This week on the show, I have the pleasure of chatting with a very special guest, Bartholomew Easdown. Bart is the Operations Manager for all four of the holiday parks my wife Casey & I manage, and the youngest of my brothers. A musician at heart, Bart has always felt an underlying pull towards hospitality and tourism-based roles. He has tried his hand at various roles, building many skills along the way. This week, Bart and I have a great chat about the pros and cons of working with family. We discuss generational shifts in the workforce today and changes that have emerged since our childhood. We talk about the effect social media is having on human connections and our own experiences with personalised holiday experiences.
Working with Family
After studying digital media, Bart tried his hand at running his own business. Bart is always up for giving things a go. This can-do attitude is great when taking on new opportunities, and is the approach that Bart has taken throughout his working career. It is also responsible for the array of positions he has held while working for Casey and I. For a number of years Bart managed the Riverfront Kiosk at Evans Head, an asset we were responsible for through our Evans Head holiday park contract. While the majority of Bart’s time was spent at the kiosk, he also floated bwteen groundsmen, handyman and office-based roles as required.
After a period of extended travel for Bart and a park contract change for us, Bart found himself once again working with family, this time as our Operational Manager. This week, Bart and I have a great about the pros and cons of working with family. We discuss expectations, and have a laugh about how often I expect more of him, than other employees. We discuss why this may be, and get a better understanding of each other’s perspective.
Social Media Diluting the Human Connection
Our conversation turns to the recent resurgence of popularity of holiday parks, especially among the younger generations. Bart mentions that he has noticed an increase in younger families travelling, and the freedom holiday parks offer children. This leads us to a discussion around the negative effects of social media. We talk about how digital platforms are designed to connect individuals, but instead they seem to be diluting personal connections.
Bart describes conversations with park guests who are concerned with potential changes within the park. He often reassures guests that personal connections within in the parks is high on the priority list. Despite advancements with technology in areas such as mobile check in, human interaction is something that will always be a strong focus of the team. As will be providing relaxing places for families to reconnect and safe spaces for kids to just be kids.
Bart recalls a hotel he visited in Costa Rica, where he was greeted by a young man who made a lasting impression. Bart and his partner Maleah walked in without a booking; not certain they were going to stay the night. This particular gentleman went above and beyond anything Bart and Maleah could have imagined, providing them with extensive information about what to do in the area. In the end they stayed at the hotel for four days. Bart explains that this one experience has had a profound impact on the way he treats guests. As well as the way in which he trains his staff.
One of the most important factors when overseeing staff is to understand them, Bart offers. He suggests that management need to be aware of how employees present themselves to guests and how they represent the business. With a good understanding of staff members, management can offer appropriate, ongoing coaching to ensure standards are upheld and guest expectations are exceeded.
Also discussed in this week’s podcast episode:
- Building resilience
- Learning from mistakes
- Generational shifts within the workforce
- Workplace flexibility
- Tips for personalising guest experiences
- Finding happiness in what you do
- The benefit of understanding health and wellness at an early age