An independent agent left ‘devastated’ after UK operators changed their policies, leaving her unable to sell them, has set up her own holiday lettings business.
Mair Jones, who owns Bordessa Holidays in Carmarthen, Wales, with partner Chris, has sold UK breaks for regular clients for years, with Hoseasons and Haven being best sellers.
But last year, Hoseasons closed its bookings to agents – saying it needed to concentrate on rebooking existing customers – and Haven went direct-sell.
Hoseasons then reinstated its sales through the trade, but insisted holidays must be paid in full at time of booking, which Mair said put clients off.
Rather than lose regular clients, the couple bought a caravan on Wales’ biggest holiday park, Trecco Bay. Chris’ mother bought a caravan at the same time, and they launched a side-line business, Bordessa Caravans.
The caravans quickly became fully booked until the end of September 2021, so Mair and Chris bought a third caravan last week.
Not only is the lettings business an extra form of income, but Bordessa Caravans has also introduced new customers to the Bordessa Holidays agency.
Recently, a family of six booked a caravan break, then booked a holiday to Turkey for 2022 a week later.
Mair said: “I’ve sold Hoseasons for many years and booked many caravans for clients. Haven has also been really popular with customers.
“I was absolutely devastated and really disappointed when Hoseasons changed its policy. We used to sell so much Hoseasons product.
“In desperation last year, I just said, half-jokingly, that we should just get a caravan in Trecco Bay and sell breaks there. Trecco Bay has always been really popular among my clients.
“The next thing I know we were at Trecco Bay, we saw a caravan we liked, and we bought it. My mother-in-law had bought one two weeks earlier.
“That was at the end of September 2021 but, because of lockdown, we couldn’t do anything until November. After that, we were able to go in and we got the caravan looking amazing. We were fully booked for December – until Wales went into lockdown on 19 December.
“We reopened in mid-March and it was so popular that my mother-in-law said we could use hers too. By April, they both became fully booked, so we’ve just bought a third.
“My mother-in-law lives nearby and is our cleaner. She goes twice a week.
“We chose Trecco Bay because owner Parkdean Resorts is doing a £2.6m investment in the park. It’s not far from Barry Island and there’s lots to do around the area.
“At the moment, it’s a little something on the side, but we may expand further. One owner I have got to know has 18 caravans at Trecco Bay.”
She added: “We will now push our three caravans as exclusive luxury Bordessa Caravans with extras such as Netflix, Disney Plus, Playstations, coffee machines and 5G, first – as we want to attract a higher clientele.”