and find everyone else had the same idea!). It’s a long summer holiday if you’ve got kids and being able to see lots of different places by touring the country would be a good way of keeping the kids occupied. It also gives the opportunity for them to learn about different parts of the country and maybe experience different things they might not have usually by going on a ‘package’ holiday. It’s also good to learn about the history of our own country, something the younger generations are seriously lacking! No wonder there is a serious lack of national pride and patriotism is sneered at.
I think a lot needs to be said and done about the British Isles in many aspects after all of this has calmed down. The first thing needs to be, use what we have here and invest in businesses here not abroad. Whilst it saddens me that we won’t be getting to Greece (my favourite holidaying country by far) and that will harm their country, as they rely heavily on the tourism industry. The money we would be spending on paying for a hotel over there could be spent over here and going back into our own economy, which will be damaged after this. Yes I will imagine that the B&B/hotel owners will be licking their lips and increasing prices exponentially for the foreseeable future, so getting a caravan or motorhome and paying for a pitch/campsite is less, the money you save would obviously be spent in the local community near where you stay on buying supplies. It doesn’t sound like much but if an increased amount of people did it, it would have a knock on effect which would benefit the country as a whole.
On a side note, I think we should where we can, make an active decision to bin ‘MADE IN CHINA’ and where possible buy products made over here. It would increase productivity and demand for products over here which feeds industry, baby steps but eventually if everyone did it, it would increase how many things are made and decreases the cost. Yes things made over here are more expensive but that’s because they’re not made in sweatshops by 6 year olds and yet again the end goal is to put our money back into our own economy. It’s the little things, for example I now go to the butchers in the next village over to get my meat (mainly due to the supermarkets being bare) but also because it’s so much better! This is a practice I will stick to post lockdown as I have enjoyed it so much. In doing so, i’m doing my bit in keeping a local business up and running which ultimately helps every body. We should be doing everything possible to help each other out and have a more inward look at the situation. We should be looking after our own first and foremost, we have seen an increase in people checking on and helping others out during lockdown, this is just the next step. As they say ‘money talks’.
Now, i’m not involved in the sales of caravans and motorhomes but they’re not as expensive as you might think. There are some very reasonably priced examples about due to the part timers. The type of people who bought it thinking they’d get out all the time but use it but once a year! They then decide to sell it and it’s hardly been used. The only thing I would suggest is buy it from a main dealer like the one I work for, for the main reason that if you don’t know what you’re looking for, you could buy a right old plum that hasn’t been checked over properly, thinking you’ve got yourself a nice deal. You then get it serviced by a dealer or a one man band and then get very angry and shouty when we explain how much is wrong with it and a price with how much it will take to put right! Believe me, it happens a lot more than you think. Mr ‘I got it off ebay for about two grand less than the others’ which has more than two grand’s worth of damp work needed!
Other things to look out for are examples made by companies now out of business or been bought out by someone else. My job is the very boring yet delightful world of parts and warranty. After three years everything is outside of warranty apart from the bodywork in regards to water ingress. If the company is no longer, then you won’t have any warranty whatsoever and is not worth having, as there is usually a reason they went out of business in the first place! Also be wary of getting something over ten years old as parts become very hard to get hold of and it’s the worst thing in the world being stuck needing a part that can take up to twenty eight working days to get hold of. This is how I spend most of my days, explaining to customers that the leisure industry is twenty five years behind the motor industry and they just don’t have the space or demand to keep every single part of every model in a warehouse.
Don’t think I can share much more than that without getting in trouble! The leisure industry has been growing rapidly in recent years and has gotten pretty good coverage, channel five has made a few series called 5 Go Caravanning and a spin off 5 Go Motorhoming, they even came and did filming in our shop (I hid out of shot!). This was unfortunately before we had a massive refurbishment and turned it into the biggest Autosleeper showroom in the country. It looks so much better now, we’ve even got offices now! Anyway, I believe we can push on despite the time we’ve lost already as it’s peak season now. I’m hoping i’m right and there is an increase in the 40-55 year old customer base, as having to deal with the older customers can be very trying at times! It would be good to see some younger faces and to encourage them to get out there. If you look back before people could afford to fly away on holiday, the main source of holidaying was caravanning, this will hopefully stem a new generation of caravan and motorhome lovers.
If anyone reading has any questions or is interested then feel free to message me. If I can help just one person join the leisure fraternity then my job will be done. Just promise to come and get a service and buy parts from me! As always, thanks for reading if you didn’t fall asleep!