Welcome to Van Live!, Harvey. Can you tell us about your current role – what do you do?
I’m Director of Marketing and Membership Services for the Caravan and Motorhome Club. My role with the club is all about communicating to the members, so they understand all of the great benefits and things that we do as a club to support them and ensure they can get the most out of the great outdoors.
How long have you been with the club?
Five years. I previously worked at Eurotunnel for seven years as marketing director and the club was one of our clients. So I knew of the club’s reputation, but at that point, I didn’t really appreciated its scale and longevity, and all of the wonderful things about it.
Tell us a bit about its history and position within the market.
What I love most about the club is that because it is a not-for-profit organisation run for its members, you’ve got this virtuous circle, in that everything you put into it gets reinvested back into the club.
The C&MC was founded back in 1907 and today, it is the UK’s largest club, with the biggest number of sites. You can find out more by visiting the National Motor Museum website, which holds the club’s historical archive.
We have a million members across the UK and Europe, which is a phenomenal number.
What memories do you have of caravan trips and camping holidays as a child?
We went to Cornwall as often as we could and we stayed in a friend’s static caravan.
I’ve always really loved the great outdoors, and joining the club has given me the opportunity to enjoy that even more.
It’s great to go out on our sites and experience what the members do – and to help shape the club’s products to be as good as they can be for our members.
What’s the best trip you’ve ever been on?
Two years ago, my wife, our three children and I enjoyed a week-long journey by motorhome, which began in Pisa, in Tuscany, a really beautiful region in central Italy.
We flew out there, then drove back to the UK through Italy, Switzerland, Germany and France. It was just the most amazing adventure – a wonderful trip.
Where would you like to go for your next tour?
We were planning another trip from Italy this year, but our plans were scuppered by the virus.
I also want to go to Scotland – my brother and I hope to go and watch the Highland Games.
What’s special about the Caravan and Motorhome Club – what’s its USP?
The access that the club provides for so many people to enjoy the great outdoors, and the enormous and continuing sense of community among the members.
What news from the club this year? What’s the impact of the coronavirus been like?
Of course, 2020 was a very challenging year for everyone. But it is wonderful to be able to offer members the opportunity to visit our campsites in their own safe and secure environment.
We’re doing everything we can to ensure the safety of our staff and our members and look forward to being able to open our sites again soon.
The club members have been fantastically supportive, and we’ve found that the majority of people staying on our campsites have respected the new safety rules and are grateful to be out and about.
What advice do you have for people who are looking to start caravanning?
Get out there and do it! There’s a plethora of information on our website and our existing members love helping new joiners.
We have a brilliant scheme called ‘Try before you buy’, which means people can try out caravans and motorhomes at our campsites before they buy. I’d recommend people hire a caravan first, so they can see if they like it and work out which model might suit them.
What’s on your driving playlist?
When my brother and I go away, we tend to reminisce about the past, and play everything from Frank Sinatra to AC/DC, along with every 1980s and ’90s band you could possibly think of!
Favourite meal or recipe while out on tour?
It’s become a family ritual that while we’re away, I cook a proper breakfast – scrambled egg, sausage, bacon, the works. The kids love it.
Tell us something about yourself that might just surprise people!
I love DIY and interior design, and my long-term ambition is to build my own campervan.
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I've always really loved the great outdoors, and joining the Caravan and Motorhome Club has given me the opportunity to enjoy that even more