Meet a SATIC Member – Gawler Caravan Park

16 May 2018

     
 

Family-friendly Gawler Caravan Park, first started in the 1970’s, providing the perfect gateway to Adelaide and the Barossa.

A near 18 months ago Simon and Ali Eberhard took over the established business, with a mission to transfer the Park and the visitors experience.   

Although the Park performed well, Ali says it hadn’t been shown the love it deserved in quite a long time.

“We wanted to change the focus from cheap, low grade accommodation to that of a better standard and an overall better accommodation experience,” says Ali. 

With an understanding that tourism is a dynamic and an ever-changing industry, Simon and Ali went into the business with a ‘never take things gently’ approach and a desire to ensure they actively worked towards meeting the expectations of their visitors.

“Simon promised me six months of learning the business before he tried to change anything. Six months and one day in, away we went.

“We sold off old permanent vans with hard annexes, changed our focus to tourists, not permanents, won a tender to house 100 Pacific Islanders for six months while they worked at a local tomato farm and installed seven new prototype Eco-Villas.

 “We also updated our booking system, joined Top Parks, improved landscaping, audited all our electricity usage, added procedures for day-to-day operations and formalised relationships.”

As a result of these upgrades, Ali says repeat visitation and revenue has continued to grow, with Gawler Caravan Park having now achieved a 4.7 rating on Trip Advisor.

Becoming an Accredited business has also served as a reminder to Simon and Ali of the procedures that require following and the areas for improvement, says Ali.

“It is a checklist for us to follow to ensure that our guests are benefiting from the streamlining of processes and procedures that we have been working on.”

Moving forward, Simon and Ali are looking forward to establishing working relationships with local businesses to encourage visitors to explore the local area and enjoy the local produce.

“We are currently creating a discount list for local businesses, to encourage our visitors to shop locally, as well as developing maps and ideas for travellers to explore the local area.

“We are also in the early stages of creating picnic basket tours with a local business, creating great food for clients to take on a drive-your-own day trip.”

Having started their venture with little experience, Ali says the biggest benefit throughout their journey has been the assistance of their industry association.

“They connected us to people who had been in the industry for a long time, who guided us through government body requirements, licenses and procedures, as well as ensured that we were well on the way to having a complete business.

“We decided to create a business that we would be happy to use as consumers, and we feel we are now well on our way. We have confidence in our product and are less reactive to events outside of our control.

"While there is a long way to go, we feel that the tourism industry in South Australia is healthy and growing, and we love being a part of it!"

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