Bert van Spronsen is the Founder & Managing Director of Kui Parks, a network of over 80 holiday parks across Australia. Kui Parks are carefully chosen against well-researched criteria, and offer facilities similar to those of traditional holiday parks.
Bert bought his first camper trailer when he was twenty, upgrading to a caravan two years later. He admits to learning a lot about caravanning and camping in these younger years, his passion evident in his voice. He shares stories of annual trips into Kruger National Park, where people camped in fenced areas. Bert jokes that it was like they were in a cage, not the wild animals. He compares these trips to caravanning through Europe. In Europe, the vans were lighter and travelling through five countries in a day is possible.
The Demand for Traditional Holiday Parks
When Bert moved to Australia, he continued travelling and was often attracted to the inclusions offered by the big brand holiday parks. However, as time went by, Bert heard a lot of angst from older generations around rising prices. The angst centered around having to pay for the added cost associated with new facilities that generally catered to a younger demographic.
After his own experience of being asked to pay $70 for a basic camp site, Bert and his family sought out regional parks in country towns. Parks that offered a more traditional camping environment. It was in such a park, in the small Victorian town of Wandiligong, that Bert had a break through moment. Bert envisioned a network of traditional style holiday parks that catered to the needs of the travelling nomad. These caravan and camping enthusiasts, generally preferred not to free camp, but also didn’t want to pay for unneeded facilities.
Four Key Elements of a Successful Park
With a sales and marketing background, Bert knew to succeed he would have to satisfy a customer need. Bert’s philosophy is to keep ‘delivering what customers want, and they will keep coming’. With this foremost in his mind, Bert conducted extensive research into what his target market wanted in a holiday park. The research asked potential guests to choose the five most important factors from a list of thirteen. The results showed that across the board people looked for clean, well presented and reasonably priced parks, run by friendly staff. Bert set about bringing together parks that offer these four key criteria to guests, and Kui Parks was born.
Focusing on Existing Guests
While Bert attributes a large part of his success to enlisting parks that meet this strict criterion, he shares another great business tip for park owners. Bert suggests that instead of worrying about the customers who are not booking, park owners should focus on the guests that are. This can be done by listening to and acting on what guests have to say, via feedback and reviews. Bert insists a focus on making sure guests’ expectations are exceeded, will encourage a wave of new visitors.
Also, in this week’s podcast
In this episode Bert and I discuss:
- Changes in the caravan and camping industry
- The evolution of free camping
- The key to maintaining a 95% positive review status
- Reading between the lines of reviews
- The benefits of hard work