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Holiday parks leaders in their field

Holiday parks leaders in their field

Several holiday parks from around the country have been honoured for their innovation and hospitality at the recent Holiday Parks Conference.

AA Spirit of Hospitality Award

Winner: Mercury Bay Holiday Park, Whitianga

Little things that can make a huge difference to their guests’ experience added up to the prestigious AA Spirit of Hospitality Award for Helena and Craig Stratford of Mercury Bay Holiday Park, Whitianga.

“Jump starting cars, lending spades to dig soak holes at the famous Hot Water Beach, booking boat trips and restaurants, recommending things to see and do, charging mobile phones and changing tyres are just a few of the things their guests have said they have appreciated,” AA Tourism Publishing Limited General Manager Moira Penman says.

Holiday Parks Association New Zealand (HAPNZ) Chief Executive Fergus Brown says the AA Traveller Spirit of Hospitality Award is recognised by HAPNZ members as the premium award.

“This award emphasises the importance of world class customer service and acknowledges those who are providing their guests with an exceptional experience.”

Outstanding Contribution to the Holiday Park Sector

Winner: Kay and Dave Roche, Bowentown Beach Holiday Park

It’s a team effort for Kay and Dave Roche of Bowentown Beach Holiday Park. Mr and Mrs Roche are the first couple to win the award for Outstanding Contribution to the Holiday Park Sector.

The couple have been actively involved in the tourism and holiday park business for close to 30 years and are well known for going the extra mile to help others across the sector.

“If any holiday park in the region is having a problem, we know we can call on Kay and Dave. They’ll drop everything and do all they can to help out,” Mr Brown says.

The couple are widely known for the support, advice and friendship they show others in the sector, both new and established operators. They have been mentors to many and are dedicated to furthering the cause of the holiday park sector.

They were instrumental in establishing one of our marketing groups and invested their time to get the project going, Mr Brown says.

They have travelled to the Queensland Caravan annual show for the last four years at their own expense to represent the whole of the holiday park sector. This show runs for a week and attracts more than 70,000 visitors, so their attendance is a significant benefit to all new Zealand holiday parks.

Last year, Bowentown Beach Holiday Park raised $6615 for the HAPNZ charity, Breast Cancer Research Trust – the second biggest sum raised by a single park for the year.

Tourism Industry Association (TIA) Innovation Award

Winner: All Seasons Holiday Park, Rotorua

A collection of life-size dinosaurs won the TIA Innovation Award for All Seasons Holiday Park, Rotorua. The park has created a Dinosaur Garden as an educational and fun family activity.

Each dinosaur can be identified with the aid of a ‘clue sheet’ the park provides.

“Kids of all ages spend hours running around figuring out what each one is. Parents love this as it keeps the kids amused, giving them time to set up a tent, cook dinner, or just relax,” Mr Brown says.

“It’s a fun holiday activity for families and gives them another reason to visit the park.”

The dinosaurs are also available for adoption by individuals and businesses to help the park raise money for the HAPNZ charity, Breast Cancer Research Trust.

President’s Award for Contribution to the Community – sponsored by TIA

Winner: Waiteti Trout Stream Holiday Park, Ngongotaha

Waiteti Trout Stream Holiday Park’s successful efforts to improve the Waiteti Stream earned it the President’s Award for Contribution to the Community.

Much of the park’s 147m of stream frontage was badly eroded. After a significant flood in August 2012 a Riparian Management Plan was agreed with the Bay of Plenty Regional Council.

The key objectives were to:

• Protect and enhance soil and water conservation values in the Lake Rotorua catchment

• Improve the resilience of the Waiteti Stream bank and adjacent land against flooding to reduce erosion and sedimentation to Lake Rotorua

• Recover some eroded land and protect the lower camp sites from flood damage.

The total cost for the work was $41,752 – the regional council paid 25% with the balance paid by the holiday park.

“That’s a significant expense for any business but the park has been able to recover some eroded land which means some sites are now 3-4m2 larger. The work has also helped reduce the impact of floods on the neighbouring Waiteti Marae,” Mr Brown says.

“The investment will enhance the park’s usage and value.”

Michael Thorne of Waiteti Trout Stream Holiday Park also won a special President’s Award for his work coordinating the parks in the Rotorua area.

Jasons Smart Business Award

Winner: Taupo DeBretts Spa Resort

A range of innovations and improvements saw Taupo DeBretts Spa Resort win the Jasons Smart Business Award. These include the establishment of an advisory board of leaders in different disciplines to support the business decisions.

The park has also introduced a cloud-based property management system which allows guests to select rooms or sites to ensure they are located with friends or next to playground facilities. The system also records guests’ contact details, which has helped Taupo DeBretts to grow their marketing database to over 450,000 people.

The appointment of a purchasing officer has improved the park’s stock control and achieved an average of 18% better purchasing pricing.

Another initiative has seen the park contract a 24/7 call centre which has resulted in the number of missed calls dropping from 650 per month to 0.

In recognition of the growing Chinese market, the park has employed two Mandarin speaking team members and integrated with Chinese social media platforms, Weibo and Wechat.

“Taupo DeBretts demonstrates that a range of relatively small initiatives can make a big difference and keep the business on the leading edge,” Mr Brown says.

Seekom Innovation in Online Marketing Award

Winner: Te Anau Kiwi Holiday Park

Efforts to support the fast-growing Chinese visitor market have seen Te Anau Kiwi Holiday Park win a national award for online marketing.

The park was named as winner of the Seekom Innovation in Online Marketing Award at the recent Holiday Parks Conference.

Recognising that the number of visitors from China was growing quickly, the park decided to produce a Chinese language page on its website to make it easier for Chinese travellers.

As a result, the park is getting more Chinese bookings directly via the website rather than through other booking channels.

“This award shows that you do not have to be technically clever to get an online innovation award,” Holiday Parks Association New Zealand (HAPNZ) Chief Executive Fergus Brown says.

“It’s relatively simple to add Chinese or other language pages to a website yet they are still the exception rather than the norm. We hope more properties will follow Te Anau Kiwi Holiday Park’s lead in welcoming those visitors whose first language is not English.”

* About 300 delegates attended the 2014 Holiday Parks Conference at the Marlborough Convention Centre, 23-26 June. The event is estimated to be worth about $500,000 to the local economy.


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