By the end of the first day of the Caravan Club National Rally I needed new footwear. I should have worn wellies any way but in the rush to get here, as it always is, I managed to forget them along with any reasonable waterproofs. Ive been doing shows for around 13 years. Firstly, in my time at Towsure, then with Blue Diamond – usually supporting retailers at outdoor shows or at the NEC, a little with Discover and very occasionally with Maypole.
OLPRO is much more an outdoor company and being an Outdoor group of people we love these shows.
The Caravan Club National Rally happens every year. Last year was an exception when the event, on our doorstep in Worcestershire, was cancelled due to the lack of summer and the incredible amount of rain we experienced over that Jubilee weekend.
This year we’ve been at the Newark Motorhome Show, where there was a lot of snow, at the Peterborough Motorhome show and this weekend at the Caravan Club National Rally at Belvoir Castle in Grantham. For us it’s important to be at these shows and not least this one because its a great show for a good club with lots of members and members who appreciate quality camping and Caravanning product.
The event starts on Friday and finishes at the end of Bank Holiday Monday. During that time there is entertainment for everyone on site during the day and then through the evenings. This weekend we’ve got Martin Daniels, the magician, Scissors Sisters tribute band and an Elton John alike amongst others. Saturday nights main act was a Shadows tribute band.
The entertainment during the day involves competitions between different areas of the Caravan Club and groups of entertainers such as bands, axe men displays, horse displays and the like. We then make up an alleyway of traders who through the mud, as it was on Saturday, the visitors venture out to see us and it gives us a chance to speak to them and answer questions.
We are here to talk about our products and we have a limited range on offer, particularly chemical products such as Bottom & Top, Inside & Out and Fresh & Clear. It’s great already because so many people already know the products and many know us so it’s good to catch up with people. People we know well and work with are here selling products, such as Yorkshire Caravans, Towsure, Thetford, Specialised Accessories, Capital Stores and others who like us are talking to customers about their products and Truma and Dometic.
There are 2300 caravans on site. Because its a club event they are divided into sections or districts so all those from particular counties are grouped together.
We booked the show three months ago and a month ago started to think about what we would bring and how we would set up. We’ve still got to invest in the way we present at these type of shows but in effect, at the moment, we set up a marquee and place product on tables to sell the product. We don’t need more than a van full of product to start with but top up during the weekend with deliveries.
On the day before the show the van key disappeared! And so we had a last minute panic which ended in a call to locksmith and a large bill for a new key. This meant we turned up late on the Thursday, but in doing so missed the rain and the worst of the wind. We set up the stand and got ready for Friday.
Friday was awful straight away. The rain was coming down hard and blowing across into our marquee. For the first time I can remember we had to close early. The paths were very, very muddy and people couldn’t get around so we didn’t see any body and everything was getting very wet.
Saturday was very different. I got to the marquee first, at around 7am and inside was wet still from the day before and around it was muddy. We managed to dry things out and re-set up and the day just got warmer and warmer. Other stands were able to set up properly too and our neighbours, Specialised Accessories, who had lost their gazebo the day before had bought a new marquee and set up the best looking stand at the show – not bad given that they’d lost everything the day previous.
It started busier and got better and better. We’d spoken to lots of people about the OLPRO range of chemicals and sales of Bottom & Top , Inside & Out and Fresh & Clear were incredible. There are always lots of toilet chemicals at the outdoor shows and rally’s but Bottom & Top is a two in one product. All we do is inform potential customers that they can that single bottle of fluid and it works in both their top tank and bottom tank, so saving space. That it gives you more concentrated chemical than any other toilet fluid – so it’s two litres as opposed to 1 litre products and effectively is better value at £9.99 a bottle.
Caravan and Motorhome cleaning products are even more competitive. Lots of people bring cleaning products to the market, usually from other markets but Inside & Out is made for caravans and motorhomes. Designed to be a caravan cleaner, black streak remover, window cleaner, wheel cleaner, bathroom cleaner, plastic cleaner and fabric cleaner. We know that everyone who has used Inside and Out have continued to use it.
It’s important to us that people do try all of our range because as they say the proof of the pudding etc.
Our new chemical product is Fresh & Clear, for pipes and drains to clean, sterilise and remove lime scale from water systems. Fresh and Clear will effectively clean and sanitise clean water systems in caravans, motorhomes and also in boats. Fresh & Clear is non-staining and non-tainting.
Alot of the caravan cleaners on show here are really for cars or motorbikes which makes Inside & Out really different.
They are also all British made. The important thing to us is that we design all of our products.
Whether it be our toilet chemical, cleaner, or tents, windbreaks etc we design them all.
Sunday has started well too and lots of people are out again in the sun.
For us all it feels like about three years since we last had a summer but we’ve now had two good bank holidays in a row. Unfortunately, there are no campers in the Caravan Club so we don’t get to speak to people about ours tents but all in all a great show.
They have forecast rain for tomorrow but you never know! Fingers crossed be okay and the next stop for us on the road is the Midsummer Motorhome and Caravan Show in Exeter, at Westpoint between the 13th and 16th June. As well as weekend passes to the show there are also day passes available.
We are then at the Stratford Motorhome Show towards the end of June.
See you soon,