Marc Astley, CEO of Astley Media, as part of our Park Life guide, explains why the customer experience is more important than ever….

In a world where most companies employ similar people, from similar backgrounds, offering similar services for similar prices, it is now imperative that businesses stand out from the crowd.

Have you ever stopped to think what makes your park so special? Have you ever thought about ‘your story’ and how to tell it? Have you ever looked for a ‘higher purpose’ in what you do?

If the answer to any of the above is ‘no’, in terms of taking a fresh approach to your PR and marketing we’d suggest that’s a good place to start.

For here is the problem: Your guests expect their stay to be brilliant. Anything other than that will be a disappointment.

I would argue that you are not in the accommodation/tourism/hospitality business… you are in the experience, escapism, storytelling and memories business.

And if you share that view I would hope that you would begin to look at what you do very differently.

We have a saying that we use often at Astley Media: “Marketing was all about the stuff you made and the things you did…It is now all about the stories that you tell and the experiences you create.”


What does that mean?
It means that today, marketing is the way you answer the phone, the state of your flowerbeds, the provenance of the food you serve and the quality of the toilet paper you buy.

The unstoppable march of the internet and social media means that every single one of your guests is an inspector with the ability to reach large audiences at the push of a mobile phone button.

They are also undercover reporters armed with recording equipment and video cameras.

But don’t let this scare you. Accept it, embrace it and make it work in your favour. By focusing on experiences that create great memories you will begin to make strides towards turning the visitors who like or even love what you do into unpaid advocates for your brand.

Enabling them to immerse themselves in and share your story will be one of the most effective (and economical) strategies you can adopt… if you get it right.

Most of your guests are up to their ears in facts and figures and five star reviews.

What they really need is faith, belief and trust in what you do – and that requires a complete rethink of the way you behave, both internally and externally.

If you haven’t done so recently, take a look at your business through your customers’ eyes.

Because your brand is no longer what you say it is…

Your brand is what your customers believe it to be and tell each other it is.


An experienced journalist, writer, editor and media commentator with a wealth of contacts in the Exeter area, Marc launched Astley Media in January 2012.

The company offers PR marketing and design services to a wide range of clients including bus company Stagecoach and global procurement platform blur Group.

Astley Media is the only Devon agency to win three awards from the Chartered Institute of Public Relations in the past four years.

Marc is a trustee of the Exeter Foundation, a charity that is affiliated to Premiership rugby club, the Exeter Chiefs; vice president of Dream-A-Way, which supports disabled and seriously ill people and marketing advisor to Hospiscare.

Tel: 01392 267 390

Read more advice and download our Park Life guide to being a successful holiday park