Lowestoft firm Hoseasons reports ‘staggering’ growth on Broads
- Credit: Angela Sharpe
EDP Top100 firm Hoseasons reported a year of 'staggering' growth in Norfolk Broads holidays at its annual conference at the Celtic Manor Resort in Wales.
And next year could bring a new dimension to boating holidays with German sister company Novasol now actively marketing the Broads as a destination for continental visitors, delegates were told.
Managing director Simon Altham said: 'It has been a tremendous season for the Broads; we have seen 14pc growth year on year which is a staggering number.
'And what is really encouraging from our point of view is the fact that 80pc of our customers on the Broads this year were new to boating.'
It showed they were successfully addressing an issue raised in Hoseasons' research carried out last year that enjoyment and familiarity with Broads boating holidays had apparently skipped a couple of generations.
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He said it was down to all the work they had been doing combining television adverts with new-look marketing to appeal to a younger audience.
Mr Altham said: 'We have successfully got over the message that boating is not a specialist holiday and, as part of that, we have been getting more journalists and travel agents out on boats to raise awareness.'
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The appeal of boating holidays had also been enhanced by the high level of investment by boatyards - not only in building new boats but refurbishing older craft.
'This year has seen the most significant improvement in the hire fleet for at least a decade,' he said.
'Eighty per cent of the boats now have wi-fi. It shows people are listening and thinking about how they can improve things.'
To help the push for continental visitors, Hoseasons' boating manager Katie Lawrence was this week taking members of Novasol's team out on the Broads on a number of educational visits.
Mr Altham said: 'A huge amount of translation work has been done and I am hoping to see the first German customers on the Broads next season.'
Hoseasons was also celebrating a good year in its lodges and parks portfolio, having seen 10pc growth in Norfolk, he added.
Targeting further growth in 2015, on the back of a good summer, Hoseasons would be showing its commitment to British holidays with a new television advert, which would feature a Mariella Frostrup voice-over.