Glamping and the staycation: holiday parks in the austerity age

Listen to this podcast interview with Victoria Brannen, co-founder of Maya Asset Management, which specialises in the acquisition, turnaround and operational management of investment assets, in particular holiday parks.

Brannen, who specialises in strategic planning and marketing strategy integration, examines the implications for the holiday park sector of the rise of eco-holidays and short breaks and the squeeze on consumer incomes.

Asked to highlight the key trends in the camping and caravanning sector, she notes “an eco-trend, where you have the rise in tipis, yurts, pods… the whole ‘glamping’ experience. You have the mainstay holidaymakers who like to go to static caravan parks, and then your diehard campers who want to pitch up their tent.” [See rest of transcript via link above]

Examining the hotels market

Listen to a podcast interview with Haydn Fentum, co-founder and CEO of Bespoke Hotels, a fast-growing boutique hotel chain.

Fentum, who founded the first hotel 11 years ago, says “the market is quite volatile at the moment, there’s quite a lot of activity. It’s only the last two or three years that have not been great for the hotel sector.”

He also suggests that cash-strapped consumers have very different expectations to the typical boom-time consumer: “There’s always a flight to value, so hotels that have been underinvested and undercapitalised suffer, and properties in good order and which provide good value for money prosper. The market has become more polarised that way; you’re less inclined to forgive a bad experience.”

Microsoft’s huge gamble

Steve Ballmer

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer spied an opportunity to strengthen Windows

This piece about Microsoft’s $8.5bn acquisition of Skype showcases my ability to write stock-market news and about mid-market sales.

Although most of my writing for BusinessesForSale.com has covered small businesses – the newsagent, the pub buyer or the subpostmaster – we do cover million-pound plus revenue enterprises too.

Sydney versus Melbourne: Australia’s epic rivalry

Living in London, I’m aware of how a country’s capital city can draw all talent and resources to it like a magnet. The UK capital’s sheer size attracts wealth, in turn accelerating its growth further. 

Which is why I was fascinated to discover that Australia’s largest city – which isn’t even its capital – was only marginally bigger than its nearest rival. Unsurprisingly, Sydney and Melbourne share an intense economic rivalry, which I examine in this  article for BusinessesForSale.com

881km apart, the two cities are actually comparatively close to one another in the context of an ‘island-continent’ spanning 4,000km from its western coast to its eastern seaboard. There’s very little between the two great metropolises, with one or the other marginally ahead on a range of measures relating to culture, sport, infrastructure, commerce and living standards.

Go into business with a plan for selling in mind

I did this podcast interview with Australian business broker Michael O’Connell at the tail end of 2011.

Concentrating on the business-sales process from the seller’s point of view, I quizzed him on planning your exit, business valuation and how to forge a constructive broker-seller relationship.

The Q&A format works well online: visually, with the bold questions alternating with the answers, it’s easy for the eyes to process, and it’s the easiest interview format to digest for the reader.