Park Leisure names Richard Bates as new CEO

UK: Luxury holiday park provider Park Leisure has appointed Richard Bates as its new chief executive officer.

Bates joins Park Leisure with 30 years of industry experience, including 16 years at Haven Holidays. He previously held the managing director role at both Butlins and Warner Leisure Holidays.

Following a challenging start to the year due to the Covid-19 lockdown, the staycation industry has recently bounced back, however, with Park Leisure achieving a 47 per cent increase in the sale of caravans and lodges for customers looking for a permanent all year-round holiday home. It also had a 74 per cent increase in short break holidaymaker bookings across its eleven luxury holiday parks between 1 June and 31 August 2020, compared to the same time period in 2019.

At a time of uncertainty regarding international travel, Park Leisure’s UK-based holiday parks with self-contained accommodation and social distancing measures in place offer families the opportunity to purchase a holiday home that they can access all year round whilst feeling safe and secure.

Commenting on Bates’ appointment, Park Leisure chairman Andrew Bracey said: “I am delighted that we have been able to attract a CEO of Richard’s calibre to Park Leisure. He has a wealth of experience in the sector and I look forward to working with him as we take Park Leisure to the next stage of its development.”

Bates said: “I am very pleased to be joining Park Leisure at this exciting time. The business has a unique five-star business model and is recovering well following the restrictions, offering families a true sense of safety and security in uncertain times for travel.

“I look forward to working with the team to complete this recovery and further develop the huge potential in the business, to the benefit of all our stakeholders,” he added.

With predictions of continued industry growth through the autumn and winter months, Park Leisure’s pet-friendly countryside and coastal sites across the UK, which are open all year round, are heading towards full capacity in September. It also reported that October – December bookings were filling up quickly, with families looking for half-term and Christmas getaways.

The company has reported a 47 per cent increase in sales of its luxury caravans since June 2020, suggesting that an increasing number of people are ready to invest in holiday home ownership amid the uncertainty of the current travel climate.

Park Leisure sales director Christian Tyldesley said: “We’re delighted to see more and more customers investing in a lifetime of holidays with their very own holiday home on park. Having seen a 47 per cent increase in caravan sales, we’re extremely optimistic that this growth will continue, as more people look towards booking the perfect UK holiday for their families.”