Jolly Hols UK Ltd is an online holiday company specialising in UK holidays, including lodges with hot tubs, cottage breaks and pet-friendly holidays. The business was set up by husband and wife team Tom and Christina Armstrong in 2007 and is based in Whitburn, South Tyneside. Jolly Hols also employs freelance staff including holiday advisers and content writers.
Jolly Hols is one of the North East businesses which has received support from the North East Business Support Fund which is part financed by the European Regional Development Fund, with the business being awarded a grant of £2,790.82.
The business faced a challenging time due to lockdown, when holiday bookings stopped and commissions had to be repaid on cancelled bookings. Christina and Tom were not able to access government support for self-employed people, as Jolly Hols is a limited company, and as they work from home they were not eligible for grants for businesses with premises. The support from the Growth Hub plugged this gap.
From July, when lockdown restrictions were eased, there was a huge demand for UK holidays and the grant enabled Jolly Hols UK to upgrade their technology and capitalise on this demand.
Christina and Tom were able to upgrade their holiday availability systems, making them more reliable, faster and able to cope with higher volumes of customer searches. They were also able to add more inventory to their websites, upgrade their property photography, and form new partnerships in order to offer more UK holidays. A new website is also in production which will specialise in UK cottages with hot tubs.
Christina Armstrong, Director at Jolly Hols UK, said: “Our new computers and mobile technology have enabled us to add much more availability for cottage and lodge breaks and bookings are very busy. We anticipate that this will continue into next year and we are now well prepared for January which is traditionally our busiest month of the year for holiday bookings.
“We believe that the trend for UK holidays will continue for some time and we plan to continue adding new cottages and lodges to our websites to continue to grow. We also have a website which focuses on Eurocamp holidays abroad and this is something we are going to develop further in 2021 ready for when confidence in travelling abroad returns.
“For the near future however, we will be focusing on ‘the Staycation’ and the current unprecedented demand for those type of breaks. Without the grant we would have found it difficult to compete with larger companies and increase our bookings on this scale.”
The North East Business Support Fund is administered by North East Enterprise Agency NBSL.
NBSL is approved by BIS, Customer First, and Investors in People and has a team of experienced accredited business funding advisers, who work with people and businesses across the North East to identify solutions that aid development and growth.
NBSL relaunched The North East Business Support Fund (NEBSF) in 2018. The inaugural round of funding was launched in 2012, since then NBSL has provided funding and support to businesses from an array of sectors spanning all corners of the region with a recent impact report finding that the fund has yielded an impressive £4.40 economic boost for every £1 invested.