An Interview With Broadhembury Holiday Park

By Hari Seddon Dec 07, 2020

Even in the off-season for glampsites there’s much to be done, so we’re particularly grateful to Sally from Broadhembury Holiday Park for her time for a quick chat with us!

 

Broadhembury is open all year round, offering the discerning camper, tourer and glamper true comfort, whatever the season. 5-star rated since 1988, Broadhembury offers both a Family Park and a separate Adults’ Meadows – each serviced by their own award-winning facilities.

Their location is excellent for exploring Kent, and further afield, with the Kentish coast, world-famous castles & gardens and vineyards all in easy reach.

 

 

How did the idea for Broadhembury Holiday Park come about?

Broadhembury is a second generation family business and we were lucky enough to celebrate our 50th anniversary in 2019.  Up until 2016 the Park was run by my parents Keith and Jenny Taylor.  In 2016 me and my husband Lee took over, and we now run the Park entirely, alongside a team of fabulous and many long-serving staff.  

 

The business has evolved and developed over the years into what is now a 5 star Park offering touring & camping, holiday homes and glamping.  We launched our glamping side of the business in 2017 and it’s been incredibly popular right from the start.

BELOW: Sally and her husband Lee.

What was your guest capacity starting out and what is it now?

We started out with 5 tents – 3 on our family park and 2 on our adults only park, but they proved so popular that in 2019 we expanded our total number of tents to 7, adding 2 more on to the family park.  Our family glamping tents sleep 4, and our adults-only sleep 2.

 

What was your first season running like? What was your most important lesson?

Our first season was fantastic.  We were delighted that the tents proved so popular and everyone enjoyed the luxurious home-from-home experience that we offer.  Guests appreciated all the little touches we had put in place to make the experience extra special, such as a swing ball in the private gardens for all the family tents and wonderful frontier stoves in the adult only tents.

 

Our most important lesson after the first season was the need for being organised and packing away the tents well so that they are kept pristine for the following season the next year.

 

How many Lotus Belles do you have?

We now have seven in total.  Five on our family Park, and Two on our Adult only Park.

 

You've won many awards over the years, what are you most proud of?

We have won many awards over the years, such as the AA Campsite of the year for the South East and even Loo of the Year!  But the one which really sticks out is gaining our 5 stars with Trip Advisor.  The certificate of excellence which we received really does mean a huge deal because it comes from our guests. 

What does your average day running the site look like?

That’s a really tall order because there truly isn’t a ‘typical’ day, that’s why it’s so much fun!

At this time of year we’re busy doing all the maintenance on the Park and any renovations we have planned for the new season. In the low season I also do a lot of my admin work in Reception so that I can answer the phone and address any booking enquiries whilst getting some emails answered or accounts done at the same time. So, a “typical” day might be something like this:

8.15: Arrive in Reception and cover off with the wardens any issues that have arisen since the time we left the day before. 

09.00: I’m usually sitting at the computer by now. I look at the online bookings that have come in over-night, making sure we’ve accommodated any ‘special requests’ that may have come in with these. I closely look at the system to check it’s allocated the best pitches for our visitors – availability permitting, I want everyone to be on the very best pitch for them. For example, if someone’s listed ‘infants’ on their booking I’d always look to get them as close to the facilities as possible (unless they’ve stated otherwise) and mark on their booking to offer them the Family Bathroom key on arrival. We also receive quite a lot of email enquiries and I like to answer these straight away so people can begin planning their breaks.

10.30: Usually Lee & his team will come in for a quick coffee and I’ll run anything past Lee that’s come up….like “I’ve had an enquiry from a 12 meter motorhome, and I’ve only got 2 hardstandings free, which one will be easiest for it to get onto?” – Lee knows about things like that!

11-1pm: In between taking calls I’ll get some admin done. I also like to head out for a walk around the park; it’s good to get some fresh air but also it’s another pair of eyes for spotting things promptly that might need attention.


We have won many awards over the years, but the one which really sticks out is gaining our 5 stars with Trip Advisor.

 

1pm: Our official arrival time is 2pm for touring, but at this time of year we’re often able to accommodate visitors earlier and from around 1pm they’ll start arriving. I love that in low-season we’ve more time to spend with people helping them get the very best from their stay; this might be booking a special restaurant for them, or talking about which gardens and castles are best to visit at this time of year.

3.30pm: I leave at varying times through the winter months, but I do try to do the school run a little more often than I can in the summer. So, the wardens will come in around this time to take over from me. I’ll communicate any issues that have cropped up during the day, let them know which arrivals we’re still expecting, and then head off to school.

What's the most photographed spot on the site?

I would say it would be our fabulous glamping tents.  People love to take a picture of them at night with their twinkly lights.

 

What's the most popular item in your shop?

We love to support local businesses and so our shop is stocked full with local produce, as well as the other essential items of course.  Our local beer and wine from Chapel Down would probably be the most popular items. 

 

And finally: Something you're excited for in the 2021 season.

We can’t wait to welcome campers for what will hopefully be a full 2021 season!

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