The summer heatwave and the World Cup made for an unpredictable but busy summer season, according to the region’s holiday parks and attractions.
At Croyde Bay Resort, a £3million investment in new three- and four-bedroom lodges saw a sell-out summer for bookings.
Despite not releasing them until late in the season, Si Willis, head of marketing, said they were sold out most nights of the holidays.
He said: “Revenues for summer are up by double digits, which keeps us ahead of 2017 after an average Easter but busy May.
“We continued to see guests booking later with the 30-day book window figures increasing by around 15 per cent and guests willing to pay more to book later, rather than expecting a last minute deal.”
At Woolacombe Bay Holiday Parks, it was a similar picture, with late bookings looking ‘particularly strong’.
Kevin Darvill, sales and marketing director at the parks, said January started with advance bookings doing well, but the snow and early Easter didn’t have a very ‘holiday-y’ feel.
He said: “Then came the heatwave, which was good for us with customers wanting to escape the oppressive heat of the towns and cities by heading to the coast where it’s always a little cooler.
“England’s long participation in the World Cup did slightly counter the effect of this, as it always does, but we don’t have a summer World Cup for another seven years now, and the feel good factor was great.”
Kevin said the week the schools were off in July saw the biggest ever sales week, with demand high for premium stays.
“For 2019 we will have another 50 new caravans replacing older models,” he added.
At The Big Sheep, director Rick Turner said the summer had been akin to a rollercoaster: “Up and down, lots of fun but scary in places and glad to be back safely in the station.”
Rick said despite the glorious June and July weather, the months were quiet due to families fearing fines for taking their children out of school.
“The fine weather did however bring many higher spending visitors and the big plus was that although the numbers were down our spends were up by pretty well the same amount,” he said.
“There is a forecast for an Indian summer so lets all keep our fingers crossed, the Met Office has got this right and that the glorious summer carries on into September.”