After going head to head with some of the best rated holiday parks in New Zealand, Russell Top 10 Holiday Park was announced as the winner of the 2016 AA Traveller Spirit of Hospitality Award.
The park received the national award at the Holiday Parks Conference in Rotorua tonight.
AA Tourism Publishing General Manager Moira Penman says what set Russell Top 10 Holiday Park apart is its commitment to actively seek and listen to feedback and then implement change.
“The judges were impressed with how highly the whole team at Russell Top 10 Holiday Park valued feedback, including coming back with customised responses and going back to guests after making changes based on what they had been told,” says Ms Penman.
“So often the basic act of listening and showing people that you’ve heard what they’ve said isn’t given the value it needs, but it’s so crucial in the tourism and hospitality sector – it really is what sets businesses like these apart and makes them memorable,” she adds.
The park is the first to be managed in New Zealand by Next Generation Holiday Parks which took over last year.
Owner Daniel Tilton says his family has been involved in the holiday park industry in Australia for more than 20 years.
“We made some investment into improving the facilities at the Russell Top 10 Holiday Park, but mainly we put a focus on customer service. It’s always been our focus in the past and we encourage people via web, email and in person to review us after their stay. This gives us great insight into what our customers want and enables us to act on those wants and needs immediately,” he says.
They have also joined groups on Facebook for people who are travelling around Australia and New Zealand and listen to their discussions about what they like and don’t about holiday parks.
“We then try to shape our offering to appeal to their needs and wants,” says Mr Tilton.
Holiday Parks Association New Zealand (HAPNZ) Chief Executive Fergus Brown says the AA Traveller Spirit of Hospitality Award sets the standard for hospitality within the industry, a bar that is lifting year on year.
“We’re increasingly seeing the standard of hospitality improve within the sector, even within bigger parks where sometimes providing that personal touch can be difficult,” says Mr Brown.
The judging panel was made up of representatives from AA Traveller, Tourism New Zealand and Inside Tourism.