Jess Dineen, the Operations Manager at Dineen Tourism Management, recently returned from a three-month holiday travelling around Europe. I was keen to chat with Jess for this week’s podcast episode, to find out more about empowering staff so they can confidently make decisions in the absence of key management personnel. We also touch on the importance of taking time away from work for rest and relaxation. Jess, a recognised award winner within the accommodation industry, shares insights into the benefits of going through the award process, win or lose. We wrap up our chat with a discussion around attracting new target markets.
Empowering Staff to Make Confident Decisions
Rest and relaxation for industry members is a touchy subject in the accommodation industry. There’s often a stigma attached to taking time out, especially during peak holiday seasons. However, more and more business owners are experiencing the benefits of having well rested and rejuvenated staff. It’s also common for business owners to experience a difference in their own productivity after enjoying a significant break away from the workplace.
Jess has experienced this first hand, sharing with listeners the noticeable impact her recent holiday has had. Adding that while it has had a positive impact on the vibe within the office, there’s a lot of planning that goes into taking time out. Jess talks listeners through the measures she takes in empowering staff to make confident decisions in her absence. We also discuss core values and how trust combined with the ability to relinquish responsibility builds an increasingly capable yet accountable team.
Benefits of the Award Process
Jess has recently been announced as the ‘Young Achiever of the Year’ for the Caravan Parks Association of QLD, and the ‘Employee of the Year’ at the National Caravan Industry Association of Australia. Both of these awards were received on the back of a handful of 2018 industry related awards. Jess explains that while it is a huge honour to be recognised within the industry, her motivations for entering awards are a strategic decision.
Entering awards forces business owners to take a deeper look into the operation of their business. Similar to conducting an audit, business owners look at what’s working well, highlighting areas that could be further developed. Jess shares a personal motivation behind her award submissions. Jess admits it is not the associated recognition but the opportunity to network with industry leaders and mentors that drives her submissions. During the podcast, Jess provides listeners with some great tips around the often-overwhelming award submission process, and shares additional benefits she has received from the awards she has won.
Attracting New Target Markets
In between resting and relaxing on her recent holiday, Jess had an eye on the operation of accommodation businesses she visited. In particular, Jess was keen to learn how European countries cater to a range of target markets, tapping into ideas to implement in her own business. Jess explains that the Holiday Park in Noosa that her family business manages has seen a decline in visitation by grey nomads. Adding that the generation next in line, the Baby Boomers, tend to travel often but only for short periods of time. Jess explains that this style of travel will not fill availability gaps left by grey nomads, who escape the cold of winter by heading to Queensland, often for months at a time.
Jess’s holiday provided her with valuable insights into catering to a younger generation. She was particularly impressed with some inexpensive methods a number of hostel businesses were implementing to attract guests and to ensure they had an enjoyable and memorable experience. After discussing a few of these methods, Jess and I agree that any idea that promotes comradery and socialising among younger guests is a winner. Tune into this week’s podcast episode to discover more on this and the other topics Jess and I discuss.
This week’s podcast
In this episode of the ‘That Bad Review’ podcast, Jess and I also discuss:
- The importance of vulnerability
- Tips to switching off when on holidays
- Using mistakes as learning opportunities
- New generation of staff embracing change
- Methods to help staff make confident business decisions
- The challenges faced when working and living with family
- Mental health and the importance of taking time out when needed
- Innovative ways to document and share holiday experiences and memorabilia
- The shift in acknowledging anxiety and depression instead of ignoring signs and symptoms
- Saying yes to opportunities – weighing up worst-case scenarios against the possible benefits