Practical Caravan Owner Satisfaction Awards 2024
Welcome to the Owner Satisfaction Awards 2024. If you plan to buy a caravan over the next few months, the results of this in-depth annual survey can help you spend wisely. Not only will you discover the most satisfying caravans to own, you’ll learn which dealers have been the best to buy them from.
Any survey is only as strong as its data, and the more data you have, the more reliable the results. This year a huge 4,660 caravanners have completed the survey, just a fraction down on last year’s 4,735 but well up from the 3,449 responses in 2022.
You know those phone surveys, where the person on the other end of the line promises “it will only take a couple of minutes”? This isn’t one of those. The questionnaire is hugely detailed, covering every aspect of buying, owning, and enjoying a caravan. Each survey builds a detailed picture of the owner’s experience, from the first contact with the supplying dealer, through the day of delivery, right up to the most recent trip away. By the time every question has been answered, we know what has gone wrong, what has gone right, the features the owner loves, and any pet hates.
Now, multiply that depth and detail across thousands of respondents, and you have some idea why the industry sits up and takes notice when these awards are announced. More important, you can have faith that this survey will steer you in the right direction if you are looking for a great caravan and first-rate customer service from the supplying dealer.
Thanks to all Club members and Practical Caravan readers who completed the questionnaire and shared their experiences.
If you regularly follow this survey, you’ll know the format. Among caravan manufacturers, the results are divided into new and pre-owned caravans. That way you know what to expect from a brand, whether you are shopping for a factory-fresh model or a tourer that’s already been on an adventure or two. Some manufacturers perform more strongly in one side of the survey than another, so there’s also an award for the best overall manufacturer, with strong results across the board.
The dealer results are also divided into new and pre-owned tourers. Whether you have the budget for the latest model or are looking for a great value pre-owned caravan, you deserve the same attention and customer service. The top dealers deliver, whether you are spending £4,000 or £40,000.
We name the overall winner in each category, but it’s not just the top scorers who deserve praise. Caravan manufacturers and dealers scoring over 80% receive a coveted Gold Award. The best of the rest with scores of over 70% receive a Silver Award.
We set minimum sample sizes to ensure the results are representative, but manufacturers and dealers that fall below this level but still have at least 20 completed surveys may be given an honourable mention. This is reserved for companies having an average score high enough for a Gold or Silver Award, had the sample size been high enough.
That’s a brief, top-level introduction to how the survey works. Now let’s get to the part you really care about – the results.
Award winners: New caravans
This is the third year in four that Adria has won the New Caravan Manufacturer category. The Slovenian caravan maker is the only company to earn a Gold Award for new caravans in 2024, with an excellent score of 83.1%.
There’s clear breathing space between Adria and the other contenders. Second spot goes to Coachman, with a Silver Award and a score of 79.8%. Third place goes to the Elddis Group, scoring 77.8%.
The big two in terms of sales, Swift and Bailey, aren’t far behind. Both take Silver Awards, with Swift scoring 76.6% and Bailey 72.4%.
Those results look quite different from last year’s, with first (Knaus) and second (Eriba) both missing from 2024’s main results. Both fall short of the minimum sample size, although there were enough Eriba owners in the survey to earn an honorable mention.
Even so, it’s disappointing that just one manufacturer has earned a Gold Award this year. Last year, with a similar number of survey respondents, there were four Golds to give out. Five awards in total is down from seven in 2023.
Coachman came closest of the UK-based manufacturers to earning another Gold to add to its collection but missed the mark by just 0.2%.
On the other hand, Elddis (including Buccaneer, Compass, and Xplore) shows an improvement of 3.1% year-on-year, leapfrogging Swift and Bailey in the process to be second among the domestic caravan builders.
2023 awards update:
There are changes at the top in the New Caravans category. This year’s winner is Knaus, with an outstanding score of 89.6%. That puts clear daylight between and the best of the rest.
Second spot goes to Eriba, with a score of 85.3%. Eriba pushes Adria, winner of the part two surveys, down to third spot. Despite being knocked off the top step of the podium, Adria’s score of 83% is still high enough for a Gold Award.
One other manufacturer reaches that standard: Coachman. We’ve become used to Coachman achieving the highest score among domestic caravan makers, and it does the same again this year with a score of 82.4%.
There’s quite a gap between Coachman and the other big-name British manufacturers. The Swift Group scores 75.7%, enough for a Silver Award. Bailey is just a fraction behind and also earns Silver, with a score of 75.1%. Elddis/Erwin Hymer Group (Elddis, Compass, Xplore and Buccaneer) is in close attendance, scoring 74.7%.
On the face of it, this year’s results represent a significant change, with Continental brands leaping ahead of their home-grown competition. In reality, the top of the league table looks different because the survey has more respondents. This means that more of the Continental brands have reached the minimum sample size to be included in the survey, rather than posting excellent results but in insufficient numbers to be included as before.
Likewise, the increase in award winners from six to seven is most likely due to the increased pool of responses rather than higher rates of satisfaction.
Award winners: Pre-owned caravans
Eriba goes one better than the equal second it achieved last year, winning the Pre-owned Caravan category. An excellent score of 85.6% secures the top spot and a Gold Award.
Coachman takes second place, just as it did in the New Caravans category. The score of 84.2% means Coachman will need to find space for another Gold Award in its trophy cabinet.
Last year’s winner, Adria, drops down the league table to third. It still picks up a Gold Award, though, scoring 81.6%.
Lunar, Swift, and Bailey also score well enough for Gold Awards, with hardly anything to score between them.
The Elddis Group is the solitary Silver Award winner, with a score of 76.7%.
Avondale and Freedom don’t have enough responses to be included in the main survey results, but high scores from the handful of owners who did complete the survey mean both deserve an honourable mention.
The total of seven award winners is one fewer than last year, but it’s pleasing that all but one of those reached the Gold Award standard.
Last year, Adria didn’t reach the minimum sample size for inclusion in the Pre-owned Caravan results. This year it does, and with a superb score of 86.1% to take the top spot and a Gold Award..
Equal second place goes to last year’s winner, Coachman. Scoring 84.7%, there’s another Gold Award to go in Coachman’s trophy cabinet.
Eriba benefits from having more survey responses than in previous years, matching Coachman in second spot with a Gold Award and a score of 84.7%.
Having narrowly been beaten by Swift in the New Caravans category, Bailey turns the tables in Pre-owned Caravans. The Bristol company scores 81.1% to earn a Gold Award. It couldn’t be much tighter, though – Swift scores 80.9% and also receives a Gold Award.
Lunar picks up the last of this year’s Gold Awards, scoring 80.2%.
Just two brands receive Silver Awards. Elddis/EHG scores 77.8%, while gone-but-not-forgotten Avondale scores 74%.
The number of award winners jumps from five to eight in 2023. As with the New Caravan category, the increased sample size has meant that more manufacturers meet the minimum sample size.
Best Caravan Manufacturer
Any award win in this survey is a great achievement, but to be named Best Caravan Manufacturer is arguably the greatest.
To win this prize demands consistent excellence among both new and pre-owned vans. There’s also a high bar in terms of sample size, making this award extremely tough to win.
Congratulations to Coachman on earning the top spot once again. It’s testimony to the quality and longevity of its caravans. The score of 81.4% puts Coachman clear of the chasing pack.
It’s very close between the other big-name domestic caravan manufacturers. Swift scores 78.4% to finish second. Elddis is just behind, scoring 77.1%. Bailey is fourth with a score of 76.1%.
Award winners: New caravan dealers
So, those are 2024’s award-winning caravan makers. Let’s move on to the top-performing dealers.
A great caravan is only as good as the service provided by the dealer. It’s the dealer that must help each customer choose the ideal tourer, demonstrate its features, and deal with any niggles that crop up. The best dealers make buying and owning a caravan a pleasure.
That’s not always the case, though. This survey consistently shows a gulf between the standards set by the top dealerships and those at the bottom of the league table. You could argue that choosing the right dealer is at least as important as finding the right caravan.
You’ll be more than happy with your choice if you shop at Salop Leisure. The score of 90.8% makes the Midlands company a Gold Award winner once again.
A number of other dealerships rival the standard set by Salop Leisure, Shrewsbury, Shropshire. Second place is taken by MG Caravans in Royston, Hertfordshire with a score of 89.3%. Third spot goes Lee Davey Caravans in Maidstone, Kent, scoring 88.4%.
Three more dealers earn Gold Awards. Congratulations to Couplands in Louth, Lincolnshire; Broadlane Leisure in Kenilworth, Warwickshire and Swindon Caravans, Wiltshire.
There’s a strong supporting cast with Silver Awards. Congratulations to White Arches in Northamptonshire, Raymond James in Warwickshire, Highbridge in Somerset and Devon, Robinsons Caravans in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, and Glossop Caravans in Derbyshire.
With 11 awards in total, 2024 sees a small drop from the 14 award winners last year. That’s largely down to sample sizes than a drop in standards. Many other dealers don’t quite meet the minimum number of responses for inclusion in the main survey results but do score highly. So take a good look at the list of dealers with an honourable mention if our Gold and Silver Award winners aren’t local to you.
2023 awards update
Let’s move on to see how the best dealers perform.
A caravan is only as good as the dealers who sell and service it. Customers will rarely have cause to deal with the manufacturer directly. It’s the dealer who must understand what each prospective owner is looking for and match that to the perfect van. It’s the dealer that handles routine servicing and warranty work and will be the first port of call to correct any faults.
As in previous years, there’s a gulf between the customer service of the best and worst dealers, so choosing the right place to buy from is at least as important as choosing the right ’van.
And if you want to be really well looked after when buying a new caravan, you can do no better than Blackmore Vale Leisure in Dorset. With a score of 92.4% Blackmore comfortably exceeds the standard for a Gold Award – its customers must be a very happy bunch.
Salop Leisure in the Midlands is only just behind with another Gold Award to polish thanks to a score of 90.5%. Salop won this category last year, so success in 2023 is no fluke.
Third place goes to Chipping Sodbury Caravans, scoring 89.1%. That’s a huge improvement on last year’s 74.9%. Whatever has changed in the past 12 months, it’s working.
In total, nine dealers earn Gold Awards and four more take Silver. So, wherever you are in the country, there should be a highly rated caravan dealer near you.
With 14 award winners, there’s a healthy increase on last year’s nine. As with the manufacturer awards, we put this down to the improved sample size rather than any big change in the standard of service.
Award winners: Pre-owned caravan dealers
Top dealers take good care of pre-owned caravan customers as well as new buyers. They may be spending different amounts, but both deserve good service.
If you’re looking for great rather than just good, head to Salop Leisure in Shropshire, Powys or Worcestershire. This year Salop does the double by winning both the new and pre-owned categories. It’s a remarkable achievement, and the score of 92.8% is well above the threshold for another Gold Award. Salop also won the Pre-Owned Caravan Dealer prize in 2023 and has been putting in consistently strong performances in this survey year in, year out.
Burton Caravan Centre in Staffordshire backs up last year’s Gold Award with another in 2024 and climbs up the rankings to second spot. With a score of 87.8%, Burton is just ahead of Webbs Motor Caravans in Berkshire, which score 84.8%. Congratulations to Swindon Caravans, Broadlane Leisure and Highbridge in Somerset and Devon, all earning Gold Awards. The Caravan Company, with branches in Dorset and Northampton, receives a Silver Award.
Many other dealers have an honourable mention, with high scores but a low sample size.
2023 awards update
The best dealers look after their pre-owned caravan customers just as well as the new buyers. They may be spending a little less, but they still deserve the best possible service.
If you are looking for the best of a good bunch, try one of Salop Leisure’s branches in the Midlands. Second among new caravan dealers, Salop climbs to the top step of the podium for pre-owned tourers and is the only dealer to strike gold in both the new and pre-owned categories. A score of 90.2% earns a Gold Award, and puts Salop clearly ahead of the next best.
That honour goes to Broadlane Leisure in Warwickshire. With a score of 83.7%, Broadlane wins a Gold Award this year. Just behind in third spot is Highbridge Caravans, with branches in Somerset and Devon, on 82.7%.
Burton Caravan Centre is the fourth and final Gold Award winner, with The Caravan Company (based in Dorset and Northamptonshire) just behind as the highest-scoring Silver Award winner.
Eight dealers earn Awards in the pre-owned category, with a number of others scoring well but without the sample size needed to figure in the main results.
The survey in detail
There’s more to this survey than a list of winners. Dig a little deeper and there’s all sorts to learn about the caravanners who responded to our survey, their buying habits, and industry trends, though this is not a survey of the whole of the market.
One feature is a shift towards pre-owned tourers. Usually, the majority of respondents have bought new tourers, but this year 52.2% have purchased a pre-owned caravan. This may reflect a tightening of purse strings while the cost of living is so high.
This year the average price of a new caravan in the survey is £30,921. That’s a big jump on the £27,426 average last year, which in turn was an increase on £24,395 in the 2022 survey.
The typical cost of a pre-owned caravan has also increased year on year. The average price paid by survey respondents was £14,992, up from £13,964.
Among new buyers, there has been a big increase in those spending over £30,000. This now accounts for 42.6% of the market, up from 26.6% last year. It seems we need ever deeper pockets to afford a brand-new caravan.
The average age of our survey respondents has also climbed, although only slightly. The average new caravan owner is now 62.9, while pre-owner caravan buyers are 60.
Relatively few younger owners are completing the survey. Just 4.1% of new caravan owners are under 45, down from 4.3% in 2023. Among pre-owned caravan buyers, 10.4% are under 45, matching last year’s percentage.
Reflecting the older demographic of the survey’s respondents, most are caravanning without children. Some 87.7% of new caravan buyers have no children in their household, and 78.8% of pre-owned caravan owners. Those numbers are broadly consistent with what we’ve seen in previous years.
Motor movers remain hugely popular. Some 90.5% of new caravan owners have a mover fitted, and 85.1% of pre-owned caravan buyers.
What went wrong?
Reliability is an important element of any good caravan. Our owner satisfaction survey goes into great detail, examining how often faults occur and which components are most likely to be faulty.
Unfortunately, this year’s survey sees an increase in the number of faults reported. Among new owners, 6.8% have had to take their caravan back to the dealer to have a problem addressed five times or more. That’s up from 4.8% last year. Just 0.7% of pre-owned caravan buyers have been this unlucky, but that’s still a jump from 0.3% last year.
The number of fault-free caravans is also down. Some 33.7% of new caravans have never been faulty, down from 36.6% last year. The figure for pre-owned caravans is 68.1%, down from 69.4% last year.
If you’ve seen the results of previous surveys you’ll know that spending more on a brand new ’van doesn’t mean experiencing fewer faults than buying pre-owned. It seems first owners are continuing to troubleshoot, to the benefit of second and third owners.
Some problems crop up all too frequently, with the biggest bugbear being the standard of fit and finish. This was listed as a fault by 55.5% of new caravan buyers, up from 37% last year. Among pre-owned caravans, that drops to 20.3%, although this is a rise compared with 2023.
The single most concerning area for pre-owned caravan owners is water ingress, with this fault occurring in 23.7% of caravans. This is one of the few areas in which new caravans perform better than older models, with 13.8% suffering from this problem. That’s up from 8.8% last year.
Faults with white goods, electrics, the water supply and washroom all crop up more frequently than last year for both new and pre-owned caravans.
While the data tells us what is happening, it doesn’t tell us why. Many of the caravans in the 2024 survey were bought in 2020 and 2021, when high demand combined with factory shutdowns and difficult working conditions due to the pandemic. Did that negatively affect quality control?
If that’s the case, you would expect the number of faults to drop back again over the next year or two. We’ll see.
Congratulations to all our winners.
Adria can feel especially proud of winning the New Caravan Manufacturer award for the third time out of four. Such consistency underlines just how satisfying these caravans are to own.
Likewise, Coachman underlines its consistently high standards this year, taking the overall Best Caravan Manufacturer award. Coachman invariably scores more highly than its domestic rivals, in both the new and pre-owned sides of the survey.
European brands tend to score well, but don’t always reach the required sample size for inclusion in the main results. Eriba is one of those manufacturers that doesn’t always make the cut, but a healthy number of owners showered pre-owned Eriba caravans with praise this year. The German caravan maker steps up from equal second to first in the Pre-owned Caravan Manufacturer category.
Many dealers can be proud of their legion of happy customers, but one outdoes the rest. Salop Leisure achieves a rare double this year, with the highest scores as a dealer of new and pre-owned caravans.
Behind the headline winners, however, the two most noticeable trends are both concerning. The price of both new and pre-owned caravans continues to rise, and there has been a frustrating increase in the number of faults reported.
With inflation slowing, fingers crossed that will be reflected in more stable prices in future surveys. And we’re crossing our fingers and toes that the increase in faults will prove a blip rather than a long-term trend.