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CASE STUDY 1: Fillybrook

Sutton Hospitality Consultants are proud to present this case study – our fantastic farmland in Dorset which is currently being developed into a brand new five star residential park.

We asked owner Margaret, a few questions, including why she wanted to develop her existing caravan site into an alternative development.

Why use the land for a caravan site and why develop the land?

I moved to the Farm in 1993 with my husband, who sadly passed away in 2000. Paul is now my partner and we both live at the Farm.

The previous owners ran the site as a smallholding with cows, pigs and horses. There was a small, 5 van, all year round, caravan site adjoined.

When we moved in, I kept my own horses, and we continued to run the 5 van site, but demand was high, and we ended up with more than 5 vans for most of the summer but we weren’t complaining!

By 2009, having run the caravan site with around 20 pitches for over 10 years, we applied for a Certificate of Lawfulness for a 365 day of the year caravan site. It was granted with no restrictions on numbers, except for spacing rules.

Using that decision as a precedent, I applied for a Certificate of Lawfulness for permanent residential Park Homes, which was granted in October 2018.

I continued to run the caravan site, and will do so until I close it in September 2019.

Why I chose Sutton Hospitality Consultants:

Once I had the permission granted, I had to decide how to implement it, and it was obvious that we needed help. We started to do some research into Park Home suppliers and developers, and following my lawful application grant, my solicitors Stephens Scown, who works with Andy Sutton, sent me professional advice on the way forward.

Andy came to see us, and I was impressed by his “get up and go, make it happen” attitude, as I tend to work like that myself. I also have great respect for Stephens Scown who had given me his details. Credibility was paramount, and Andy’s sheer enthusiasm was his strength, and because it was his own business, he was very keen to make it work and enhance his already good reputation in the leisure business.

After our meeting, we decided to engage his services, and to date, I am of the opinion that we definitely made the right decision. He has been on the ball from the start, with a forward plan which is being implemented. He has an excellent team of professional staff and contacts around him.

Whilst Paul and I are no strangers to making developments on site happen, such as completely refurbishing the site toilet block and carrying out extensive works to the agricultural buildings, we have no experience of a Park Home development. Andy has the expertise and contacts we needed. We all have a strong passion and enthusiastic attitudes, and working together, I am very confident that we will have an excellent outcome with our 5 star residential park.

What do I see for the future?

I have very much enjoyed running the caravan site over the years, and meeting so many nice people, many of whom have returned every single year, some since I arrived here back in 1993. I have seen generations of families at our farm, therefore, it was with serious consideration, that I have decided to close down.

I now see the new development as myself and Paul “taking a step back” from the hard work and long hours of the tourism business. As there are only the two of us, and no employees, it has been impossible to go out together from very often, as someone has to be on site, on duty. It will be nice to have a Residential Park, which once set up, will have permanent residents, who do not require someone to be on site all the time.

I see the future for both myself and Paul, being able to enjoy a more leisurely lifestyle. I have my horses and dog, Brook, and would like to spend much more time enjoying their company and getting out and about. I am also Chairman of Hurn Parish Council where I work a lot with the community and that can take up a lot of time. Also, a big bonus – we will be able to go out together at any time of the year, whenever we like – that will take some getting used to! For instance, if we both want to go out for the day with the dog to the New Forest Show in July we will be able to go. At the moment, while running the caravan site, that would be impossible as one of us would have to stay behind.

I am very confident that we have a successful future ahead of us at our brand new Farm development, with the help of Sutton Hospitality & the team.

CASE STUDY 2: Universal Glamping

How did we meet Andy Sutton?

Universal Glamping has been operating as a glamping accommodation provider and product design company for the global marketplace since it was incorporated in 2017 by the Managing Director George Richardson. Previous to this George had been working as the head of manufacturing for The Log Pod which has been making glamping pods since 2007. After a first year of success for Universal Glamping I myself joined the team in 2018 to help develop the business and its brand.

We first met with Andy Sutton of Sutton Hospitality Consultants in January 2019 after 2-3 months of communication. I was searching for strategic partners within the UK’s holiday industry when I come across Andy and his team’s work. I could see that he was not only highly professional and skilled at the work that he carries out, but also provides significant value to this industry and has an extremely reputable brand.

Upon meeting Andy with my brother George we were impressed by Andy’s enthusiasm and the intense passion that we both share personally, and from a business perspective. He was extremely helpful, understood his clients wants and needs and how to execute his services with great speed and efficiency. This attitude works well for us, because as a company Universal Glamping likes to work hard and fast to build and grow. The synergy was there!

We met again at SHC office in the north of England with the rest of their team to continue discussions. We met Alex who is the head of Operations for SHC, their combined knowledge and emphasis on customer value really made me smile.

What is the partnership between both companies?

Universal Glamping and Sutton Hospitality Consultants are in the process of creating a formal strategic partnership to best compliment each companies products and services, and to assist each other in developing outstanding value to our clients.

The first stage in our partnership which is already proving fruitful, as expected, is that UG is now the sole glamping provider for SHC. This gives Andy and his customers direct access to our products and adds value to SHC’s services.

The second stage in our Partnership is SHC will be providing their marketing expertise and will be taking heed in the development of our new website, updating all our marketing material and re-evaluating our social media strategy. SHC marketing team has already generated significant results with SHC previous and existing clients.

The third stage in our partnership UG will be offering SHC services to our own clients, so that we can provide a complete ‘turnkey’ solution for any glamping site in and around the UK. With the expert advice and keen eye for business development and growth we can now supply our customers with a package that takes them from concept to completion without the hassle of using multiple companies.

The list of services include; Planning, site design, business plan and projections, supply and install of alternative accommodation, recruitment, and pre and after-sale marketing.

What do you see for the future?

I see an incredible relationship in the making and I can honestly say we will all become good friends. The energy and passion between both companies is unlike anything I have seen in the industry.

SHC and UG will continue to grow and develop into the UK’s leading turnkey accommodation providers.

With the help of SHC and their team, UG is set to grow over 200% in the UK alone. We are now in the process of leasing a 25,000 sq/ft manufacturing facility in Wales to cope with the increased demand, building up to 5 units every week.

As our international market increases UG will be developing SHC services for the our international customers.

UG is set to be the largest glamping provider worldwide by 2020.

SHC have some unique and innovative idea’s and initiatives for UG in the near future but we cannot reveal too much at this time, however we are extremely excited for what’s to come.

CASE STUDY 4: The New Meldham Wood

Who Are We?

Martin Lake (PGA Golf Professional) and his wife Helen have owned and operated Ashton Golf Centre since 2004. A 9 hole golf course, driving range and clubhouse set in approximately 40 acres of stunning Lancashire countryside, close to the city of Lancaster in the North West of England. The golf industry has struggled over the past decade and Ashton Golf Centre was not immune to the industry problems of the inclement weather, private golf courses discounting green fees and the nomadic golfer. During this time the driving range had also become an issue due to the length of the outfield and advancements in club technology so Martin and Helen decided to diversify. They applied for planning permission to build holiday lodges on the 3.5 acre outfield of the driving range. The field is totally secluded, surrounded by old stone walls, woodland and amazingly peaceful. The perfect location for an up-market holiday retreat. Now, with full planning permission granted, Martin and Helen had a few decisions to make. How to move the project forward. They realized that they needed and industry expert, a great builder or a sale!

How did you meet Andy Sutton?

After months of looking through brochures, talking to lots of people and getting lots of conflicting views of what to do next, Helen decided to have a trip to the Caravan and Motor Home show, with her sister, at the NEC in Birmingham. Armed with her site plan they made a beeline to the holiday lodge section. The first lodge they entered was the Dovecote by Prestige and they were greeted by Jonathan Wake. This was to be a pivotal part of the journey so far. After looking at other manufacturer, they returned to prestige to get more advice from Jonathan, exchange numbers and set up a meeting on site for the following week. For Helen and Martin there were still a lot of uncertainties. The worry of taking on such a large project with no experience, as well as, still running the golf business, funding the project, finding the right people to collaborate with. It was a minefield. Speaking again to Jonathan the following week, he suggested we had a chat with Sutton Hospitality Consultants. Helen went online to do some research and ended up reading most of the Sutton Hospitality website and thought, yes, I need to make contact. Within a few days of the initial contact, Andy had made a site visit, spent hours walking the site and discussing the whole operation and according to Helen “He just got it and got her instantly”

Why did you choose to use Sutton Hospitality Consultants?

As business owners in the leisure sector, you have to work with like-minded, forward thinking, optimistic people. We can’t be doing with doom merchants and people telling us “this can’t happen and that can’t happen” So when we met Andy there was an instant connection. It was as if he could see into our minds and was going to produce the exact vision of our business in the future. Our gut feeling was good and as we sat and chatted through the process and options, we were definitely on the same page. We are also realists, so we know that the development won’t all be plain sailing, no business ever is, but having an industry expert with huge amounts of knowledge, energy and optimism was for us critical in the decision to appoint Sutton Hospitality Consultants. Since choosing Sutton Hospitality to project manage our development, I have been amazed how far we have progressed in such a short space of time and the great thing is, I have only had to answer a few questions and confirm approval of “stuff”. We have literally left it to them whilst we get on with the rest of our business. This is unfamiliar territory for us as we are normally, totally hands on business owners but it has actually been very refreshing to have someone on board that I trust and can call anytime… and I do haha.

I must also add, that the team of Sutton Hospitality professionals that have been involved with our development, (web developers, marketing professionals, social media managers, design/build professionals and photographers), have all been really knowledgeable, enthusiastic and amazing.

What do you see for the future?

We are really excited for the future. We see a totally different side of the business emerging. We love Ashton and its fabulous surroundings so to be able to create a luxury retreat for other people to enjoy will be incredible. Golf has always been our passion and it will still play a major part but it isn’t just the golf that is so attractive here. Everyone who sees it says it’s incredible and we have to agree. We took a great risk when we bought the golf course and there have been times when we asked ourselves, did we do the right thing but looking now into the future, we absolutely did.  The future is definitely brighter. When we walk around the site, go through the woods, down to the river, along to the café for ice-cream , we have to pinch ourselves. It could be pouring with rain, snowing or beautiful sunshine, it really doesn’t matter…’s stunning. 

Oh yes, ….we also see some more staff on site so we can start to enjoy some of this leisure time ourselves!!

CASE STUDY 5: Multiple Site Projects

How did you meet Andy Sutton?

Andy was introduced to me at Remedy Oak golf club where we had a short chat about business opportunities and the hospitality market in general. We subsequently met up on site at one of our caravan parks to discuss the possibilities there and Andy’s experienced team provided planning advice which later proved invaluable.

Why did you choose to use Sutton Hospitality Consultants?

Canford Renewable Energy are experienced in development and renewables but Andy’s knowledge and enthusiasm for the hospitality industry made him a natural fit for our company as this is not our core business. We needed a partner with a firm grounding in hospitality to help us move forward with some of our more diverse projects and land promotions.

What is the partnership between both companies?

Suttons now deal with all our hospitality and holiday projects within the business. They recently enabled the sale of one of our caravan parks in Dorset at an increased land value due to their promotion of the site.

What do you see for the future?

We have a number of exciting projects in the pipeline which we are working closely on with Suttons. We are currently working on two small projects of up to twenty high end lodges of which some may be sold and others kept to improve and strengthen our holiday let portfolio.

We have longer term plans for a larger site in Dorset where we already own land but this is in the early stages of concept planning. Suttons are providing planning and delivery advice on all our current hospitality projects and we are very happy with their performance and input into our business.

CASE STUDY 6: Partnership with Mayfield Decking

Could you tell us a bit about your business: 

 Mayfield was established in 1989 and has been an industry leader with new and innovative ideas for accessories for holiday and park homes now for over 30 years, and is still owned by the same family who started the company all those years ago.  Supplying over 350 parks on a regular basis through a dedicated network of UK Dealers our products are available across the country, installed by professional, conscientious teams who take pride in what we do and what we offer.  We attend every major exhibitor and have become a household name in the industry, not from shouting from the rooftops but from working on the ground building and creating our own unique range with the input from our amazing customers and supporters. We supplied both Holiday and Residential parks and work closely with all our customer to ensure we meet their and in turn their customers requirement  by listening to what they need helping them  make good choices both in design and style of deck but also working to their budget and ensuring they get the best value for money.

What are your thoughts on our partnership together?

We always get excited about new ventures and the enthusiasm and innovative approach from Sutton Hospitality means we are really looking forward to working with them and creating some fantastic new ideas and products for their customers.  Working with new companies like this helps us develop our own portfolio and learn new skills to create new and unique products, which is always very exciting for us.  Sutton Hospitality are working with a diverse and often newcomers to this and it is great being able to help people make good choices and watching development flourish.

What do you see for the future?

The future looks great, we know our products are the best and we know we can offer professional installations with a great after sales service, partnering with Sutton Hospitality means we can showcase our best products and with new ideas incorporated into the designs for their clients we can be at the forefront of some new and exciting projects and together we will deliver the best customer experience.

CASE STUDY 7: Splash Pools

How did you meet Andy Sutton?

We actually engaged with Andy & Sutton consultancy through a social media platform, with both companies within the leisure, lodge & the holiday park business we contacted Andy and team to try and create a working relationship as we knew both our platforms could have large potential working together.

Why did you choose to work with Sutton Hospitality Consultants?

Feeling that Sutton Hospitality are on the same high level as Splash Pools we knew choosing to work with Andy and the team would bring our great skills & contacts together. Working alongside like-minded people ensures that the end result of any job is at the highest standard possible for the customer. Not only can we produce a high-quality finish we can all work together to ensure we are ahead of everyone else in the market bringing you the best design and technology.

What is the partnership between both companies?

We will be working alongside Sutton Consultancy in developing parks and creating new high-end luxury leisure resorts within the UK market offering our hot tub and swimming pool services.

What do you see for the future?

We all see a positive future with our working relationship and the progression we can all make as a team within the UK’s leisure sector, Once you build and structure the process it flows on and on and builds and builds creating something very positive and worthwhile.