Having been around since the very beginning of the Brit Stops empire I’ve seen the business grow and change over time, and seen Mandy and Steve drink a LOT of coffee. I’m hoping to share some things you didn’t know about Brit Stops and give some perspective from behind-the-scenes.
1. That eureka moment
The idea for Brit Stops came from our travels through France using a similar book called France Passion, we loved it so much that we wanted to do the same in the UK. However, with aires all but non-existent (bar a few in Wales) the idea had never really taken off here. We decided to take the plunge and created Brit Stops using France Passion as our reference point. Eight years later and we’ve actually set up a federation called FEFI (Fédération Européenne de la Formule Invitations) with France Passion and some of the other similar schemes in Europe with the aim of sharing information and good practice, as well as to promote each other.
2. The hardest part
Anyone who has been in a band will tell you – it’s surprisingly difficult to agree on a name! After much deliberation on what to call the scheme, Brit Stops was the final choice. It’s actually a mixture of “British Stopovers” and “Pit Stops” – clever, right?
3. Starting from scratch
The first ever Brit Stops book only had 75 hosts and was actually the most difficult book to put together! We had nothing to show potential hosts apart from the mock ups of the book and the plan for how it would work, obviously this made it a bit harder to convince them to join. Nowadays we can easily show new hosts the current book and have eight years of publications to demonstrate its growth – not only that, but Britstoppers are bringing us new suggestions for hosts all the time.
4. More space than you might think
One of the common questions we get from newcomers to Brit Stops is “Will we be able to find spaces easily?” We took the time to tally up the total number of spaces across all the hosts in the 2018 book and it came to a whopping 3172 – so don’t be too concerned! Of course if you’re heading to a stop in high summer or on a Bank Holiday you might find it a tad busy.
5. Someone’s got to do it
In order to make sure the 2018 book was completely up to date, Mandy phoned all the hosts to check if any changes were needed to their entry and to have a chat with them about how the scheme has been going for them, resulting in over 600 amendments. A lot of them actually said that their favourite thing about Brit Stops is getting to know all the Britstoppers and meeting people from different walks of life. Some have even made long-lasting friends and one of our hosts visited a Dutch couple he’d met at his farm shop!
Hopefully you learned something new about Brit Stops from reading this, and as always if you have any questions please leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you.