The CaravanTimes Editors First Year In Review

Me and my odd smile after a year of being the CaravanTimes Editor
Me and my odd smile after a year of being the CaravanTimes Editor

Friday, 14, Sep 2018 12:16

By William Coleman

Having joined the CaravanTimes team last September I was totally surprised how quickly my first year has gone. It has been a year of many different experiences from travelling around the UK seeing everything the industry has to offer to driving almost vertically up hill in the Albanian mountains in a Bailey Advance and getting stuck in no man's land for for 15 hours. It has been a real roller coaster of a year.

My first week was pretty much a trial by fire. Day 3 and there I was placed in front of a camera reviewing the Mercedes Marco Polo, and just like that I became the literal face of CaravanTimes. Editor, journalist and presenter all in one small package. Since then I have actually become quite comfortable on camera which means you will always see my face, sorry for that.

Shortly after taking over the editorial desk I learned that the touring industry was a lot bigger than I had previously thought. Yes, I kept an eye on the industry and took caravan holidays year in year out but I was blissfully unaware just how huge it was and how much money it generates the UK economy. 2017 being one of the biggest years in the industry with a record amount of leisure vehicles being sold.

The biggest example of just how big it was is the NEC show in October and February. A few weeks into job the team spent a week in Birmingham filming a video special newsletter for exhibitors to show you lovely readers some highlights before you headed up, or down, to the show.

I had never seen so many motorhomes, statics, tents, trailers tents, campers and caravans under one roof, it really was a great learning experience. It was at the NEC where I got to meet the Caravan And Motorhome Team who are a great bunch and really do seem like they just want to provide a good service.

So now that I had the presenting and my first NEC under my belt I was starting become very comfortable reporting on the news and stories of the touring industry. And not long after the NEC I was going to be offered the an experience of a lifetime.

A large part of CaravanTimes is making exclusive content for both our readers and manufacturers within the motorhome and caravan industry. One of those manufacturers that CaravanTimes has a good relationship is Bailey of Bristol, a team I had yet to meet. We went to have a meeting with the Bailey team regarding some coverage they would like from a trip they have coming up. All I thought was going to happen is me receiving some weekley press releases to then create articles from.

Before I knew it, and out of the blue, I was being offered a spot on Bailey's Bristanbul tour. I can openly admit now that I was a bit worried about accepting the offer. I had never driven on the other side of the road, let alone towing a vehicle and staying part of a convoy on very unfamiliar roads. After a quick thought I knew that I would be crazy not to accept this phenomenal offer.

The tour was absolutely amazing. Not only did I get to meet people from all aspects of the caravan industry but I had some crash courses in some very unique towing situations. The best part of the tour was seeing so many countries from a very unique perspective. 21 countries travelled in 21 days, absolutely fantastic.

Travelling across Europe and seeing what touring on the continent is like was very eye opening. What stood out to me was just how different each site was from the next. I have been to lots of sites across the UK that all follow a certain generic pattern, but the sites across Europe and Asia we visited were all totally unique. There were so many highlights, and lowlights, on this trip that I could write about it for days on end. But instead of that I will just place a link for you to watch the videos we made while on the tour, Part 1 and Part 2. If another trip comes up I will certainly be throwing my name in the hat to go again.

The last year has sent me all around Europe, which was amazing, but it is the trips in the UK that I love the most. I been to every corner of the UK visiting sites, reviewing leisure vehicles and meeting manufacturers and dealers. The one thing that has stood out is just how many people in the UK love to take caravan holidays.

During the colder winter months all the sites I visited were between 75-100% booked up. So it seems that the weather does not put the UK holiday maker of off winter touring. It was at that point I was invited BBC Radio Wales for an interview on winter touring. Another career first for me which was a great experience.

Learning about everything the industry has to offer is quite a large learning curve. Having used touring products for most of my life I soon learnt that I really do not know as much as I thought I did. Meeting Truma, CAMC, Whale Pumps, Marquis Leisure and many more really does give you a very different view of the industry. I had previously been a consumer so I looked at things from that angle. Now understanding the design and business side of thing I have a totally new understanding of just how much work goes into providing us the perfect holiday experience.

So now a year on I am preparing for the next NEC show in a few weeks I am going into the UK's biggest show a lot more prepared than before. It really is mad just how much difference a year of learning can make. So I hope everyone has enjoyed my first year as much as I have and I look forward to many more.

Now that I have my first year in the bag I would love to hear from you guys about the content you have enjoyed as well as anything you have not enjoyed. We always appreciate any kind of feedback and would love to hear any ideas you may have or content you'd like to see.

Comments - What do you think?
Related stories

Travelworld On Target For Two More Top Awards

Meet the Ross family who are taking Travel world to award glory

The Telford-based family business which specialises in the sale and servicing of premium brand motorhomes is a finalist in the Family Business of the Year and the Fastest Growing Family Business of the Year in the Midlands Family Business Awards, the UK's only independent, not-for-profit annual Awards showcase for family businesses in the Midlands.

Lowdhams Named Dealer Of The Year By Swift Group

Gill Newman from HSBC, Steve Sharpe managing director at Lowdhams, Matt Greening from the Lowdhams Nottingham branch and James Turner Swift Group managing director.

Hard work, significant investment, teamwork, determination and a solid 12 months of sales has proved to be the winning recipe for Lowdhams Nottingham as they sweep up 3 awards are the 2018 Swift Group Dealer Network Awards.

For Sale

Burstner Nexxo t720 - 2012 - £44995

Burnster Nexxo t720

Low Low profile chasis motorhome

Rapido A-Class 999M - 2009 - £54995

Rapido A class 999M

This flagship Rapido model is based on the Mercedes Sprinter chassis (very rare) with the fantastic Mercedes 3.

Monaco Knight 38 PDQ - 2006 - £79995

x

THE most practical RV layout ever on the market with four slide out rooms, full cream leather interior and light oak cabinetry creates even greater feeling of space.

Niesmann+Bischoff Arto 69 PL (auto) - 2011 - £61995

Niesmann + Bischoff Arto 69 PL

One of the best build qualities in the industry including aluminium sandwich construction, deep double floor and front electric thermo windscreen blind make this motorhome fully winterised.

Benimar Tessoro Part 1: The 483 Full Test

The Tessoro 483 is built on a 170BHP Ford

At CaravanTimes we recently had a Benimar Tessoro 483 on test for a couple of weeks. We have done just over 2000 miles in the Tessoro and tested in various ways - as you will find out in our inspiration features coming up. But before we give you some ideas of where and why you should use a motorhome like the Tessoro we wanted to bring some information on the Tessoro range and the very interesting 483.

Bristanbul Video Documentary Part 1

Part one of the documentary is here

So as most of our readers will know, the CaravanTimes team were lucky enough to be part of Bailey of Bristols, Bristol to the Bosphoros trip. Travelling 21 countries in 21 days the team did a fantastic job to take the 2 caravans and motorhome cross-continental.

In pictures: testing the new Auto-Trail V-Line Sport 635 to the extreme

Caravan Times' Favourite Adventure Couple, Simon & Faye, CHeck out the new Autotrail V-line

This weekend however, we decided to test out how sporty the Auto-Trail V-Line Sport 635 really is.

PLANS VETOED: Essex caravan park plans vetoed again

Possible site location at Port Flair

Plans for a 70 pitch caravan park in Essex have been rejected by the local council for a second time.