Game changer challenge for tourism says VicParks CEO

August 09, 2014
 Game changer challenge for tourism  says VicParks CEO

Retired and permanently traveling Baby Boomers challenge caravan park operators to provide safe secure and quieter accommodation for their demographic Elizabeth White, Chief Executive Officer of the Victorian Caravan Parks Association says.

Tourism businesses are challenged to rethink their business models in the light of constant change she said in a report to VicParks members.

"Change is on our heels on many fronts, she said.

Everyone wants more services, but not any increase in prices. Free WiFi, metered power heads to measure power use, more luxurious amenities blocks, upgraded campers lounges... the list of capital work upgrades is never ending.

Young familes want more play features and games; younger Gen Y customers look for evidence of sustainability and other eco tourism features. How do we successfully accommodate all of this customer segmentation into one location?'

The growth of residential-only caravan parks has been phenomenal, as the retired Boomers seek to downsize into affordable accommodation, she said

She said the recent Annual Conference of the Victorian Tourism Industry Council presents the message that customers demand a higher level of service and they make their choices on where to go and where to stay on the basis of friendly helpful service both before and during their stay.

Key recommendations from the Victorian Tourism Industry Council conference are to stop fighting the old and focus on the new; new customers, new ways of doing business and new technology systems, she said.

The ability to win more guests through friendly and informative websites is now as critical as generating positive word-of-mouth recommendations from satisfied customers, Elizabeth White said.

She said speakers at the Victorian Tourism Conference discussed the importance of of building partnerships and positioning their businesses for prosperity-all focussed on how the game is changing with the tourism industry.

What this means is that we can double our businesses, even in leaner winter months, by partnering with other local businesses to offer customers deals that encourage them to stay longer and experience more of what an area has to offer.

Everyone loves a good deal and the offer of an accommodation package that offers free or reduced price entry to other local businesses can be very attractive, Elizabeth White said.

The overall message from the Victorian Tourism Industry Council Annual Conference was that customers are demanding a higher level of customer service, and that increasingly they make their choices on where to go and where to stay on the basis of friendly and helpful service both before and during their stay, Elizabeth White said.

Our goal must be to not only meet our visitor's expectations but to essentially exceed them. There is a lot of work to do in this space, but it was heartening to hear at the conference about how a number of businesses have been adopting this mindset within their business practices already.

She said VicParks has assisted members in the Ballarat area to oppose a council proposal for free camping sites to be developed within the city.

VicParks has lobbied hard to oppose the recommendation on the basis that there is no demonstrated and independent evidence that free campers will substantially raise retail business levels in the city and that council will take on greater risk and liability from instituting free camping, Elizabeth White said.

She said the Ballarat free campsite proposal set up a non-level playing field.

Basically the business integrity of commercial caravan parks with huge compliance costs from rates, fire safety regulations, caravan park regulations on sanitation, lighting and staffing are threatened by the development of free camping sites at their very gates, she said.

Reference for Story: Report by Elizabeth White CEO Vic Parks

Editors note: These free Information Articles from the GoSee library provide more context on the camping issue which is before Ballarat Council.

Editors note: and are freeroad touring websites set up by the Canberra based website building company ContACT Internet Solutions. Both websites are designed to provide an easy to use free national source of information for travellers and the caravanning industry to assist drive tourism in Australia and New Zealand.

Our company policy is to recommend caravan parks for the security of travellers.

GoSee staff members are lifetime caravanners and campers. The company has two dedicated Jayco caravans a camper, various tentsand four tow vehicles. Two stafflive on the road full time in a third GSA21ft caravan.

Our staff members include long-term caravan park owners.

GoSee free camps when and where appropriate. GoSee will not free camp to the detriment of a caravan park.

GoSee pays its way when travelling. Usually this is at the commercial rack rate.

In 2009 a GoSee survey of road travellers and caravan parks produced positive information on camping needs in Australia and New Zealand.