2020 AGM Questions and Answers

Can the Club start charging non-refundable booking deposits as some members are block-booking sites so that many sites are full months ahead?

As part of the new Overseas and UK sites booking engine programme we are reviewing our current payment terms and conditions in response to member feedback like yours. The first part of the programme introduced the ability for members to book at least one year in advance, removing 'Peak Booking Day' and providing members with an opportunity to make a booking much further in advance at their own leisure.

In the event that payment terms change, members will be involved in the process and, of course, notified of any changes in advance. Our ambition is to provide more availability to members by increasing the volume of certain bookings.

Question asked by Wayne Thomas, answered at the AGM

Please look at being able to book a certain pitch number so, as a two outfit ,we could holiday together, and not miles apart?

Our current policy is very much based on all Members being able to choose the pitch most suitable for their preferences from those that are available on arrival, with many members able to pitch near to one another by arriving at similar times. Having said this, we recognise that particularly during busy periods there are many members that would like to see a more flexible pitch booking policy in order to guarantee certain preferences, as even arriving at similar times sometimes doesn't allow adjacent pitching. In addition, we also recognise that this policy encourages Members to arrive as early as possible in order to choose their preferred pitch, which can sometimes cause congestion. We are currently exploring options in relation to this policy, and indeed the opportunity to specify hardstanding vs grass pitches is currently planned as a feature of our new UK sites booking engine, which we are expecting to be available in 2022.

Question by Denise Blackmore, answered at the AGM

Will a 3 month extension to all membership renewals be considered to compensate for the loss during the COVID pandemic site closures?

We have thought long and hard about this scenario and believe that the best thing we can do for the longevity of the Club and the membership as a whole is to ask that members continue with their membership and support the Club by renewing their membership when it is due if they are able to.

Although the Club has put in place prudent measures over the past number of years and also taken advantage of the financial support provided by the Government, neither can make up for the loss in revenue the Club has experienced in the past few months.

By supporting your Club, and maintaining your membership, you will play a vital role in safeguarding its future and ensuring our wonderful Club remains wonderful for the next 100 years.

Question by Dennis Bacon, answered at the AGM

We all know the Club's WiFi is poor. Would the Club consider providing an effective and free at the point of use WiFi facility at all of its sites?

Over the past 10 years the Club has invested heavily in its WiFi provision to provide members with the best possible service at the most affordable price. In the past 5 years the sites network has taken advantage of improvements in technology by upgrading over 70 sites to Fast Fibre Broadband, but this doesn't yet apply to all sites, as rural broadband coverage in the UK remains patchy. We know from our member surveys and feedback that mobile coverage and WiFi provision are becoming key decision factors for members when choosing their next touring location. I am pleased to confirm that our IT team is leading a Nationwide project with a number of external providers to further improve the WiFi speed and provision on our sites network.

The WiFi project is prioritising a better performing quality WiFi service. We will of course continue to review how we can make the provision of WiFi on sites for members as cost effective as possible. You are able to access the Club website (for checking bookings and so on) for free at any site.

Question by Tom Cunliffe, answered at the AGM

Given the Club has claimed it wishes to maximise revenue, why has it left some sites closed with furloughed staff on them?

Whilst the majority of our campsites reopened, there were a small number that remained closed. There are several reasons for this. Sadly, because we were required to close our sites in March we had not been able to carry out our usual induction and training programme for new assistant site managers at the start of the season; we also have some staff who are clinically vulnerable and it was not deemed safe for them or volunteer staff to work. In addition, some campsites on racecourses and other facilities could not be opened because the landlords’ or owners’ facilities and accesses were closed. We therefore allocated our teams to the campsites with most occupancy taking the above into account to maximise availability for Members.

Question by Terry Larrett, answered at the AGM

Is the Club taking seriously the cost of electric within its charges bearing in mind it isn't yet a totally green source of energy?

The cost of electricity is one of the single highest operating costs within the Club and one that receives a significant amount of attention to not only procure at a competitive price but also consider how the Club can be more efficient and drive down consumption where appropriate. Currently electricity procurement is 100% green electricity from renewable sources.

Question by Eric Marchbanks, answered at the AGM

When will the Club website be brought up to modern day, 21st century standards, with regards to speed, searchability and excessive down time?

The new booking engine programme will be introducing a new map-based ‘search and book’ website and booking App over the next 12 to 18 months. This will make it far easier for members to see the location, availability and price of booking a UK Site. The journey will be very similar to the online overseas sites and ferry journey introduced in 2019.

2020 has been an unusual year in many ways, not least of which for the volume of members wanting more information and to make a booking via our website. Once sites were able to reopen in July, our web traffic jumped dramatically at some times by over 100%, causing some initial speed and stability challenges during July and into August. These traffic levels were almost twice that of our normal busiest periods, but we've worked to upgrade and improve our resilience, which we achieved by mid-August. And we continue to invest in deploying improvements to the websites to make sure they keep up-to-date with the demands of users and search engines like Google and Bing.

Questions by Richard Wetherill, answered at the AGM

The Club Mobile App. When will it be updated to allow you to leave a review of a site, or see the ratings of a site and see the prices of CL sites?

The UK Site Booking App will be replaced as part of the new booking engine programme over the next 12 to 18 months. Members will be able to see site prices and review ratings. For the majority of CLs, indicative prices are displayed within the App. The only instances of a CL not presenting a price in the App would be where the CL has not provided the Club with a price. In the future we will look to enable members to leave a review rating through the App, however this is likely to follow within 18 to 24 months. In the meantime members will be invited to leave reviews on the Club website.

Question by Ted Howard-Jones, answered at the AGM

Having been on a Club site where the number of dogs seemed to at least equal the number of members, has the club any plans to start charging for them?

We know that members and guests view their pets as part of the family. At this moment we are not planning any additional charges for pets staying on our sites in their owners outfit, however we do charge for pets staying in our glamping accommodation with Experience Freedom as we have additional costs associated with every stay.

Questions by David G Willdigg, answered at the AGM 

What is the Club doing to improve the diversity and inclusivity of the Club Council (especially the Executive) and the Board of Directors?

We welcome and encourage applications for all roles in the Club from people of all backgrounds and interests. There is always more to be done in this area but the Club overall does better than many employers. For example it has only a small gender pay gap of 3% and that is in favour of women. Diversity on the Executive Committee and senior staff is of course very important and we continue to welcome new appointees with the right skills and diversity of views and perspectives. In the Club, diversity also means diversity of experience of the club and its services so we look also for a spread of experience in use of caravans, motorhomes, campervans, UK and overseas travel, club sites, CLs, rally and event usage.

Questions by Alex Jones, answered at the AGM

I understand the Club has recognised the need for "UK type Aires" How and when does the Club intend to progress this?

For many years we have been conducting member insight surveys to understand the differing needs of all our members and how we may address the needs of differing segments within the membership. At the beginning of this year we commenced an exploration as to whether this is something we could viably offer. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, this project is currently temporarily suspended, however it is planned to re-initiate in 2021. This remains a complex area as local authorities provide this service in Europe but there is no statutory system or obligation for authorities to cater for tourism in the U.K. and many local authorities do not have the available capital. In the U.K. our Certificated Location licensing system can be used for this and we are constantly looking to develop the number of CLs within our network. However, it is highly likely there would be modest charges for these as they are privately owned and operated.

Question by Peter Dolphin 

Please consider sending member-wide emails re important changes to sites and booking (e.g arrival times, sudden closures etc).

We regularly send emails to all those members who have a future booking advising them of the latest guidance for arriving at our Club campsites. When the Govt issues key changes to advice / guidance which we feel requires a member wide communication we will communicate to all members (as we did on Friday 16th October) and where time is of the essence, we are now utilising SMS messages to members affected by sudden changes to Govt advice which impact club campsites i.e. recent closures at Southport, Tredegar House etc.

Question by Kathleen Robinson 

Can motorhome service bays on Club sites be upgraded to avoid having to lift heavy manhole covers to empty grey water?

As you can appreciate, we are unable to upgrade all of our existing MVWP across the network in one year, however we do already have a rolling programme of upgrading these facilities. So far we have upgraded MVWP at 104 sites, with 14 sites left to deliver over the coming few years. There are 42 sites which are still under consideration due to existing land ownership and lease length matters.

Question by Peter Swinyard

Why is the WiFi still so so poor at your sites. Really no excuse in these times. Needs addressing

Over the past 10 years the Club has invested heavily in its WiFi provision to provide members with the best possible service at the most affordable price. In the past 5 years the sites network has taken advantage of improvements in technology by upgrading over 70 sites to Fast Fibre Broadband, but this doesn't yet apply to all sites, as rural broadband coverage in the UK remains patchy. We know from our member surveys and feedback that mobile coverage and WiFi provision are becoming key decision factors for members when choosing their next touring location. I am pleased to confirm that our IT team is leading a Nationwide project with a number of external providers to further improve the WiFi speed and provision on our sites network.

The WiFi project is prioritising a better performing quality WiFi service. We will of course continue to review how we can make the provision of WiFi on sites for members as cost effective as possible. You are able to access the Club website (for checking bookings and so on) for free at any site.

Question by Deborah Turner 

Please can the Club make it simple for members to leave reviews of sites and CLs, and show them on the app.

The UK Site Booking App will be replaced as part of the new booking engine programme over the next 12 to 18 months. Members will be able to see site prices and review ratings. For the majority of CLs, indicative prices are displayed within the App. The only instances of a CL not presenting a price in the App would be where the CL has not provided the Club with a price. In the future we will look to enable members to leave a review rating through the App, however this is likely to follow within 18 to 24 months. In the meantime members will be invited to leave reviews on the Club website.

Question by Lynn Pearcey 

More reminders and enforcement of the 5 mph on site speed limit please.

Thank you - your comment has been noted, and we will look at further ways we can strengthen this message.

Comment from Michael Rome

Subject to local Covid lockdown rules, can it be better-communicated that some Club sites & CLs can offer to host key workers & vulnerable people.

We're very proud to say that during the initial lockdown period, we supported approximately 100 key workers and vulnerable people at our sites across the UK. As you can imagine, the number of people that are legitimately eligible under these categories are an incredibly low percentage of our membership, however as and when required, we positively engage with those on our sites that need to remain, and manage this on an individual need basis.

Question by Ian Kelly

Can more sites in Scotland be kept open through winter months? For example, Ayr, Maragowan and Yellowcraig.

Our open all year and extended season sites are based on a combination of demand levels and also lease or planning restrictions. We currently have 6 of our 20 Club and Affiliated sites (35%) in Scotland open all year, which is representative of the wider Club Site network.

Question by Kevin Hamilton

Few sites open in winter in Scotland, this year, as a trial can Forfar be added, central and on a good rd? Now seems a good time to give it a try?

Thank you for the suggestion. In the past it has not been cost effective to keep this site open during the winter but we will take the opportunity to revisit this. Our open all year and extended season sites are based on a combination of demand levels and also lease or planning restrictions. We currently have 6 of our 20 Club and Affiliated sites (35%) in Scotland open all year, which is representative of the wider Club Site network.

Question by Alison Ritchie

Can Club explore options to restrict block bookings eg, max number of pre-bookings, max of penalty free cancellations, etc as opposed to deposits.

Whilst there are many thousands of cancellations and amendments each year, the vast majority of these are made by the vast majority of members, ie not simply made by a minority of members making high volumes of bookings (so called block bookers). This is why the Club is now investigating methods aimed at improving the booking experience of members, including the introduction of deposits, coupled with new cancellation rules.

Whilst undoubtedly the Club, and therefore members, lose revenue as a result of high volumes of cancellations, many of the cancelled bookings are resold. However, we accept that this does not make it desirable, which is why we support the ambition to provide more availability to members by reducing the volume of less certain bookings, and why we will do something about it.

Question by Grant Thomson 

On the web site and app, to have the option of selecting sites that exclude adult only so those with children don’t have to search CLs that are adult only.

The vast majority of Sites, including Club Sites, Affiliated Sites and CLs welcome all members. Therefore the Club's booking systems do not currently have a filter to show only the minority of adult only CL sites. However, the Club will investigate this further and consider whether the filter can be added to the new booking engine and new App to be introduced within the next 12 to 18 months.

Question by James Butler

Do the Caravan and Motorhome Club have any intention of extending membership period to loyal members to compensate for lockdown period?

We have thought long and hard about this scenario and believe that the best thing we can do for the longevity of the Club and the membership as a whole is to ask that members continue with their membership and support the Club by renewing their membership when it is due if they are able to.

Although the Club has put in place prudent measures over the past number of years and also taken advantage of the financial support provided by the Government, neither can make up for the loss in revenue the Club has experienced in the past few months.

By supporting your Club, and maintaining your membership, you will play a vital role in safeguarding its future and ensuring our wonderful Club remains wonderful for the next 100 years.

Question by Sue Bishop

As well as charging for dogs, a restriction on the number in one unit would be appreciated or dog free areas

We know that members and guests view their pets as part of the family. At this moment we are not planning any restrictions or additional charges for pets staying on our sites in their owners’ outfit, however we do charge for pets staying in our glamping accommodation with Experience Freedom as we have additional costs associated with every stay.

Question by Ian Harvey

Could we have a bigger presence of C&MC sites in South West Wales? Currently we only have Freshwater East, Gowerton and Pembrey.

We actively explore acquisition and development opportunities as and when they become available, although in recent times there have not been any meaningful opportunities suitable for the Club in South West Wales. Having said this, from a geographical perspective, South Wales is well served by Club sites at St Davids, Freshwater East, Pembrey Country Park, Gowerton, Tredegar House, Pandy, Brecon Beacons & Aberbran. In addition, there are also just over 100 Certificated Locations available to our Members within this area.

Question by Andrew James Crawford 

Can we keep members safe with new rules, manage sites to stay open in local lockdowns with local people only staying in a site within the local area

All our sites are currently operating under our COVID Secure commitment, with protocols in place to ensure we are compliant with all of the latest Government guidance, and keeping our Members as safe as possible whilst on site. We are very proud to say we have received a number of local authority and Visit England audits, all of which have been incredibly complimentary recognising our processes as robust, and appropriate for our environment.

We do currently allow members who live in aTier 3 area in England to stay on Club sites in the same area. As all 4 UK countries have differing regulations, it’s not always easy to get the right message out to individual members residing in various parts of the UK. Our main website now has a latest information webpage that is continually updated with information on how our sites in all parts of the UK are being affected by the COVID situation and we would advise all members to check it regularly - www.camc.com/uk-holidays/reopening-our-campsites 

Why can't pitches be pre-allocated based on unit to stop the 12 noon rush? It would also mean units don't arrive to find no suitable pitches?

Our current policy is very much based on all Members being able to choose the pitch most suitable for their preferences from those that are available on arrival, with many members able to pitch near to one another by arriving at similar times. Having said this, we recognise that particularly during busy periods there are many members that would like to see a more flexible pitch booking policy in order to guarantee certain preferences, as even arriving at similar times sometimes doesn't allow adjacent pitching.

In addition, we also recognise that this policy encourages Members to arrive as early as possible in order to choose their preferred pitch, which can sometimes cause congestion. We are currently exploring options in relation to this policy, and indeed the opportunity to specify hardstanding vs grass pitches is currently planned as a feature of our new UK sites booking engine, which we are expecting to be available in 2022.

Question by Suzanne Jones

I am happy with the current booking system and wouldn’t want to see non-refundable deposits brought in.

Thank you, your comment has been noted. There are a wide range of views on this topic as other questions and feedback show.

Comment by Michael Rome

Would the Club consider an initiative to increase the numbers of CL's in Scotland with EHU and shower/toilet facilities? Current numbers are very low.

CLs are owned and managed by the landowner. It is therefore the landowner's decision as to whether or not they wish to invest their money in providing EHU and shower & toilet block facilities. Currently 83% of our CL's in Scotland provide EHU facilities, 36% toilet facilities and 23% shower facilities.

We are continually looking to improve our engagement and communication with our Certificated Locations in order to help them make decisions with regard to facility upgrades, and would hope that these numbers may improve as time passes.

Question by Alison Ravenscroft 

To reduce noise on sites and address environmental concerns, what proposals has the club for all-electric site maintenance equipment and vehicles?

The Club is already trialling a number of electrical equipment alternatives within the site network. These are currently under evaluation, and if successful, we will look to expand their usage across the network on a replacement basis.

Question by Stephen Twist

The C&CC and virtually all commercial campsites allow you to book a hardstanding pitch, when is the Club going to do the same and if not why not?

Our current policy is very much based on all Members being able to choose the pitch most suitable for their preferences from those that are available on arrival, with many members able to pitch near to one another by arriving at similar times. Having said this, we recognise that particularly during busy periods there are many members that would like to see a more flexible pitch booking policy in order to guarantee certain preferences, as even arriving at similar times sometimes doesn't allow adjacent pitching. In addition, we also recognise that this policy encourages Members to arrive as early as possible in order to choose their preferred pitch, which can sometimes cause congestion. We are currently exploring options in relation to this policy, and indeed the opportunity to specify hardstanding vs grass pitches is currently planned as a feature of our new UK sites booking engine, which we are expecting to be available in 2022.

Question by David Klyne

Having no access to insurance products & ferry discounts would the Club consider providing a reduced members fee to those not resident in the UK & NI?

We currently have a member offer with Aviva in Ireland enabling members to receive 10% off car and home insurance.

Members are entitled to their discounted ferry rates regardless of where they reside. However, in a number of instances the ferry operator's discounts are set up by them based on UK outbound originating journeys and they themselves have different prices often for journeys originating on the continent or from Ireland. Where difficulties are encountered please contact the travel services team and we will check the specific situation with the specific operator.

Question by Colin McCarthy

Can we have non-refundable deposits taken when we book a pitch, as some members are booking different sites for same dates

It is not possible to book two sites for the same date under one membership. As part of the new Overseas and UK sites booking engine programme we are reviewing our current payment terms and conditions in response to member feedback like yours.

The first part of the programme introduced the ability for members to book at least oneyear in advance, removing 'Peak Booking Day' and providing members with an opportunity to make a booking much further in advance at their own leisure. In the event that payment terms change, members will be involved in the process and, of course, notified of any changes in advance. Our ambition is to provide more availability to members by increasing the volume of certain bookings.

Question by Stephen John Dicken 

The Club must consider taking a deposit for booking weekends. Just look at the site bookings for 2021, people are block booking, then cancelling.

As part of the new Overseas and UK sites booking engine programme we are reviewing our current payment terms and conditions in response to member feedback like yours. The first part of the programme introduced the ability for members to book at least one year in advance, removing 'Peak Booking Day' and providing members with an opportunity to make a booking much further in advance at their own leisure. In the event that payment terms change, members will be involved in the process and, of course, notified of any changes in advance. Our ambition is to provide more availability to members by increasing the volume of certain bookings.

Question by Stuart Proud

To ease the rush to get on site as early as possible can the Club pre-allocate pitches and allow requests for adjacent pitches if available

Our current policy is very much based on all Members being able to choose the pitch most suitable for their preferences from those that are available on arrival, with many members able to pitch near to one another by arriving at similar times. Having said this, we recognise that particularly during busy periods there are many members that would like to see a more flexible pitch booking policy in order to guarantee certain preferences, as even arriving at similar times sometimes doesn't allow adjacent pitching. In addition, we also recognise that this policy encourages Members to arrive as early as possible in order to choose their preferred pitch, which can sometimes cause congestion. We are currently exploring options in relation to this policy, and indeed the opportunity to specify hardstanding vs grass pitches is currently planned as a feature of our new UK sites booking engine, which we are expecting to be available in 2022.

Question by Alison Gywnn

Why are kids play areas on site being removed (eg Buxton) rather than upgraded? Need more family-friendly facilities as children are the future....

There is no strategy to remove kids play areas across our sites network. Indeed at sites like Treamble Valley and Scarborough West Ayton we have introduced supersized play areas. In some isolated incidences, due to the core demographic of Members utilising particular sites, there may be occasions where when developing sites we may look to change the additional services provisioned within it. In addition, with particular reference to Buxton, it is located directly next to a country park, with large amounts of open space.

Questions by Rob Forrest

Why is the club relying more on Facebook rather than upgrading and improving the in house web site for communications with members?

The Club uses all its communications channels to get messages out to its members. Social Media has grown exponentially over the past few years and we know our members value its use for both broadcasting important messages and to respond quickly to member queries. We also know that our Club Together site is well regarded and used consistently by our members and our other guests. It’s been some time since we introduced the site and we recognise that it could be better, so we are in the process of looking at how we can update it and improve the member experience. We hope to conclude this work in 2021.

Question by Heather Hawkins

How many cancellations occur in the site network & how many pitches remain unfilled due to block bookings? Is there lost revenue due to this practice?

Since reopening in July 2020 UK Club Sites have proven very popular with members with bookings at record high levels. At times this has challenged availability for members so we understand why there may be some frustration regarding the Club's current highly flexible booking policy.

Whilst there are many thousands of cancellations and amendments each year, the vast majority of these are made by the vast majority of members, ie not simply made by a minority of members making high volumes of bookings (so called block bookers). This is why the Club is now investigating methods aimed at improving the booking experience of members, including the introduction of deposits, coupled with new cancellation rules.

Whilst undoubtedly the Club, and therefore members, lose revenue as a result of high volumes of cancellations, many of the cancelled bookings are resold. However, we accept that this does not make it desirable, which is why we support the ambition to provide more availability to members by reducing the volume of less certain bookings, and why we will do something about it.

Question by David Lovett