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CLAIRE JEAVONS: Firmly established on the tourism map

By Herald Express  |  Posted: April 17, 2014

POOLSIDE:  Claire Jeavons at Beverley Holidays in Paignton Andy Styles TQAS20140317F-04_C

POOLSIDE: Claire Jeavons at Beverley Holidays in Paignton Andy Styles TQAS20140317F-04_C

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Beverly Holidays was set up by the Jeavons family in 1959 and they have successfully been running the holiday park for 55 years. Claire Jeavons is from the third generation.

Q How did you come to join the company?

A My grandfather bought the land to set up Beverley Park 55 years ago and I worked in various departments on the holiday park throughout my childhood. I later went on to train as a teacher, specialising in physical education and mathematics in secondary schools based in both London and Sydney.

I then went on to undertake a post-graduate business course at Sydney University but my love of the English Riviera brought me back to the Bay in 2002.

I re-joined the family business and now run the busy marketing department for Beverley Holidays and Whitehill Country Park.

Q What was the company like then?

A Very, very different! Beverley Holidays has greatly changed over the years.

Starting with just a handful of tents and caravans, alongside a small shop on Beverley Park, we have grown dramatically and now have a number of parks operating under the Beverley Holidays banner.

We also bought Whitehill Farm in 2003 which we re-opened as Whitehill Country Park in 2004.

I have seen lots of new exciting facilities built over the years, such as the tropical indoor pool at the Oasis Centre, as well as lots of refurbishments throughout the parks. One thing that has stayed the same is my family's passion and pride in offering high-quality facilities and unsurpassed customer service.

Q What has been the company's greatest achievement?

A We are very proud of our holiday park and there are too many achievements to single out just one! In 1975, we were just one of five holidays parks in the country to achieve five-star status and we have seen a string of awards since including winning the European Alan Rogers Readers Award for 2013, consistently being voted one of the best parks in the UK by Practical Caravan, Practical Motorhome, MMM and Caravan Magazines, in addition to earning a gold for the David Bellamy Conservation Award.

Above all, the fact that Beverley Holidays has been running for more than 55 years is testament to how our holiday park has stood the test of time in a tough economic climate.

Q What's next for the company?

A We constantly strive to be one of the top parks in the UK.

My grandfather Stan, along with my father Alan and his two brothers Peter and Michael, have always looked ahead to make positive changes and I think this is vital for any successful business.

Most recently, we have put camping pods and wooden caravans on Whitehill, which goes with the latest glamping trend.

At Beverley, we have new outdoor hot tubs in our luxury lodges as well as new holiday caravans.

This year Beverley Holidays has undergone a major new re-branding, beginning with the simplifying of our park area names to Beverley Park, Beverley View (formerly Meadowside Lodges) and Beverley Bay (formerly Ashvale) to create greater unity.

As part of this, we have enhanced our entertainment offerings to provide even more variety and wider choice with a new style of entertainment across Beverley Bay and Beverley Park, whereby we have created two distinct venues that complement one another by providing something to suit all tastes.

Q Who has been your most significant mentor?

A I have been lucky enough to work with many different people and I feel you can gain so much knowledge from working with people who inspire you.

Q What major challenges have you faced?

Poor weather and a weak economy can have a big impact on our bookings and we have had to work extremely hard to counteract this.

Our main challenge is to make sure we keep things fresh and exciting to retain our existing customers as well as attract new visitors. We work hard at exceeding our customer expectations and we often visit other parks nationally to make sure we stay ahead of the competition.

Q How do you keep enthused and keep things fresh?

A How holidaymakers plan, book and take their holiday is constantly changing and there are always new things you need to consider and adapt to. Reading customer reviews can be so rewarding and a great source of inspiration too. I am a big traveller and I love to visit new places and experience new things, and this certainly helps me to both relax and gain new ideas.

Q What awards have you (or the company) won?

A We are proud to have won many local and international awards, both industry specific and general. Last year we achieved:

European Readers Award 2013 (winner) — Alan Rogers

Top 100 Sites 2013 – Practical Caravan and Practical Motorhome

Devon 2013 (runner up) — Hoseasons

Outstanding Customer Service 2013 (silver) — Visit Devon

Conservation 2013 (gold) — David Bellamy

Five stars — Visit England

We are also members of the most prestigious groups in our industry, 'Best of British Touring and Holiday Parks' and 'Premier Parks', where you are considered to be of a specific high quality to join.

Q What other organisations are you involved with?

A I work closely other holiday parks and tourism organisations across the country. I am chairman of the Best of British Holiday and Touring Parks group, which is a UK-wide marking consortium for quality five-star holiday parks, and I have actively worked with the group for more than five years. I am also a board director for the English Riviera Tourism Company.

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