The CaravanTimes Editors First Year In Review

Me and my odd smile after a year of being the CaravanTimes Editor

By William Coleman

Having joined the CaravanTimes team last September I was totally surprised how quickly my first year has gone. It has been a year of many different experiences from travelling around the UK seeing everything the industry has to offer to driving almost vertically up hill in the Albanian mountains in a Bailey Advance and getting stuck in no man’s land for for 15 hours. It has been a real roller coaster of a year.

My first week was pretty much a trial by fire. Day 3 and there I was placed in front of a camera reviewing the Mercedes Marco Polo, and just like that I became the literal face of CaravanTimes. Editor, journalist and presenter all in one small package. Since then I have actually become quite comfortable on camera which means you will always see my face, sorry for that.

Shortly after taking over the editorial desk I learned that the touring industry was a lot bigger than I had previously thought. Yes, I kept an eye on the industry and took caravan holidays year in year out but I was blissfully unaware just how huge it was and how much money it generates the UK economy. 2017 being one of the biggest years in the industry with a record amount of leisure vehicles being sold.

The biggest example of just how big it was is the NEC show in October and February. A few weeks into job the team spent a week in Birmingham filming a video special newsletter for exhibitors to show you lovely readers some highlights before you headed up, or down, to the show.

I had never seen so many motorhomes, statics, tents, trailers tents, campers and caravans under one roof, it really was a great learning experience. It was at the NEC where I got to meet the Caravan And Motorhome Team who are a great bunch and really do seem like they just want to provide a good service.

So now that I had the presenting and my first NEC under my belt I was starting become very comfortable reporting on the news and stories of the touring industry. And not long after the NEC I was going to be offered the an experience of a lifetime.

A large part of CaravanTimes is making exclusive content for both our readers and manufacturers within the motorhome and caravan industry. One of those manufacturers that CaravanTimes has a good relationship is Bailey of Bristol, a team I had yet to meet. We went to have a meeting with the Bailey team regarding some coverage they would like from a trip they have coming up. All I thought was going to happen is me receiving some weekley press releases to then create articles from.

Before I knew it, and out of the blue, I was being offered a spot on Bailey’s Bristanbul tour. I can openly admit now that I was a bit worried about accepting the offer. I had never driven on the other side of the road, let alone towing a vehicle and staying part of a convoy on very unfamiliar roads. After a quick thought I knew that I would be crazy not to accept this phenomenal offer.

The tour was absolutely amazing. Not only did I get to meet people from all aspects of the caravan industry but I had some crash courses in some very unique towing situations. The best part of the tour was seeing so many countries from a very unique perspective. 21 countries travelled in 21 days, absolutely fantastic.

Travelling across Europe and seeing what touring on the continent is like was very eye opening. What stood out to me was just how different each site was from the next. I have been to lots of sites across the UK that all follow a certain generic pattern, but the sites across Europe and Asia we visited were all totally unique. There were so many highlights, and lowlights, on this trip that I could write about it for days on end. But instead of that I will just place a link for you to watch the videos we made while on the tour, Part 1 and Part 2. If another trip comes up I will certainly be throwing my name in the hat to go again.

The last year has sent me all around Europe, which was amazing, but it is the trips in the UK that I love the most. I been to every corner of the UK visiting sites, reviewing leisure vehicles and meeting manufacturers and dealers. The one thing that has stood out is just how many people in the UK love to take caravan holidays.

During the colder winter months all the sites I visited were between 75-100% booked up. So it seems that the weather does not put the UK holiday maker of off winter touring. It was at that point I was invited BBC Radio Wales for an interview on winter touring. Another career first for me which was a great experience.

Learning about everything the industry has to offer is quite a large learning curve. Having used touring products for most of my life I soon learnt that I really do not know as much as I thought I did. Meeting Truma, CAMC, Whale Pumps, Marquis Leisure and many more really does give you a very different view of the industry. I had previously been a consumer so I looked at things from that angle. Now understanding the design and business side of thing I have a totally new understanding of just how much work goes into providing us the perfect holiday experience.

So now a year on I am preparing for the next NEC show in a few weeks I am going into the UK’s biggest show a lot more prepared than before. It really is mad just how much difference a year of learning can make. So I hope everyone has enjoyed my first year as much as I have and I look forward to many more.

Now that I have my first year in the bag I would love to hear from you guys about the content you have enjoyed as well as anything you have not enjoyed. We always appreciate any kind of feedback and would love to hear any ideas you may have or content you’d like to see.