By William Coleman
This week will mark the beginning of the 2019 show season with the Manchester Caravan and Motorhome show kicking things of on the 17th and lasting until the 20th. As we enter the show season we are going to have a look at what to expect and what we are looking forward to.
Within the next month or so we will be attending 3 caravan and motorhome shows, the Manchester Caravan and Motorhome, the Scottish Caravan Motorhome and Holiday Home Show 7-10th of Feb and then the Caravan Camping And Motorhome show at the Birmingham NEC which will be from the 19th to the 24th of February, busy few weeks for us!
We will be doing our best to get all the news and scoops from each show all while trying to get some video footage to deliver to you guys on our site and across the our Facebook and Twitter. But what are we expecting to see and do?
One of the joys for us at CaravanTimes is that we get to report on the things we are passionate about, which means that these trips are both work and leisure all rolled into on, and a big part of reporting is taking part in the fun activities. All purely for research purposes of course.
Each show has so many highlights that it can be a task in itself to get them all done in the time you have, and it is for this reason we stay for multiple days at a time. As I write this we are currently planning our “to do list” for the Manchester show as we are only there for 2 days.
The Manchester show is cram packed with so many experiences and activities for the the season caravanner and the newcomer alike. If you are new to the idea of leisure vehicle holidays I would suggest taking advantage of things at the show such as:
The Towing Experience
Get a hands on real life experience of what it is like to be on the road with a caravan attached to the back your vehicle, well not your own personal one car but a state of the art brand new model.
I have taken part in a few of these to get a bit of a refresher and see if I have adopted any bad habits while towing, which are usually pointed out and then explained why it is not good to do.
The instructors are always so friendly and helpful that you almost forget that you’re towing, it quickly becomes second nature once you’re behind the wheel.
The motorhome can be quite an imposing site, especially when you’re getting in the driving seat for the first time. So if towing is not for you but you want to get into the lifestyle the motorhome is the next best thing, and you really shouldn’t worry.
A maneuvering course, which is free, will soon wash away any nerves you may have. It may even be the deciding factor in making a purchase at the show.
Just think of a motorhome as a large car with no rear view mirror, and in some cases they even have a reversing camera which gives you a much better field of vision than a rear view.
Another great thing about shows that we get in here the UK is the amount of holiday inspiration you can find. I have taken several trips off of the back of meeting people at the show and finding site networks that I was previously unaware of. So I would make it your mission to find one of these hidden gems at the show.
If you do want to find new holiday destinations or go further afield into Europe I would always recommend visiting a Caravan and Motorhome Club stand, even if you are not a member. They have so much info about the caravanning world that they can both inspire and advise, which costs nothing at all. Their membership starts at £52 per year, which you can save on a ferry crossing if you’re a Club member, and opens up one of the biggest network of sights in the UK, and abroad. Not only that but you get a whole raft of discounts that can pay for your membership several times over.
As well as meeting the holiday networks, dealers and manufacturers you also get a chance to see what kind of technology goes inside the vans and what the future holds.
Having spoke to the general public it seems that the decision to upgrade a van, or buy a new one, comes off of the back of meeting the Like of Truma, Alde, Whale, Thetford and Dometic, to name a few. After All if you are going to invest in a leisure vehicle you are going to want to know what you are getting for your money.
What We Like At The Shows
I always keep an eye out for what stand has the most traffic over the few days that I’m at a show. It’s not exactly a surprise that companies like Swift, CAMC, Bailey, Elddis and Coachman are always going to have a heavy amount of traffic flowing through them, but keep an eye out for the smaller stands too.
A key example of a smaller stand that gets a fantastic amount of footfall are the accessory stands. Take for example the Prima stand, which is usually a fraction of the size of your dealer stands, but comparatively has an enormous amount of people on stand and actually buying their products, not just browsing.
At last year’s October show we did a short video for them and we genuinely struggled getting on stand to film the products let alone pulling one of the guys away to do a short interview.
For me it’s all about the smaller stands and getting to know the companies that are the backbone of the industry. Yes the manufacturers like Bailey and site networks like the Caravan and Motorhome Club are vital but you find that it is the smaller companies that really do make show like this so much fun.
One last thing that I want to touch on is the amount of demonstrations there are at shows. From celebrity guest speakers to live cooking demos. From one trip to a show you can find a new site, van, location and recipe to make your next trip the getaway of a lifetime.