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Good Communication Begins With Listening

The biggest conversation problem is we don’t listen to understand – we seem to listen to respond. Whether you’re interviewing for a new job, meeting with a prospective client or giving a presentation to your boss/colleagues – your success depends largely on your communication skills. Unfortunately, most people think of communication as talking or writing. They think primarily about getting their message across to the other person, and or responding to what the other person is trying to say. However, the key to being a great communicator is learning to listen.  Understanding what the other person is thinking will help you tailor your message to their needs and your future actions around that particular topic. This is the best way for you to succeed, become a better listener, a better employee, a better employer – even just generally a better person. Focus on the other person Remember the last time you tried to carry on a conversation with someone who was looking around the room or checking his/her watch? Frustrating right? Well imagine what it’s like for a potential employer. Let’s say Joe is interviewing with Susan the marketing manager at ABC Company. Joe is prepared. He carefully explains why he wants the job and what he can do for the company. Trouble is Susan notices that Joe frequently looks down or gazes out the window. She finds it difficult to take Joe seriously. Naturally, you’ll want to avert your gaze from time to time in order to avoid starring. Try to do this while still focusing on the other person. Practice maintaining eye contact with friends and colleagues. Soon you’ll feel comfortable in any situation. Stop thinking about you “No man would listen to you talk if he didn’t know it was his turn next.” (Quote from Ed Howe) …Read More

Employees – Please Stop and Ponder This

How can you succeed in the hospitality industry, especially if you wish to remain with the same company, at least in the short term? Try these simple guidelines for getting ahead or taking control of your own career development! A few simple concepts include: • Remember, promotion is a reward, it is not a right • In order to be noticed take a simple project and turn it into something that is both memorable and that showcases your abilities • Don’t dress for the job you’ve got, dress for the job you want • Keep improving Promotion is a Reward, it is not a Right  How many people in our business get frustrated because they see others progressing faster than they are? One might hear “I have been with the company for 3 years now…” as what is meant to be a convincing argument for promotion. The truth of the matter is that the growth and development that most people are seeking is going to happen when they show they are ready for it, and not before. Nobody can expect others to recognise and reward their potential if they are not at least prepared to create opportunities for that potential to shine through. This can mean volunteering, rather than waiting to be asked. It can mean being proactive about offering assistance, or asking for learning and development opportunities rather than waiting for someone else to offer them. It is just as important to realise that the career growth you seek has to be earned. In order to be noticed take a simple project and turn it into something that is both memorable and that showcases your abilities: The message is simple and is perhaps one of the best pieces of advice for anybody wishing to move their career along. It …Read More

Motivation: What Drives You?

What motivates you? What drives you? What inspires you to be more than you usually are? The truth is, several things motivate me, but from a business perspective, and for the purpose of this article, I will focus on just two: #1: I am motivated by seeing people treated well. I mean exceptionally well. It particularly excites me when the recipient of the kindness and the giver of the kindness don’t know each other. I love that! #2: I am also motivated by seeing people who work with pride, passion, and professionalism. You know the ones. The ones who work with a purpose. You can feel that they didn’t wake up to be mediocre, and they sure won’t sit on their laurels either. These are the ones who always look for ways to do more than is expected of them. The Guest Enquiry When working in our holiday parks, I often stand in and work beside the staff to ensure the message they are delivering to our customers is as it should be. On a recent trip to one of our parks, a potential guest came into reception to enquire about room availability – she asked about a couple of room options to which I replied “How about I meet you out the front of reception and take you around to the 3 different room types which I think will be most appropriate so you can choose which one would best suit your needs”. The guest smiled and responded with “I’d love that”. That may not sound like much, but when I was speaking with the potential guest and showing her the rooms, she said “that is the first time anyone has ever offered to show me the rooms before I book”. She was impressed. From where I sit, if …Read More

Why Social Media is Necessary for Your Holiday Park

Everyone else is doing it And we don’t mean in the ‘if everyone jumped off a cliff’ sense. We mean that when somebody searches for a holiday park in your area, your competition is going to show up – accessible, streamlined, full of reviews, and with a friendly and warm atmosphere. Hopefully, you’ll show up before them. This is going to be a lot harder if you don’t actually have a cohesive Social Media plan. Anyone underestimating the importance of maintaining an online presence is losing hundreds of sales to people who do. If you don’t know something, you Google it, right? Well, so do your customers. When it comes to travel, they’ll be researching it through the most accessible channels available to them. They’re going to use it anyway Due to the huge popularity of aggregate sites likeTripAdvisor, people are going to be posting reviews of your company if you have even the barest entry. It’s a dream come true for most businesses; people are going to come to you and spread word of mouth about how great you are without you even needing to ask! However, here are two almost identical scenarios. In both, you have the busiest day imaginable. You’re almost fully booked up and half of your staff are off with the flu. Someone approaches your staff with a complaint about their caravan site, and unfortunately they’re so over-stretched that the job falls through the cracks and nothing is done about it. Accidents happen, and nobody can run a perfect business 100% of the time, but the customer is understandably quite upset and writes a 1\5 star review on a travel website. In situation 1, it lingers on the page, unanswered. Customers see the page (whether you have a presence or not, it’ll be there) and …Read More

How to Best Respond to Negative Guest Reviews

In the age of Internet travel sites, guest reviews have become more important than ever. The sheer number of people looking for reviews of your holiday park before they commit to a booking means that it’s something you can’t and shouldn’t ignore. It’s almost inevitable that you’ll experience at least one negative review about your holiday park at some point, so it’s important to understand how these are best dealt with. In a 2010 TripAdvisor study, 79% of travellers said that a business responding to a negative guest review gives them assurance. This shows that by simply taking the time to acknowledge a negative review and respond to an unhappy guest, you are actually able to minimise some of the damage that review may cause. So what should you do when you receive a negative review from a guest?

8 Holiday Park Marketing Strategies You Need to be Using

The importance of technology continues to grow amongst all industries, from finance to hospitality. It’s therefore no surprise that holiday parks should be consistently utilising technology in their marketing, particularly as capitalising on the online space is the current trend in 2015. So how do you go about beginning to use technology in marketing your holiday park? This post will outline some successful strategies you should consider. Content marketing Content is king, no matter the industry. Today’s consumers are craving regular, quality content, and they’re searching online for this content every day. By engaging in content marketing you’ll be putting your holiday park on the map, and developing trust amongst potential consumers. Educational, non-sales, editorial content pieces are a great way of showing your expertise in the industry, and inherently advertising your holiday park without being too obvious.

7 Ways to Improve Your Ranking on TripAdvisor

  TripAdvisor continues to be a growing community in the travel space, and the annual TripBarometer survey found that online reputation management is the top priority of hospitality businesses in 2015. For travellers, TripAdvisor presents a reputable source of information on all types of hospitality businesses, including holiday parks. A positive ranking and rating can have a tremendous impact on the visibility and number of visitors you receive. So what can you do to make your holiday park stand out from the pack on TripAdvisor?

FreeSpirit takes ownership after Darwin resort acquisition

On Monday, FreeSpirit Resorts Pty Ltd purchased the freehold of Darwin FreeSpirit Resort, no longer just managing the operations, but now having full ownership and control of the resort. The management company had already held the leasehold on the Darwin property for nearly 11 years, until the opportunity to purchase the freehold recently became available. FreeSpirit Resorts Pty Ltd Chief Operations Officer Yvonne Bristow says the acquisition is the beginning of a new era. “Our involvement with Darwin FreeSpirit Resort dates back to our company’s inception, when we began by assisting corporate entities that had invested in holiday parks or resorts and did not have the operational expertise or desire to manage them,” Ms Bristow says. “Purchasing the freehold was the most logical step to take after managing the resort for almost 11 years and this now marks the beginning of a new era for us, as well as the resort. “The acquisition will allow us to operate unconditionally and further improve all facets of the resort.” “FreeSpirit also provides operational management services, training and development and master planning consultancy services for the entire caravan industry. Darwin FreeSpirit Resort is situated on 11 hectares in Holtze – 17km from the Darwin CBD and 3km from Palmerston – and when at capacity, has the ability to accommodate up to 1,500 persons per night. The resort has 3 pools, a licensed bar and bistro, function room, jumping cushion, camp kitchens, barbeque areas and much more. There are 150 rooms available at the resort, over 300 caravan and camping sites, as well as numerous amenity blocks including laundry facilities for guests. The resort has a great mix of guests from holidaymakers travelling to Darwin, but also people looking for short or long-term accommodation including contract workers. FreeSpirit Resort & Holiday Park Management also …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

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