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Thread: Q & A Session with Dermot King, Butlins MD, Friday 9th December 2011, 3.00 to 5.00pm

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  1. #1
    discokev Guest

    Default Q & A Session with Dermot King, Butlins MD, Friday 9th December 2011, 3.00 to 5.00pm

    Dear all,

    As you may have already seen mentioned on other threads, Dermot King, Butlins MD, has kindly agreed to complete a Q & A Session for Butlins Memories members. I can now confirm that this will be between 3.00pm and 5.00pm this Friday, 9th December.

    As you can appreciate, Dermot's time is very limited and I therefore ask that you only use this thread for questions, which Dermot will then answer in order on Friday. Any general comments should be posted on a separate thread.

    In addition, as Dermot's time to answer our questions is limited to just two hours there is a chance that some questions may go unanswered, depending on how many questions are asked.

    I would therefore ask, in order to give everyone a fair chance of having atleast one of their questions answered, that you please ask no more than one question per day. If you post more questions then your additional ones may be deleted and added to the thread at a later point. This rule applies until 3.00pm (GMT) on Thursday, 24 hours before the session, at which point you are free to post as many questions as you wish.

    You may want to prioritorise your questions in order to increase the chances of your most pressing issues being answered.

    This will be our first Q & A Session with Dermot King, having previously had Q & A Sessions with Richard Bates (the former MD of Butlins) in November 2009 here and April 2010 here. You may want to read through the previous threads and then ask questions to see how Dermot King's approach to Butlins differs from Richard's.

    Thanks,

    Kev

  2. #2
    Pushbutton Guest

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    Hi Dermot and thanks for agreeing to spend a couple of hours with us here on butlinsmemories.com.

    I am 37 years old and have been enjoying Butlin's holidays since I was 6 months old. The happiest days of my life have been at Butlin's and Istill go now even though I live in Australia. This is the very short version of a long story but will hopefully give you some appreciation of the deep passion I have for Butlin's.

    One of my concerns is that whilst I do want to see Butlin's continue to move with the times, I also feel very strongly that if certain things are changed too much the result can be that loyal guests like myself start to feel alienated from the Butlin's brand we've always loved.

    It is partly for that reason I would like to ask if there are any plans to make better use of the buildings at Butlin's which are currently disused.

    In particular I'm referring to the Minehead camp (or resort if you like) and asking whether you have any plans (either soon or long term) to refurbish and put back in use the following buildings:

    • Old shopping arcade known by Butlin's employees as "Old town"
    • The entire Regency building (currently the Crazy Horse is underutilised, Newsbreak is ok but the rest of the building is either not used at all or only used for private hire functions).

    Both of these places used to be integral to the everyday operations of the camp and provided multiple venues and facilities for guests to enjoy. If you're not yet familiar with how the buildings used to be used you may perhaps wish to look at one of the old maps on butlinsmemories.com, such as this one.

    Again I'm not necessarily saying everything should be put back exactly as it was many years ago, but surely having the buildings just sitting there unused is a huge wasted opportunity for Butlin's to provide more new facilities. For example I would have loved the new restaurant that is being opened in the boardwalk to instead have been opened in one of the above locations.

    Please don't take this as meaning that I think these buildings should be demolished though. I would be most upset if that ever happened as the main reason I keep coming back to Butlin's (all the way from oz) is the memories of my childhood holidays, of which these buildings (and most of the others at Butlin's Minehead) are an integral part. I just want to see them made better use of, and preferably some of the space used to provide free entertainment or other attractions like they used to be.

    I know this means a lot of maintenance and refurbishment work would be required and this is a large capital expenditure. I would just like to know what, if anything, is the short and long term plan for these buildings please.
    Last edited by Pushbutton; 06-12-11 at 07:06 AM.

  3. #3
    david lythgoe Guest

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    Firstly Dermot, thank you for doing this and I hope you and your family are all well.

    Now that you have moved into the Butlins brand, can you see a big difference to the Haven and old British Holidays brand?
    Are the two closing together where a Park will offer the same type of holidays under both brands or will the Butlins brand stay unique for the forseeable future?

    Thanks
    David Lythgoe

  4. #4
    minehead forever Guest

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    dermot welcome to butlins memories,

    my main concern is that under bourne ownership ,butlins has increased its pay to use facilities year after year,very little is left apart from the fair that is actually free to use,you can't even have a game of snooker at minehead with out actually paying for it,and minehead had 2 large games rooms in the past which were always packed out,with the introduction of the skybar at skegness my biggest worry is that bourne is testing the water to see if they think they can introduce paying for entry into the main entertainment venues,
    can you assure us please that there is no plans to ever charge for entertainment or entry into the venues at butlins.

    thanks!
    Last edited by minehead forever; 05-12-11 at 07:25 PM.

  5. #5
    deelieta Guest

    Smile

    Hello Dermott,

    Welcome to Butlins Memories!

    I'd like to ask about the funfairs.

    Over the last few years there have been numerous (adult) funfair rides removed and not replaced, example, the TRABANT (also known as The Mexican Hat) at Minehead.

    What plans do you have to increase the funfairs, bring in new rides - perhaps rollercoasters - and keep the 'fun' flowing at Butlins?

    Thank you!

    Dee

  6. #6
    discokev Guest

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    Hi Dermot, thanks for taking the time out to answer our questions.

    I went to Skegness last month for the 70s Big Weekend and had an absolutely fantastic time.

    However, what badly let things down was the facilities in Reds, specifically the toilets and bars, which didn’t seem able to cope with demand and often had long queues.

    As someone with a disability it is always frustrating to see crowds of able bodied people queuing to use the disabled toilet. As it takes me a while to remove and re-attach my prosthetic leg the people waiting become frustrated and it puts me off using the facilities, meaning that the toilet tissues run out by the time that I get there or that I end the night sooner than I would have done otherwise, in order to use my chalet’s facilities instead.

    At the very least it would be good to see RADAR locks fitted to the disabled toilets in order that only people who need to use them could gain access but ideally the toilet facilities for everyone would be improved.

    The bar queues in Reds also looked a nightmare and put me off even trying to get a drink! It would be great to see bottle bars dotted around in there as is done at Minehead and Bognor on Big Weekends.

    Can you please do something about the situation in Reds at Skeggy on Big Weekends?

  7. #7
    Dermot_King Guest

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by deelieta View Post

    I'd like to ask about the funfairs.

    Over the last few years there have been numerous (adult) funfair rides removed and not replaced, example, the TRABANT (also known as The Mexican Hat) at Minehead.

    What plans do you have to increase the funfairs, bring in new rides - perhaps rollercoasters - and keep the 'fun' flowing at Butlins?
    We realise fairgrounds are very important to our guests and will be working on some plans to introduce some upgrades in the future. We can't say too much at the moment as the plans are in their infancy.

  8. #8
    Dermot_King Guest

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by minehead forever View Post

    my main concern is that under bourne ownership ,butlins has increased its pay to use facilities year after year,very little is left apart from the fair that is actually free to use,you can't even have a game of snooker at minehead with out actually paying for it,and minehead had 2 large games rooms in the past which were always packed out,with the introduction of the skybar at skegness my biggest worry is that bourne is testing the water to see if they think they can introduce paying for entry into the main entertainment venues,
    can you assure us please that there is no plans to ever charge for entertainment or entry into the venues at butlins.
    That's a great question. The issue is how do you meet every guests needs? Some guests want evrything included in the price but some guests want more than we currently offer and are prepared to pay separately for it. Butlin's will always have a rich core of entertainment and activities that will be included in the price.

  9. #9
    Dermot_King Guest

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by david lythgoe View Post
    Now that you have moved into the Butlins brand, can you see a big difference to the Haven and old British Holidays brand?
    Are the two closing together where a Park will offer the same type of holidays under both brands or will the Butlins brand stay unique for the forseeable future?
    Haven Caravan Parks will develop their identity and deliver the type holidays that caravan customers know and love. Butlin's is different, very different. Butlin's will always have Redcoats, chalets, great entertainment, great dining, fairgrounds, big swiming pools and all by the seaside. In otherwords, we will stay true to Sir Billy's vision.

  10. #10
    deelieta Guest

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Dermot_King View Post
    Haven Caravan Parks will develop their identity and deliver the type holidays that caravan customers know and love. Butlin's is different, very different. Butlin's will always have Redcoats, chalets, great entertainment, great dining, fairgrounds, big swiming pools and all by the seaside. In otherwords, we will stay true to Sir Billy's vision.
    This is fantastic to hear, Dermot! Thank you so much.

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