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Tag Archives: freespirit resort and holiday park management

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

Email Subject Lines that Drive Customer Feedback Survey Responses

Before a customer can complete your meticulously developed customer feedback survey, they need to open the email invitation. You have precious few seconds to prevent their finger jabbing at the delete key and your subject line is your first defence. So make it a good one.  There is lots research into what drives higher general email open rates, and we can leverage this to ensure that we maximise the open rates of our guest surveys. So let’s take a look. Words to Avoid Avoid looking spammy in a customer’s inbox, and with that in mind, avoid words like “free”, “ALL CAPITALS” and “!!!”. What has not been so clear is that, in the right context, that advice might not be so good. “Free” is no longer the highway to the junk mail folder that it used to be and in fact there are some words you probably are using that you need to avoid. For example, you should not use the following: 1. Help 2. Percent Off 3. Reminder So the first to go in the customer survey subject line reject bin is: “Reminder to complete our survey” Also in that bin is anything where you are asking for help from the recipient. Does this look familiar? “Help us improve our customer service” Okay so “Help” is out but there is another problem in that subject line. Can you see it? It’s All About Me We all like to think we are selfless and give to the common good but when it comes down to it, WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) rules supreme. That last subject line has nothing in it for the recipient. It’s all about the company. Your subject line needs to have something in it for the recipient, so they will want to open it and …Read More

Changes in Privacy Law have now taken effect

Yesterday (12 March 2014) marked the arrival of the new Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) and with it, significant change in Australia’s privacy laws which will impact businesses that collect and manage personal data. Privacy protection is about much more than complying with tightening regulations, because data is not just data, it’s information on human beings. The goal of better privacy protection shouldn’t be businesses avoiding fines or CEOs avoiding jail, it’s about doing what’s right for the customers. Fines are bad, but treating people with disrespect is worse! Are you and you your business prepared? How are you collecting data and storing it? Is your reservation system PCI compliant with the storage of credit card details? Does your reservation system securely and safely store client details Do you still take full details of a guest credit card for room charge etc purpose?  If so, are these stored securely and are these details destroyed after the guest has left your park?  Are your employees records current and filed away where they cannot be accessed by unauthorised persons?  Who are the authorised persons? There are many misconceptions about privacy and data protection laws, so it is important that your workplace is prepared for the new changes. In an age where the management of data is largely electronic, employers have a much greater opportunity to collect and retain vast amounts of information, much more than ever before. This information is useful to have on file – but what are the risks? The risks that an employer now faces are fines that range up to $1.7 million for a Company and $340,000 for individuals, so now, more than ever, employers should implement or update privacy policies and procedures to offer themselves greater protection. Employee records are not always exempt – the only records that are exempt are those that …Read More

From Ordinary to Extraordinary – First Impressions Count

As a caravan park owner/manager, have you ever made observations about your staff and wondered how their actions have affected the first impression they give your guests? Have you ever had staff that although friendly, may be more interested in talking amongst themselves when guests arrive in reception, or want to order a meal at the bistro or just to ask a general question? We know that the power of first impressions is paramount. And there is generally only once chance to get that right. Generally – Staff do what they are supposed to do. For example; Front reception staff, are encouraged to engage guests in reception, asking them questions about their stays, providing directions, and answering other questions about facilities, local tours and attractions, restaurants, etc. But hospitality is about more than function.  Every staff member’s job is made up of two parts: Job Function and Job “Spirit”. Staff are usually aware of their job functions: what to do and how to do it. These functions have already been covered thoroughly in their job descriptions, throughout their on-the-job training, and were reinforced by the job-specific feedback received from their immediate supervisors. Do they have the same awareness of the “spirit” of their jobs: Why they are doing it? The first step to correct this, is to add an addition to every job description highlighting the behavioural expectations of employees. Every job description for a hospitality role, should state that an employees’ first priority was to “provide a positive experience for all guests.” Properly and efficiently performing job functions will go a long way toward providing a positive experience for all guests, but consistently executing job function is insufficient, and the addition needs to outline a series of behaviours to avoid and to display. Staff are discouraged from huddling in …Read More

What Do Guests Really Want?

We live in a society reliant and obsessed on its gadgets and being connected. What does it mean to the provision of in-room technology in accommodation providers? Guests are already arriving at your property armed with their gadgets, including smart phones, PCs, iPads, tablets, portable gaming consoles, cameras and more. These devices have become their own entertainment providers. Essentially guests are now bringing their own entertainment with them. The expectations of guests have changed, as have their habits. Take a quick look around you wherever you go, the attachment we have to our devices is very evident. This attachment does not end when guests enter your rooms. With homes boasting state-of-the-art entertainment and Wi-Fi systems, there is an expectation that caravan parks, resort and other accommodation providers should also meet this standard of connectivity. Investing in the right technology can be the difference between guest satisfaction and guest annoyance.  Here are a few elements that may be on your guest’s wish list: #1 Fast, Reliable Internet Above all other technology is the need for fast and reliable Internet. It is as simple as that and it is not negotiable. A wired connection has been the preferred option in the past but now Wi-Fi is catching up and fast becoming the minimum standard. This need is being driven by devices such as iPads and other tablets that don’t have an ethernet port. #2 Power Outlets The second requirement is adequate and accessible transformer friendly power outlets. All the gadgets guests are bringing to your property creates a greater need for power points. Make them plentiful, make them transformer friendly and remember to not make your guests crawl under the desk to find them. A well thought out plan would include power points placed at desk height near the desk, the TV …Read More

25 Inspirational Customer Service Quotes

This is shared from Salesforce, but originated by Desk.com’s article – “50 Inspirational Customer Service Quotes To Hang In Your Office” Some of the most successful companies have one thing in common – incredible customer service. These businesses go out of their way to make the customer feel appreciated, understood and cared for. The end result of this is simple but powerful — a strong connection to the customer that goes deeper than the normal company-customer relationship. If your company is also setting out to better serve its customers, who are increasingly connected and opinionated, then you need a strong customer service philosophy. A strong philosophy on customer service will make the difference between standing out from the pack and staying competitive, or marring your brand name. Here are our pick of 25 of the best, most inspirational customer service quotes: 1. “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” – Bill Gates, Microsoft 2. “Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realise it themselves.” – Steve Jobs, Apple 3. “It is not the employer who pays the wages. Employers only handle the money… It is the customer who pays the wages.”- Henry Ford, Ford Motor Company 4. “We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job to make the customer experience a little bit better.” – Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com 5. “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” – Mahatma Gandhi 6. “Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends” – Walt Disney 7. “The goal as a company is to have customer service that is not just the …Read More

A Sense of Arrival, A Sense of Departure

Every guest using your caravan park/holiday resort has to do a minimum of 2 things – they must arrive, and they will at some point – leave. These are 2 crucial opportunities to “secure” these persons as “loyal” guests. The big question for all caravan park owners/managers should be: “Are you maximising your efforts and those of your staff at both opportunities?” Do your guests enjoy a “Sense of Arrival” and do you engage with your guests with a “Sense of Departure”? Most caravan park owners and managers should understand the concept of a sense of arrival. That wonderful moment (or what’s intended to be wonderful) when a guest arrives at your doorstep. The goal of this “moment” is to literally WOW your arriving guest from the beginning – to validate their selection that choosing your caravan park/holiday resort was the best decision they have made.  We are sure, that many caravan park owners or managers who may read this post have spent hours mulling over this topic, whilst also discussing it at length with their teams. It begins with your entry statement: * The gardens surrounding the entrance, and also to reception – should be at their very best. * Your reception area – should be free from clutter and mess – and be minimalistic. * Your staff should all be dressed in uniform – designed to create a sense of professionalism from the very moment a guest arrives. * Training for front desk staff should be comprehensive.  These staff should excel at welcoming guests, creating eye contact and delivering a smile. Every caravan park owner/manager should personally walk through “the arrival” – starting with the entrance statement and your front reception – with “eyes as a guest” to ensure that everything is as it should be. A sense of …Read More

Social Media and Reputation Management for Caravan Parks

Social media is everywhere – and travellers/holidaymakers are turning to review sites and social networks to research holidays, share experiences and consult information and advice from the source they trust most: other travellers. Caravan Park Operators (and many other hospitality businesses) are all facing similar challenges: What is being said about your caravan park, How to adapt to changes in technology and traveller behaviour, cut through the clatter, and use social media to drive higher awareness, guest satisfaction and revenue?  Earned media—getting people talking about and recommending your caravan park through reviews, ratings, imagery, blogs and online articles—has become an essential component of any caravan park marketing strategy. Converged media – maximise your reach; integrate paid, earned and owned content into your marketing campaigns. For example, when you launch a new cabin, facility or offering to your guests – feature it on your website and Facebook page (owned content), hold a contest to encourage people to spread the word on social networks (earned media), and amplify its reach with Promoted Posts on Facebook (paid content). Facebook  Is not just for socialising anymore – and there are two new features turning Facebook into an important marketing tool for caravan parks. • Nearby (also called Local Search) – allows users to search local businesses, ratings and reviews on their mobile device similar to Foursquare and TripAdvisor. • Graph Search – turns Facebook into a search engine for friend activities and interests. Maximise your presence on both applications by optimising your “About” page and encouraging likes, check-ins and photo-sharing. Your Caravan Park Website Make it social! Turn your website into a living, breathing thing that integrates earned media like a review feed, social icons, widgets and plugins with information about local events, dining and activities. This can benefit traffic, engagement and conversions, and …Read More

10 Things For Caravan Park Managers To Consider

STOP, LOOK & CONSIDER these 10 things…. 1. Reflect • Where do you stand in terms of revenue and occupancies? • What is the current forecast for the balance of the year? • How close are you to being on track with budget? • Have you checked your promotions and other marketing programs – are they meeting expectations? • Are you ensuring that your rates remain competitive? 2. Review the repairs and maintenance program for performed versus scheduled • Are these repairs up to date? • Are you scheduling the work to be done or are you allowing these last minute issues to dictate how you will spend your R&M allowance? 3. Review capital expenditures versus planned outlays • Often adjustments are needed to reflect unforeseen situations or delays. No one likes year-end surprises. Address any changes as early as possible. 4. A property walk should also include that of your key competitors • A little bit of field research can go a long way; maybe inspire you as well. Look hard at your property – what can you do to ensure that it is fresh and looking forward to the next wave of guests. 5.Talk to your sales/reservations team about the year’s rates • You need to build your base of guests, groups and/or meetings/conferences for next year. Your budget should be finalised so set yourself some targets, adjust rates and maximise bookings – all are critical to succeed 6. Time to ensure that all your rates are loaded for online bookings • What is your input for your marketing plan? • Do you have rates available for at least 366 days in advance? Rates can be changed, but customers who can’t book your property will be off scrutinising the next caravan park. 7. Marketing plans • Remember – …Read More

4 Reasons You Have to Respond on Social Media

I’m on Facebook and Twitter. Isn’t that enough? While that is definitely a good start, by no means is that enough. In today’s social world that we are a part of having a Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus, YouTube account, isn’t enough.  You need to be listening and watching what is being said, and if you want to see any results you need to regularly update and respond to people. Not sure why you need to be responding?  You cant just put your head in the sand and hope it will all be ok..   Let’s put it this way…… What if you were at a party talking to a friend?  And while you were talking to this friend, you kept asking your friend questions, but you got no response in return – NOTHING but complete silence. You’d think they were being pretty rude, right? A conversation is generally a two way street. Well, the same applies online. And as a business it is your duty to respond to people talking to you or at the very least, be responding to people who are looking for answers.  It’s good etiquette. Beyond the etiquette side of things, responding can do a lot good for your business and the relationships you build online.  Here are four reasons why you need to respond to as many people as possible online:  1.      Increases Your Credibility People are weary of online businesses.  This is a fact. I think the perception of online business is changing as everyone has to be online now, but it is still something to think about.  Responding to enquiries helps build your credibility as a business.  It makes you trustworthy and makes people feel comfortable doing business with you online as they know they can reach you online.  2.      Customer Expect It …Read More