THE Pine Country Caravan Park was recently recognised for its innovation and marketing strategies when it received the Top Parks game changer award.
It comes just one year after couple Nathan Seal and Emma Vorwerk decided on a change of scenery, departing the hustle and bustle of Dubai to move to Mount Gambier after purchasing the park.
With no previous experience managing caravan and cabin accommodation, the pair learnt on the go and started making significant changes to help put the park on the map.
“We are just trying to create a unique experience for our (guests) because we are on 15 acres of land and are surrounded by farming properties,” Mr Seal said.
“In the past 12 months we have worked hard to promote that experience by creating a new website, developing an online booking system and new signage.”
Up against 260 other parks across Australia, the Pine Country Caravan Park was identified as a stand-out for its excellence in destination marketing.
Mr Seal said the goal was not to compete with other parks in the region, but instead offer something different for the consumers.
“We are a country environment and want to keep that identity because we cannot compete with BIG4 which has a much larger budget of marketing,” he said.
“To win this on our birthday was just such a great reward and reaffirms what we have been trying to do here.”
While winning the award was a satisfying achievement, Mr Seal said the feedback from customers had been the most rewarding aspect of the first 12 months in business.
“We have had great reviews, great feedback, good booking numbers and people have been seeing something different with the park and they love it, so that’s great.”
Mr Seal said the first 12 months had presented a number of exciting challenges, which started as soon as they landed in the Blue Lake city.
“We spent 12 years in Dubai and it was a big journey to come over here,” he said.
“Within six weeks of arriving we took over the park and were juggling the challenge of getting our children settled in school.
“We had never been involved with a business of this kind before, so what we did in 12 months is probably abnormal.”
The pair hoped to continue to develop the park into something that keeps people coming back to Mount Gambier and enjoying what the region has to offer.
“We have new ideas – we are looking at new cabins, new sites, upgrading kitchen facilities and we want to keep improving the children’s play area,” he said.
“We are loving the challenge, we are very passionate about it, we love people because if you don’t you’d be in the wrong game.”