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Smile to Make You and Your Guests Feel GOOD

Want to stand out in a crowd, be healthier, and make your guests feel welcome? … then SMILE! Smiling: • Makes Us Attractive We are attracted to people who smile. We want to engage with a smiling person and figure out what is so good. Frowns, scowls and grimaces all push people away, but a smile draws them in, so smile when greeting your guest/s. • Relieves Stress Stress can really show up in our faces. Smiling helps to prevent us from looking tired, worn down, and overwhelmed. If you looked stressed, guests will pick up on this, so smile when you are talking to them, your stress should be reduced and you’ll be better able to look after your guest/s. • Changes Our Mood The next time you are feeling down, try smiling. There’s a good chance your mood will change for the better. Smiling can trick the body into helping you change your mood and others. • Is Contagious When someone is smiling they lighten up the room, change the moods of others, and a smiling person brings happiness with them. Smile at your guests, they will smile right back. • Boosts Your Immune System   Smiling helps the immune system to work better. When you smile, immune function improves; perhaps it is because you are more relaxed. • Lowers Your Blood Pressure When you smile, there is a measurable reduction in your blood pressure. Give it a try if you have a blood pressure monitor at home. Sit for a few minutes, take a reading. Then smile for a minute and take another reading while still smiling. Is there a difference? • Releases Endorphins, Natural Pain Killers and Serotonin Studies have shown that smiling releases endorphins, natural pain killers, and serotonin. Together these three make us feel …Read More

Keeping Your Employees and Your Own Self Healthy

Perhaps you may ask, why bother? Having healthy staff members who are energetic and want to work will benefit your business enormously, so step up and lead the charge. Encourage your employees to be healthy and active, lead by example; get those “endorphins” pumping. MOVE Movement is absolutely essential for your circulatory system, immune function, posture and strength. It also helps to develop improvements in endurance, overall energy and plays an important role in your systemic health. So find an activity to embrace and include it daily as a key part of your commitment to living well; your body loves to move! It is recommended that we all exercise first thing in the morning and give yourself an energy boost for the rest of the day, however, aim for balance, check in with yourself regularly and try something different; your body will thank you for it. STAND UP  Recent research has revealed that the Western population is now spending half of every day sitting down and it now believed that increased time sitting down is linked with poor health outcomes including the chance of developing diabetes, cardiovascular disease and even the risk of early death. Sitting for extended periods of time places a force on the body that it is not built to accommodate. One of the reasons it is deemed to be bad is because it disengages the pelvic floor, which is critical in supporting the lower back and lumbar spine. There is also evidence available that suggests that exercise or physical activity will not undo the damage caused by prolonged sitting. Instead, it’s much better to stand up as often as you can. Both standing and moving involve more muscular contractions than sitting and burns around 50 more calories per hour. If your day involves long periods of …Read More

How “change” can drive the structure of a company

FreeSpirit Resort and Holiday Park Management was incorporated in late 2003 by experienced owner/operators of large holiday parks. The company aim was to sell their management and operational expertise to others; especially to the larger corporate entities wishing to expand their structures to include holiday parks. But things change! It is difficult to fight against the forces of change so why not better focus your energy towards your own advantage. Perhaps a good analogy would be to ask this question “How many dinosaurs do you see walking down the street?” The answer should be none…and why “Because they could not adapt to the changes that occurred”. So to avoid extinction, embrace the changes that continually bombard you and your business.  Some of the changes that every caravan park operator faces daily include: being business savvy, being insightful of analytics and interpreting data, honing good leadership skills, understanding technology and working through the sociology minefield required to understand employees and the changing market demands. However, one of the biggest changes that our industry faces is compliance. It seems that the Australian psyche wants to “assist” each of us to be directly responsible for our actions and have introduced and legislated so many different acts, that each of us needs the equivalent of a law degree to decipher and then apply many of the expectations. Corporate entities especially are faced with these concerns. A director of a company can now be found personally liable for the actions of an employee that he/she may not have ever met. And the single operator faces exactly the same dilemmas. Caravan Park operators are now being forced to “rewire their skills”. Capability, skill development and deployment are critical to achieving this. So how do you operate a business profitably and ensure that every aspect of compliance …Read More

Privacy Checklist

Have you ever been asked about another employee or even a guest staying at your property? The question may seem innocent at the time but it so important that you qualify the request BEFORE you hand over any information. To ensure that you do not break any law on privacy, use the following 3 step checklist: 1. Is the request for information legitimate? It may be required by a union official, health & safety representative or committee member to investigate an alleged health and safety breach. However, the worker records have to be directly relevant to a suspected contravention of health and safety legislation. To ensure that they are, you must understand what the breach is according to the official, and how the records are relevant. These documents must be essential in undertaking an investigation into the alleged breach; not something which may cast only some light on what has happened. If they are not directly relevant, the request can be refused. Assuming that the records are directly relevant, you cannot allow anyone to inspect or make copies of a document; to do so would contravene a Commonwealth or State law, such as the Privacy Act 1988. o If a stranger has walked into reception and asks which site a guest is staying on, STOP and go no further. 2. Are you familiar with the type of information that you may provide to ensure that you will not breach the Privacy Act?  o Have you provided your staff with the necessary training and knowledge? 3. Is the identity of the employee/ guest protected? o Unless you have their consent you cannot provide any information. Have you asked your guests for their permission to provide their information to any person who may enquire? Everything you need to know can be found …Read More

KPI – Key Performance Indicator

Last week at the 2015 National Caravan Industry Association of Australia’s conference in Melbourne, FreeSpirit conducted a short workshop on how training your employees can actually reduce the costs of operating your business (in the longer term). During this session, it was rewarding to see how many persons were interested in the discussion on the value of KPI’s and from this we thought it prudent to share some brief notes on this topic. What is a KPI? Put simply, these are the goals, targets or skills required for an individual staff member to achieve. Once these are set and the employees (and managers) achieve them, the OVERALL BUSINESS WILL BENEFIT. What should be used to establish/build these KPI’s? i. The aim of the company (mission statement). ii. The individual employee Job Descriptions. Some of the things to include should be:  • FINANCIAL TARGETS • LEADERSHIP • POLICY AND PROCEDURES • CUSTOMER SATISFACTION • ENVIRONMENT • TIME MANAGEMENT What factors should be considered when these KPI’s are issued. i. These KPI’S should be mutually discussed and agreed PRIOR TO COMMENCEMENT. ii. Must have TIME LIMITS ATTACHED. iii. Have to be MEASURED AND ACHIEVABLE. iv. Should allow for IMPROVEMENT of the SKILL BASE of the EMPLOYEE (and or the business). v. EACH KPI SHOULD BE WEIGHTED AGAINST ITS IMPORTANCE. vi. And most importantly, they must benefit BOTH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYEE. Could the setting of KPI’s result as a financial burden to the business? i. The business must budget for these when setting the annual budgets otherwise successful achievement of these KPI’S by your employees may have a negative impact on the allowance for employment costs in the park/ business budget. ii. WAGE/SALARY LEVELS/STRUCTURES/ BONUSES should be established with these rewards factored. How will the business benefit from KPI’s? i. If KPI’S are used …Read More

Tariff Setting – some strategies to assist!

Here are a couple of strategies from us to assist with revenue maximisation. Without doubt, price is one of the biggest factors guests consider when shopping for a site or cabin. Trying to set your tariffs to remain attractive and still profitable can be a challenge. For too long, caravan parks have set their tariffs months in advance and published these for the guest to insist that they are honoured. From this – problems eventuated; “Price your cabins and sites too low and you’re missing out on revenue, price your cabins and sites too high and your potential guests might walk to a competitor”.  So what can be done to maximise your daily revenue and at the same time minimise your operational costs. Firstly, stop publishing tariffs – this way you can remain flexible with your tariffs so that you can adjust them quickly when and if they need to be varied. Then try the following strategies: Anchor your tariff? The technique of Tariff Anchoring plays on people’s tendencies to rely heavily on the first price offered when making a decision. When a potential guest asks for your rates, start with the higher rooms first. It is not uncommon to raise tariffs as your property inches closer to being fully booked. On a busy weekend night, those last few cabins or sites should be worth more and anyone who has worked the front desk/ reservations at those times would have had some persons scoff at the rates and decide not to book. This will always be a challenge so try this exercise in Tariff Anchoring. Example: “Our Deluxe sites are $65 for the night, but our Standard sites are only $52.” This selling technique may help build value in the Standard site’s price by highlighting the cheaper price. Using “Useless …Read More

Recruitment 101 – How to get it Right the First Time

Having good employees is vital for your business! The right staff will help your business grow however on the flipside, the wrong choice can cause anguish and will be expensive! Choosing a new employee can be challenging so here are few tips to prepare you for the journey through the minefield of employing new team members. Take the time to develop relationships Time pressures are nothing new, especially in a caravan park/holiday resort, but a shock resignation from a staff member can leave employers and employees scratching their heads. Recruitment is not easy – so take time to develop relationships with potential candidates before you need them. Build your talent pool early so you have some good “potentials” in the pipeline before vacancies exist – whether it be friends, industry colleagues or competitors. Tell everyone that you have a job vacancy Chances are your employees are connected to hundreds of potential candidates via social media – and that they might even know someone who is ideally suited to the job. Industry experience is usually well regarded so spread the word in the hope you can find a winner. Encourage your staff to reach out to their networks, let your industry colleagues know you are on the hunt, and spread the word to as many contacts as possible. Same as your guests – post the job online and ask your guests to share with any of their friends who might be suitable for the role and looking for work. Know What You’re Looking For Rather than taking a risk, develop a clear picture of who you want to fill the job. Building a complete job description is a good starting point, but it is also essential to know the behavioural traits and qualities you want as part of your team. List …Read More

Social Media Marketing 101

DO and DON’T POINTERS for Caravan Park Operators There are so many social media sites to choose from these days! And it has become easier as well as more cost-effective for holiday parks to reach out to their customers via these channels. Social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter allow parks to connect with past, present and potential guests – whether they be local or international – via interactions, special offers and feedback. The trick to social media is to use it correctly, so take some time and learn the art of balancing social media posts – between posting infrequently or the reverse by posting several times a day and bombarding your guest feeds with posts. Here are some of our recommendations for the do’s and don’ts of social media marketing: Do’s • Make your first impression count Your profile page is the first impression that a guest has of your caravan park. The impact of your profile has to be powerful and to the point. The initial description should be precise yet innovative. • Paint an inviting picture Remember “A picture is worth a thousand words”, therefore, use great looking and inviting photos – consider the local attractions as well to encourage your guests to stay with you. • Target peer groups Social media marketing attracts and includes business of similar natures. Your presence in complementary pages can entice a lot of people to follow your page. Engage and participate in groups that are corresponding to your park’s profile like travel groups, local attractions and hospitality groups and build your network with them through posts, comments or shares. • Engage and get creative Use social media marketing as a platform to engage and interact with your guests. You can promote your special offers and discounts to entice …Read More

Use Facebook Contests as part of your Caravan Park’s marketing strategy

Facebook contests are good marketing strategies for businesses of any size. You’ve probably heard Facebook success stories from the big brands with large budgets. They often have elaborate landing pages, TV commercials, paid blog posts and celebrity endorsements. What about small businesses that don’t have thousands of marketing dollars to spend? Let us share this list with you to help get you started: 1. Tie your contest into current events Use a contest with a pending holiday season Eg. Easter break with a virtual Easter Egg hunt. Hide Easter eggs on your website each day, for a number of days prior to the time. The first player to find an egg and click on it wins a $20 gift card. All of the clues and hints to find the eggs should be posted on Facebook – smart way to drive people to your website.  2. Run a photo contest During the summer, run contests using your caravan park mascot (if you don’t have one create one or use your staff). Get your fans to tell you where and when the mascot will be at events, and if they snap a picture with the mascot and post it, they get a gift certificate as a thank you. Create a Facebook landing page on your fan page using the Wildfire app – Facebook guidelines say brands should run contests like this through an app. To promote one of the special features of your area or park, ask people to submit pictures of people using this area. Fans posted pictures of themselves enjoying the facility/feature. People vote on the photos, driving new exposure, and as a result, traffic continues even after the contest ended. 3. Play simple guessing games with your fans Run promotions at a fixed time each week. This gives your …Read More

15 Ways to Boost Your Guest Reviews Online

The impact of guest feedback should never be underestimated. So important is word of mouth to a business that there is an entire marketing strategy named after it – WOM Marketing. WOM marketing can make or break your business, be it a clothing store, building firm, or holiday park. When it’s accommodation, WOM marketing is doubly important. Get it right, and you’ll have little or no need for an advertising budget, with guests arriving on the back of positive feedback. One such way to acquire feedback from guests is to outright ask them for it, but many accommodation managers feel uncomfortable doing this. Should they, however? Surely if you pride yourself on offering incredible customer service, comfortable accommodation, wonderful facilities, and an overall quality product, you should have nothing to fear by asking someone to spread the word. Most customers are happy to share their experience in a few short words, and rarely would anyone ever feel offended by the asking of five minutes help to improve their next stay.