The aim of this report is to identify, analyse and discuss various aspects of the placement organisation the author has chosen – Eurocamp. It should give a detailed account of the marketing, customer care, tourism research, accounting and financial management, organisational structure, human resources, health and safety, information technology and any other techniques used by the company. A job description and role in the organisation are also included in this report.
Eurocamp was founded in 1973 by Alan Goulding. The business was a family run business based in Knutsford, Cheshire. It offered camping holidays in Brittany, France. In 1981 the company was sold to a retail group called Combined English Stores plc. (Evans, 2003).
Tourists grew interested in the type of holidays the company were offering in France, which lead to the expansion of the UK market and the addition of mobile homes as another form of accommodation. A wider range of destinations were developed outside of France, for example, Spain, Italy, Denmark, Holland, etc. Since then the business has continued to grow and expand. (Eurocamp, 2018).
In the early 1990’s Eurocamp became a sister company to Keycamp and decided to join together under the one name Holidaybreak plc. Both brands offered the same type of holidays to their customers and shared the same core values at the centre of their businesses. Eurocamp and Keycamp fall under Holidaybreak plc’s camping division. The camping division had an annual turnover of £113.7 million in 2005. (Holidaybreak Plc, 2005).
Throughout the 2000’s, Holidaybreak acquired multiple travel companies which allowed them to expand into other niches in the tourism industry. Holidaybreak continued down this path of acquiring various companies, which lead to 2011, when the company itself was acquired by Cox ; Kings, an Indian based company that is recognised as one of the world’s leading tour operators. (Holidaybreak Limited, 2018).
Eurocamp then became a part of the Homair Vacances Group, a French travel company that specialises in outdoor holidays. The group manages approximately 15,000 mobile homes, which are located in around 300 campgrounds throughout France, Spain, and Italy, etc. The group made a revenue of €71 million in 2013. (Homair Vacances, 2014).
Eurocamp are in control of around 15,000 mobile homes in over 300 different locations around Europe. This caused marketing to be time consuming and quite expensive as the company had such a large amount of areas to cover. The company sent customers information packs prior to their holiday, which gave them all the information they needed for their stay. These packs included information on the park the customer was staying in, information on the local areas surrounding the park and information about the company itself.
Eurocamp customers have the option of booking stays in different parks during the same holiday as long as they stay 3 consecutive nights in one park. This is also very difficult for the company as the parks could be in separate countries, this causes the mailing schedule to again become time consuming.
In order to resolve this issue Eurocamp began working with Gecko, a direct mail marketing agency based in Leeds in the United Kingdom, to help improve the way customers receive the information they need for their stay. Both companies worked together to devise a Personal information booklet. This booklet includes information about Eurocamp and the parks in which the customer is going to be staying. Gecko used Eurocamp’s reservation system to combine customer details with other information such as the type of accommodation the customers were staying in, to create a fully personal booklet. The booklet could be mailed to the customer or emailed prior to the holiday. (Mylan, 2016)
In my own opinion, because the company has a number of parks in a number of different countries, it makes a lot of sense to email the customers their information booklets. This is down to the fact that it would be cheaper for the company and less time consuming as it could be sent with the touch of a button. Customers also wouldn’t have to wait for their booklet to arrive in the post.
It takes a customer 90 seconds to make an impression of the workers and the company. It is because of this the Eurocamp expects couriers to present themselves in a neat and friendly manner in order to make a lasting impression. Speaking clearly, keeping eye contact and using open hand gestures can influence the customers impression of a courier.
Greeting customers is very important as this is the first meeting between the customer and the couriers. Having a smile and handshake for when the customer arrives, asking questions such as how did you find your journey? or making general conversation and giving them the relevant information of the site and their accommodation all contribute to the overall opinion the customer will have of the company.
Dealing with complaints and problems is another part of customer care. Eurocamp see a complaint as an opportunity to improve their service rather than a failure. When a customer complains the company expects the couriers to follow a procedure in order to deal with the problem. The procedure is called LAST – listen, apologise, solve and track. Firstly, show an interest in the problem and listen carefully to find the main points that need to be addressed. Take responsibility for what has gone wrong and don’t pass the blame onto another member of the team or company. Apologise and give a solution or multiple solutions to the customer and check if it is satisfactory. Once all of this is done the courier is then expected to go back and double check the level of satisfaction of the customer.
Eurocamp uses the departure visits as an indication of how satisfied the customer was with the standard of their holiday. Couriers speak with customers the night before they are due to leave, asking questions and finding out information needed to make improvements. This is essentially one way the company researches how they are doing in terms of delivering a great service. Another way the company finds out the relevant information is through surveying the customers once they have departed. This survey is done through email and customers are invited to be as honest as possible. Reviews can also be written on the website and shared even if they are negative. Eurocamp does not remove any of the comments on the website.
Accounting and Financial Management
Head office is responsible for the financial management of the company. This can be in terms of customer bookings or paying for invent for the mobiles. Couriers do not deal with accounting or financial management. The only instance a courier can accept money is when a customer buys a linen pack onsite. If this occurs, three receipts are written, one for the customer, one for the reception and one for the area manager. The courier then has to ring the head office to update them on the payment, and the area manager will collect the cash and lodge it as soon as possible.
Eurocamp has a Linear organisational structure. In this structure authority flows directly from the top of the managerial hierarchy to the various levels of workers below. You can clearly identify the authority at each level. In Eurocamp the levels are listed from top to bottom as: Head Office, Area Manager, Site Manager or Senior Courier, Couriers.
Head office is based in the country of which the customer is travelling from. For workers the head office is based in the UK. The office supports overseas staff and customers. Any decision that needs to be made is done so through the head office.
The area manager is responsible for managing operations on various campsites. He or she oversees the couriers on these sites and reports directly to the head office.
The site manager or senior courier is based solely on one site and manages the daily running of the site. He or she is the team leader of the couriers. They are responsible for devising a weekly plan for the couriers and dividing the work up between the team. They report directly to the Area manager.
There are four groups of couriers – Holiday couriers, Repair and maintenance couriers, Kids couriers and Lead reception couriers. Holiday couriers are the first point of contact the customers have with the company. Their job includes cleaning the accommodation and providing great customer service to the customer. Repair and maintenance couriers are responsible for fixing maintenance issues onsite. Usually they are based on larger sites and work solely on that site, however they can be based on various smaller sites and have to travel between a few of them. Lead reception couriers manage the running of the reception and work most of their shifts in reception. Kids couriers plan and deliver activities to the children onsite.
Personally, I think that this structure works well in some ways and in others it can be quite difficult to work with. It works well in the way that everyone knows their place and what authority level they have. The downfall is that couriers do not have much authority when it comes to decision making. For example, if a customer makes a complaint about their accommodation and requests to move, couriers do not have the authority to move them. Firstly, they have to go to their team leader, who can say yes and then it goes to the head office who finalise the decision. It takes 3 steps for the customer to finally get an answer, where as if they had the authority to move them, it would lessen the process which is a bonus for both the customer and courier.
The human resources team are based in the UK head office. They deal with any particular aspects of employment, such as keeping within the laws of the country employees are in. For example, ensuring couriers do not work more than 45 hours a week as this is the maximum legal limit in France. They also have some input into the recruitment of employees.
Customers can contact the team through telephone or on the website if they have a complaint or query. Employees can also contact the team if they have any query’s or if they are unsure about a decision.
Health and Safety
Health and safety is a very serious topic within Eurocamp. Couriers are given training on various aspects of this topic. For example, manual labour such as how to lift a gas bottle in a proper manner. Couriers are also dealing with cleaning products that can be quite harmful and are expected to take precautions when using them such as wearing gloves and goggles. Couriers are not only given health and safety training for within the job, they are also given advice on how be safe when living abroad. Things like how to protect themselves from falling ill from the heat – wear sunscreen, a hat, and drink plenty of water, also how to protect themselves when off-site for the day by sticking in a group.
The majority of Eurocamp’s everyday work is done through computers. Customer bookings, along with customer information, is sent through a secure app and stored on a company iPad in the Eurocamp reception. The information is only kept for the season where it is then wiped from the tablet. Booking charts are also drawn up on the iPad.
Repair and maintenance reports are sent through an app. And a text message is received once the maintenance courier has acknowledged the report.
Employees must submit their working hours through a secure website called Cascade. This is done weekly to ensure employees are working the legal limit. At the end of the month the company will send an electronic payslip to each employee.
The job description or role I had to play within the organisation was a Holiday courier. A holiday courier is the face of the company. They are the link between the customers and the company. Due to the courier being the main point of contact for the customer, they must be able to provide excellent customer service. This can be through being generally helpful or providing knowledge of the local area, or just being friendly. A second part of the job as a holiday courier is to ensure the accommodation is cleaned to a high standard. Everything must be in immaculate condition in order for it to be customer ready. Fixing minor repairs to the accommodation and equipment is another part of a holiday couriers job. For example, changing the gas bottles, or lightbulbs, or turning on the boiler. (Season Workers, 2018)
My role within the company is to keep the customers happy while on holiday. Whether this is by giving out information on the park and surrounding areas or nearby attractions, or by dealing with problems quickly and efficiently. I try my best to alleviate the stress of the customers.
Eurocamp uses various techniques to manage and improve the company. Various topics have been identified, analysed and discussed in order to give a good insight into the how the company runs and any recommendations that the author felt were needed were included in the report.
Eurocamp, 2018. Online
Available at: https://www.eurocamp.ie/about-us/why-choose-eurocamp/company-history
Accessed 6 /5 /2018.
Evans, N. C. D. S., 2003. Strategic Management for Travel and Tourism. Oxford: Routledge.
Holidaybreak Limited, 2018. Holidaybreak. Online
Available at: http://www.holidaybreak.co.uk/holidaybreak/ourhistory.jsp?n=1;s=1
Accessed 7 /5 /2018.
Holidaybreak Plc, 2005. European Specialist Holiday Group: Annual Report and Financial Statement, Cheshire: Holidaybreak.
Homair Vacances, 2014. Signing of Agreement by the Homair Vacances Group. Online
Available at: https://www.eurocamp.ie/Images/Homair_tcm19-36283.pdf
Accessed 7 /5 /2018.
Mylan, C., 2016. Gecko improves customer communications for Eurocamp. Journal of Direct, Data and Digital Marketing Practice.
Season Workers, 2018. Season Workers The Working Travel Website. Online
Available at: https://www.seasonworkers.com/jobs/holiday-courier-3727.aspx
Accessed 4 /05 /2018.