Bookings 26pc up for Potter Heigham hire boat firm

Marketing director Amanda Walker in kitchen of new holiday let

Marketing director Amanda Walker in kitchen of new holiday let - Credit: Archant

Further evidence that Norfolk is building towards a bumper holiday season has come from leading Broads hire boat firm Herbert Woods which reports bookings up 26 per cent year on year.

The news comes a week after the EDP reported positive data across all sectors of the county's £2.7bn tourism industry.

The Potter Heigham-based firm revealed its strong performance as it unveiled the latest fruit of its ongoing investment - refurbished holiday accommodation in the iconic Herbert Woods tower.

Marketing director Amanda Walker said: 'We are having an extremely strong season, bookings overall are 26 per cent up year on year and very encouragingly 22 per cent of the bookings we have taken in July have been for 2015. We are on the verge of being sold out for August.

'We see this as a direct result of the investment we have been putting into the business. Early this year we recruited a customer services manager and also invested £60,000 in a new state of the art website through which customers can manage their own bookings.

'That investment has extended to refurbishing two apartments in the Herbert Woods tower which have been booking very well. There has also been a high demand for day boats, thanks to some good weather.'

Their main priority now was to ensure that when customers arrived at Potter Heigham they gave them the best experience possible so they wanted to come back again and again.

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The Herbert Woods tower has dominated the landscape at Potter Heigham for more than 80 years and was originally built to house water tanks.

In the late 1990s the water tanks were removed and three offices and four apartments created; now two of those apartments have been refurbished at a cost of nearly £15,000 and once again are available for people to stay in.

Both the Dragonfly and Swallowtail apartments have two bedrooms, large well fitted open plan kitchen and living room with digital flat screen TV and WiFi.

Ms Walker said they were very proud of the tower and delighted to have been able to carry out the restoration.

The bright tourism picture confirms data from the most recent tourism business confidence monitor, prepared by Larking Gowen Accountants, which revealed 61pc of businesses in the county were predicting the volume of visitors/guests for the quarter ending June 30 to beat last year.

Larking Gowen's annual Tourism Business Survey pointed to a rising trend of investment in line with Herbert Wood's strategy.