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Our Forum and its Future

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Moderator: Keith

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Keith
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Our Forum and its Future

Post by Keith » 1 year ago

Over the last few months there have been concerns expressed about the future of our forum. I can promise you all that, as long as I can fund and maintain the forum, it will continue, despite the current low level of activity.

Our forum is a victim of its own success. When I started the forum Haven had no Social Media or on-line presence for their owners. Within the first 12 months I was asked to attend a meeting with Haven management where I was asked to close the forum or at the very least remove all references to 'Haven'; obviously I refused.

As the forum continued to grow Haven became more aware of its success and, despite the fact that initially staff had been told not to join or post, it began to attract more and more support from staff at both Park and Head Office level.
When Haven decided to join the 21st century and created a 'Social Media' team at Hemel, they developed the 'Owner Services' website which continues to develop slowly. They then decided that Social Media was the way to go and launched the Facebook pages for their parks.
It now seems that they are concentrating all their energy into the FB pages after all it is 'easier' for them because the maintenance and development of FB is something they don't have to do, unlike the Owner Services website.

This is also the difference between our forum and Facebook. I am not a programmer/developer; I run our forum using 'Open Source' phpBB software that is developed by a team of enthusiasts with very limited resources whereas FB has a dedicated team with virtually unlimited resources. The phpBB team are solely concerned with developing the forum software and not mobile apps. This means that, although I can continue to maintain our forum at the highest level possible and to make it as 'responsive' as possible, I cannot hope to compete with FB and don't intend to try.

It is the 'Instant' response and 'always there' format of FB that has drawn so many of our members away and the fact that people can create groups and pages without any cost or having to worry about development and maintenance, that has lead to the creation of so many 'Haven' groups all doing similar things.

Our forum was created to help 'Members get the most out of their caravan ownership' by sharing their knowledge and experience with others, and in this respect the FB groups all have the same basic aim and success.

The movement of our members away from the forum to the FB groups and pages means that because of the relative inactivity of our forum, and the changes to the Social Media team at Hemel, they no longer feel the need to actively monitor and support our forum.

As I said at the beginning of this post, I will continue to run our forum for as long as I can, giving owners the choice between the secure, structured format of our forum or the less secure mayhem of FB or a combination of both.
Keith

If you find this Forum useful - pass the word to other owners. If you don't - tell me how it can be improved.

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Bigoldman
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Re: Our Forum and its Future

Post by Bigoldman » 1 year ago

I'm pleased to hear that Keith. Keep up the good work.

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Re: Our Forum and its Future

Post by dingledong » 1 year ago

Don't do Facebook do do haven owners forum.
Keep up the good work Keith

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Re: Our Forum and its Future

Post by terrymw » 1 year ago

Keith, sorry to be downbeat, I am not even an owner but have been reading the forum with interest for the past 18months. I was looking at coming on to presthaven at the start of the 2018 season. It is very unlikely now unless things change drastically. The trouble is I can see how BL treat you all and how much they are ripping you off at every turn. Then I look at facebook and see postings about what a lovely weekend you all had at presthaven. I understand that people who have already purchased a caravan would not want to just give it up and lose a lot of money. But if you think about it, probably the best way to get BL to improve their owner relationships is to somehow find a way to get every owner on every haven site to only post the downside to owning at BL. Do this on here, facebook, and any other media and let BL know. Until I saw some of the good reviews I wasn't even considering BL because I thought the cost was a bit steep. Then as time went on and I looked at more good reviews I was back to considering it again. I have since been looking at the bad reviews and how upset most owners are with BL. Bad reviews will deter people from thinking about it and will have an immediate impact on BL and may make them sit up and listen.

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Re: Our Forum and its Future

Post by Celtygirl » 1 year ago

Keep up the good work Keith xxxx
C x

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Re: Our Forum and its Future

Post by DaisyMay » 1 year ago

Yes, keep up the good work Keith.
As far as I can see we don't get any information from either the owner's dedicated website or the FB dedicated site. Nothing is hardly ever posted on our site, perhaps if it was we would have known that the Summer Fest had been moved indoors yesterday and we would have gone up sooner and been able to get a decent seat at a table, but that is beside the point.
I have too noticed in the past few months that this site isn't used as much as it has been previously and it is such a shame, always found out more on here than anywhere else.
Dx

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Re: Our Forum and its Future

Post by Helen » 1 year ago

I am not an owner as yet hopefully by the end of the year, on a forum you can find previous information more easily than on Facebook I have found it very useful. Plus you can see what sites the people posting comments are an owner on, and it feels more private if your not wanting Facebook family to know all your business, is this forum advertised anywhere?? I only came across it by chance, keep up the good work x :lol:

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Re: Our Forum and its Future

Post by springhay » 1 year ago

I hadn't even seen this before my earlier post (under priviledge cards). But it says what Keith said really.....

However what continues to amaze me is the amoun of new members who never post!!!!??? Fair enough there might not be much to post about right now. But that's why the forum is losing momentum....nobody ever posts anymore. Facebook groups dotn get any answers either.....but it's a good place to have a little moan and compare parks I suppose.

The definite advantage of Facebook, is that park specific groups are extremely helpful and owners literally interact within seconds! I'm on a few and the camaraderie is amazing.

The owners services website has never worked for me .... Issued 30 tickets recently to someone and charged their card £90!!! Blame the system and she still hasn't had a refund (this is PV incidentally). It's unreliable and the number of times they have to get the IT people in is a joke!

So yes Keith - sorry about this forum's decline in activity. It's full of useful information and user friendly -- my last thing to say is that people who never post can always manage to do so when things go wrong!!

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