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Thread: Down-market Center Parcs or Butlin's : Center Parcs vs. Butlin's

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    Default Down-market Center Parcs or Butlin's : Center Parcs vs. Butlin's

    I've bottled it: The difference a Down-market Center Parcs? or Butlin's : Center Parcs vs. Butlin's

    No one in any of the posts gets to the root of this question. I'm a fan of both, so I think I can bottle the difference between Center Parcs and Butlin's [holiday camps] in two sentences,

    Center Parcs is where parents would like to take their children.
    Butlin's is where Children would like to take their parents.

    Now I'll qualify that.

    Butlin's is about simple unsophisticated fun. Center Parcs aims at a market that considers itself more discerning. There's a touch of snobbery in there which means Butlin's won't be an option for many and the pricing makes Center Parcs prohibitive to others. Yet for some Center Parcs is the real down-market choice.

    Search yourself deeply enough and the choice is made clearer. By quoting an extreme case, I can explain what I mean...

    I work for a family rich enough to have nothing to prove, yet they stay at Butlin's every year. Snobbery and price has absolutely nothing to do with it.

    It's for their children.

    With no ego to burnish, they don't even stay in the pricier aspiration grade 'wannabee' accommodation Butlin's can offer those that need to made to "feel better' about themselves. They actually book the cheapest. This is not for the price, but precisely because this means they get the older vintage chalets and the real spirit of Butlin's they love. (OK, You'll see their nanny booked in the chalet next door, so in a way they do flex muscle but the rich always will somewhere???). Kids are blind to five star accommodation and theirs are no different.
    I admire them for this. Butlin's is what children actually want, That mind-set makes you ask deeper questions, about yourself. I freely admit it took me a bit to see it (and life) this way, but of course they're right. They're bright enough and secure enough, not to try kidding anyone, especially themselves. They go to Butlin's. There's life-lesson here too. I might not have articulated that well, but I hope you get the point.

    In short, they've 'got over' themselves. So all you need to ask yourself is "Have You?"

    Ask yourself a similar question; If you had a vast fortune and the desire to build a children's party paradise, maybe in your own 400 acre estate???.... what would you build?. A Butlin's or a Center Parcs?

    You'd only build a Center Parcs if it was about you.

    A kid would build a Butlin's...
    with a Chocolate factory next door.

    My employers are an old-money family and could pretty much buy a Butlin's too. I know they loathe the "Golf club & counterfeit 4x4 set" fakers, For that class, Center Parcs becomes the down-market choice. For the pretenders, the green-welly brigade, the shiny 4x4 owners, and the middle-management golf-club set, that last point might be lost. Or if seen, go down as offensive, it's not meant to be. Only, if you're in their number, and most of us are, it might make you look at yourself and others in new light.

    Unless you're looking so far up yourself, you'll just muck-in and drop any pretensions and have some fun. Don't be fooled by the language they both use, Silver or Gold, Villa or Lodge, Apartments or Hotels. All aimed at the 'wannabees' - Just nonsense. They're holiday camps, not, fool-'Resorts', so if you've got kids, stay in the 'holiday camp' your children would choose.
    That 60s stuff has all gone now, (which in some ways is sad) but just say a quiet "Hi-de-hi “ and whilst there's nothing 'wrong' with Center Parcs, stay at Butlin's.

    Your kids will LOVE you for it.

    PS: Methinks I have a strapline ... 'Butlin's: "Where Kids would go" I must claim copyright on that. In fact I will. Kerching!!
    Last edited by bigboysdad; 04-10-10 at 12:14 PM. Reason: I couldn't spell

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    An interesting perspective, though I think some of the points are lost on me.

    I have no issues with social classes - that is to say I love to go to Center Parcs but also enjoy Butlins. Having said that, Center Parcs is my favourite of the two, but I don't look down my nose at those who go to Butlins and I don't think I am better than anyone else.

    The reason I say some of the logic is lost on me is because the two places are so totally different and cannot be compared - both offering different holiday experiences because everyone is different and we don't all want the same type of holiday. When you say "You'd only build a Center Parcs if it was about you" again I am a little lost as I'd always build a Center Parcs because the surroundings are so natural and pleasing to me and I love the wildlife (having grown up in the countryside and played in woodland as a child) - I don't think this makes me a "snob" though! I do think children love Center Parcs too, particularly the abundance of wildlife. To be honest I don't think you will get a fair debate on this forum because most of the members are of course huge Butlins fans, but I have seen plenty of other comments on the internet from people who have grown up going to Center Parcs and love it ... and in this day and age I'm sure the older ones would soon tell their parents if they didn't want to go.

    Sorry if I have completely misunderstood the point you are trying to get across but the post was a little deep for someone as simple as me (and I am not trying to be rude ... just a person who prefers plain words).

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    Although your message is nothing new to me and I agree 100% with it, I've never seen it put quite so well!

    Bigboysdad, I seriously think that little article is wasted if it is only posted here. You should send it in (word for word as you wrote it here) to Butlins (maybe they can use it in some way for example in their guest magazine) and early next year when there's a lot of media interest in Butlins 75th anniversary, send it in to all the newspapers too.

    I'm serious, please do that!
    So what've you got?
    You've got the Push Button Click. YEAH!


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    Default Jeeez... It's hardly an easy read is it?!!

    Push button. Glad you liked my post Thank you.

    I've only just read my post back to myself. I'm surprised you liked it.

    Erm, a non-edited transcript of that post sent to Butlin's? You could have made no greater compliment, but looking back, it's hardly an easy read is it?!! Bunnykins wrote a reply as though to another post, so the fault is with me. I can't write as well as I should.

    A word-for-word transcript? Perhaps...

    Maybe...

    Nice, but I have my doubts.

    It's not quite pithy enough for Butlin's or CP marketing, and sent verbatim, it forces a an unpalatable inward question many might not see, think of, or if they do see it, like to ask.

    And to make my case in an easy to digest form would take a better writer than me! The territory of the best of tabloid writers. Sadly not me.

    Anyway, my point was, what would your six year kid choose?

    I'm not a betting man, but this bet I'll take.

    I'd bet my mortgage, or yours, that if you lined-up 50 standard issue eight year olds and asked them to build a party-paradise, it would consist of a sweet-shop (with endless sweets) have an adventure playground and lead along the beach into a theme-park. A few might add a zoo. However hideous you think that sounds, is that the recipe for Center Parcs? Well... is it?

    Or, a recipe for, minus London Zoo, Butlin's Skegness?

    Maybe a few kids would have it look like Center Parcs, think to put in some man-made ponds and planted trees, but not many.

    So... Come on, hand in pockets, 'money-where-your-mouth-is', lay your bets. Perhaps, forgive my soemwaht agressive tone. It is just that i'm excited by thte prospect - the money would be nice.

    Let us be clear here, and balanced, there's 'nowt' wrong with Center Parcs.
    Kids do like it. In fact if your children, like my boy, are the 'outdoorsy-types' but lots older than him, near to bursting into adulthood perhaps, then maybe Butlin's is not best. Childhood seems to be getting shorter, and if they've already been to Butlin's when younger, Center Parcs is probably for them.

    Also, if you'd like a grown-up outdoor-activity weekend without kids then again Center Parcs might be for you. When I don't have access to my son, that's how I use Center Parcs - for just that. But then, that confirms my central point. Butlin's is where kids (and I mean kids, not teenagers) would take their parents. Whereas, when I go to Center Parcs, I'm going there for me. Its a very sophisticated kid with adult tastes that would prefer Center Parcs to Butlin's. Kids are blind to the more naturalistic environment, hideous maybe, but kids want bright lights and noise, the brasher the better. This question is not about you, it's about 'most kids'.


    I have my own snobbery, only I just happen to know it
    We're all to some degree snobs. It's a basic human-condition to want to feel 'better' than somebody. It's how Center Parcs and to some extent Butlin's works. People like aspiration for its own sake. Even if they haven't learnt to recognise it in themselves, people still want to be seen as 'important' or quietly made to feel as such. Validated even. So, there's always going to be a place for the aspirational purchase, in this case, be it the 'Gold' Butlin's hut (sorry apartment) or the Center Parcs villa (read 'shed') it's there and there's no getting away from it.

    Still, a kid would choose Butlin's.
    My deeper point being, take that validation away and we'd all be kids again, likely booking into anything as long as there was a constant supply of candyfloss. For this the cheapest Butlin's chalet will do.

    All I was saying is that, often snob-value and validation, however small, is part of the decision process. As long as you know that, you're only a small-snob. The first reply, made me smile in admitting this, in the same sentence as the denial. The point is first made all the clearer when, as in my employers case, there, whichever they opt to go with, both become down-market destinations for 'plebs' and 'chavs' (read: you, me).

    And if the wider point were to be adopted, thus we remove the aspirational element, and its pretensions, what would we do with those aspirational wotsits we all buy into? Which in essence is the CP or Butlin's question.

    We'd have a world where, people couldn't kid themselves on, at least not without being laughed at. Think, the golf-clubs would be near empty (or at least the daft membership exclusion-etiquette and wardrobe would be gone) and the only 4x4s on our roads would all be the smoky, dented, cow-poo smelling variety. Center Parcs would be in dire trouble too, with "Suburban-4x4-Affectations" crossed off the list, how would their customers to get there? Walk? that would never do.

    No, take your Centre Parcs break, even drive your kids there in your chrome-plate fake 4x4 wagon. Just don't kid me on. Or far, far worse, yourself. Doing this sort of thing makes it clear to those 'really' looking, who you actually are. As long as you know this, and admit where some of the motivation for doing this comes from, I promise, you'll be fine.

    Why I choose to write this here I'm not sure, I suppose I'm trying to communicate a life-lesson. I'll admit the flaws in my own argument, namely why this can never really happen, we'd only buy soemthing we needed rather than wanted. No i don't do that either. Anyway we'd hav a book!, but imagine, if it did happen.

    Yes I know, I'm ranting again, I could go on, best I don't. 'Sides, this is no easy read either.

    OK, I'm done. Now about that bet...
    Last edited by bigboysdad; 15-10-10 at 07:51 AM.

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    Well I thought and still think that your first post made the point very well. Perhaps not necessarily written as a marketing expert would have done, but certainly as a dedicated Butlins fan would and that's what we're all about here isn't it!
    So what've you got?
    You've got the Push Button Click. YEAH!


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    Wow, well that proves another theory ... that there are an awful lot of selfish parents out there as Center Parcs is always heaving with kids ... the poor blighters being forced to go there against their will!! LOL.

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    Smile

    i think as long as you enjoy yourself and spend quality family time then it doesnt matter were you have your holidays. My taste is different to the next persons, and its good to have different tastes and choose things othere wouldnt. I think people who love the outside activities and wildlife will love centre parks and people like me who got brought up with bulins will go there. If im to be honest i re-live my childhood through my childrens eyes. I see them do things and it brings many happy memories flooding back from days gone by and thats why i chooose butlins. We do on occassions go to haven and even there we have happy holidays but thats cause were a close family whom enjoy each otheres company. so class and money dont make a person it feelings and respect and your up bringing that makes someone who they are. I guess the family may have had childhood holidays at butlins, and my theroy is they are reliving there childhood through there childrens eyes like i do.
    Any way i thought like push your words were inspiring and it made me stop and think, wise words what push said and maybe sending it in word for word is a really good idea. good luck if you do

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    ... and whilst talking of "snobbery", Bigboysdad, let's not forget there are worse snobs than your perceived Center Parc's-goers because I know people who won't go to Center Parcs because they think it's like Butlins (or others who took absolutely years to come round to the idea and visit CPs - probably after friends had been - because they also thought it was like Butlins)!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bunnykins View Post
    ... and whilst talking of "snobbery", Bigboysdad, let's not forget there are worse snobs than your perceived Center Parc's-goers because I know people who won't go to Center Parcs because they think it's like Butlins (or others who took absolutely years to come round to the idea and visit CPs - probably after friends had been - because they also thought it was like Butlins)!
    Sounds like the same sort of people who would only stay in a hotel if it's called a "Boutique" hotel, would only eat "Organic" food, and would never dream of using public transport even if it was the cheapest and most convenient way to get where they want to go.

    Used to work with a bunch of them. They would often have discussions in the lunch room about how much money they spent on their childs last birthday party (and other similarly snobbish things). Drove me mad. A kid couldn't care less how much their party cost, they just want it to be FUN! Same goes for holidays.

    Some adults should try to remember how good that feels!
    So what've you got?
    You've got the Push Button Click. YEAH!


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    There, Pushbutton, your turn to have it nailed down.

    "A kid couldn't care less, they just want it to be FUN!"

    Hurray for that. So often, nothing to do with the stuff adults get tied-up in.

    You're so right about Middle-England's bouncy castle arms-race. Is it really just about making the a kid's party better or something else? Your colleagues, sound lovely, someone has forgotten or never knew, money is not class, money won't make you classier, only richer. Class is your Grandad, which is a bit harsh, but true.

    I've read my last post back again. Don't I go on? I could have just said "Think like a kid does" or to steal from PushButton, "A kid couldn't care less, they just want it to be FUN!" but no, I insisted on more. Dear me, my psuedo-intellectual, psycho analytical babble, is just painful. Forgive me.
    Last edited by bigboysdad; 13-10-10 at 11:51 AM.

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