Steven Wright, CEO of BIG4 Holiday Parks on Dealing with Industry Disruption, Risk Appetite & Being Your Authentic Self

While it’s possible to set out the path we would like our lives to take, if there is one thing that is certain, life has a tendency to throw out curveballs when you least expect it. Situations that you just don’t see coming. The best way to tackle these unexpected situations is to take a moment to consider the possible scenarios the circumstances present. Being adaptable and flexible during such times will often open up a world of possibilities.

An industry leader who knows this all too well is the CEO of BIG4 Holiday Parks, Steven Wright. Steven’s career reflects a history of calls ‘out of the blue’, each one leading an unexpected opportunity that overtime has resulted in Steven working in a series of high profile and prestigious roles, across various industries.

In this week’s episode of the ‘That Bad Review’ podcast, we talk to Steven about his incredible career rubbing shoulders with some of Australia’s finest sportspeople. We discuss Steven’s experience in dealing with industry disruptions and his tendency towards taking educated risks, all while trying to be the most authentic version of himself.

Dealing with Industry Disruption

Similar to life’s curveballs, industry disruption occurs when something or someone new enters the market and threatens the equilibrium within that sector. Disruptions shake up industries and are best confronted with flexibility. Industry stakeholders can benefit from change by avoiding resistance to advancements and looking for new opportunities the disruption presents.

Steven shares his views on what he considers to be the biggest disruptions to the industry in recent times, such as online booking engines, corporate park takeovers and the popularity of electric cars. Steven is quick to point out that while the caravan and camping industry is currently dealing with a number of disruptions, developments in the level of accommodation offerings such as high-end cabins and villas available in Big 4 parks are creating a new level of disruption themselves. Disruption that is keeping the hotel and serviced apartment industry on their toes.

Risk Appetite

Steven refers to risk appetite as ‘weighing up what sort of risk you are prepared to take’. Advancements are made when people take educated risks, often pushing the boundaries of what is considered acceptable within a certain situation. In this episode, Steven encourages listeners to take risks; however, he also suggests making sure risk takers do their research and be prepared for many possible outcomes, especially for when things may not go exactly as planned. ‘If you don’t take risks in business’, Steven states, ‘you don’t grow’.

Be Authentic

Throughout the episode, Steven refers back to the need to be authentic. Steven mentions the importance of protecting the trust consumers have in a business by providing authenticity in promotions and communications, as well as the importance of addressing both positive and negative feedback. To ignore or hide bad reviews does not allow for a true representation of your business. Learning to address negative feedback appropriately and to use it as an avenue for improvement is a great way to ensure authenticity.

Steven wraps up the chat with a great piece of advice to listeners, suggesting that the key to finding happiness is to first be at peace with yourself. Steven adds, ‘as a human, if you can be passionate and believe in what you do, you’re much more likely to be at peace and have a happier life’. Great advice from an inspirational industry leader.

In this episode, Steven and I also discuss:

  • Steven’s extensive career and his high-profile roles in organisations such as the Richmond Football Club, The Grand Prix, the Brisbane Lions Football Club, Tourism & Events Queensland and one of his most enjoyable roles as a stay at home Dad.
  • The effects of population density and changing demographics
  • The need for competitors to work together for the benefit of the industry
  • Building consumer confidence
  • The marketing benefits of mutually beneficial partnerships
  • Review Pro and Global Review Index (GRI) scores
  • Dynamic pricing and revenue management
  • Data collection and offering tailor made experiences

Listen to the full episode here.