The acquisition of Top Parks by Discovery Parks in 2018 resulted in the creation of Australia’s largest network of holiday parks. In this week’s episode we chat with Laura Cocking the Top Parks Business Development Manager (BDM) for WA, NT, QLD and Northern NSW. With Laura responsible for the business development for almost half the country, her understanding of the caravan and camping industry is extremely insightful.
Cast your fears aside
Laura’s experience within the industry began at a very early age, cleaning for love in her own family owned tourist park in Mandurah WA, from the tender age of five years old. Laura’s first real life changing moment came at the age of fifteen, when with the guidance of Top Parks CEO Bill Piecroft, Laura negotiated a significant pay rise. This moment highlighted to Laura the comradery and supportiveness of people within the caravan and camping industry, igniting a passion within her. This early win also gave Laura the confidence needed to cast her fears aside and apply for a position on the board for Top Parks when it became available. Her experience, trust in and passion for the industry resulted in Laura being assigned a position on the Top Parks board, the youngest person in Top Parks history to do so.
The Power of Mentoring and Networking
Enlisting the guidance of a mentor provides invaluable knowledge for emerging industry leaders, providing an opportunity to learn without having to make the same mistakes as those who have walked the same path. While mistakes should be viewed as a learning experience, essential to building strength, knowledge and resilience, there are also valuable lessons to be learnt through the experience of others.
Similarly, networking provides an opportunity to build relationships and be inspired by likeminded individuals, empowering people and influencing the development of a more adaptive and positive mindset. Industry mentors have had a significant impact on Laura’s personal development and her ability to celebrate her successes. Laura explains how it’s easy play down achievements and just get on with the job at hand. She describes how she has learnt that it is okay to stop and celebrate wins. By doing so we not only celebrate our own accomplishments, but take time to reflect on the importance of guidance and inspiration provided by mentors and industry partners.
Social media has had a significant influence on the industries capabilities to engage with consumers and really dive deep into discovering their needs and wants. This new level of understanding has highlighted the need to adopt processes that makes it easy for travellers to custom design their own unique travel experiences. The caravan and camping community seek a true Australian experience, which comes from a combination of a great place to stay that satisfies their needs, be that a beachfront site or one near the jumping pillow for the kids, in a location that is accessible to attractions and natural wonderlands. While caravan and tourist parks across the country have the same foundations, the ones that capitalise on surrounding tourism assets, whether natural or man-made, as well as embrace new and emerging digital processes that support tailor made experiences, will come out on top within this ever-changing industry.
The Emerging Nomadic Family Market
Long gone are the days when parents would wait until term break to take their kids out of school for holidays. The decision to take a break these days seems to be more centred around work commitments, the need to de-stress, seasonality and pricing as well as a need to spend quality time together as a family, having true and unique Australian experiences. A combination of these factors has led to a significant increase in families packing up and traveling for extended periods of time around our beautiful country. This freedom to lead a nomadic family life is becoming increasingly popular and is more prevalent in today’s society thanks to a combination of the ability to home school children with the flexibility of parents working remotely, both made easier through significant advancements in technology and internet connectivity.
In this episode Adrian and Laura discuss these hot topics as well as more light-hearted subjects such as being stuck in an elevator with Chris Hemsworth, Barack Obama and Elizabeth Taylor, ways to spend the last six months of your life and what legacy they would like to leave for their kids.
Listen to the full episode here.