While the NSW Tourism Awards aren't the be all and end all for Big 4 Great Lakes general manager Shane Ridgewell, he admits being recognised in the prestigious awards does provide a sense of validation.
"We think the awards acknowledge our staff," Mr Ridgewell said.
"It gives them a pat on the back."
The Tuncurry-based caravan park received a highly commended award in the caravan and holiday park category of the 2019 awards.
They previously took out the category in 2018.
With gold, silver and bronze going to fellow Mid North Coast caravan parks in 2019, Mr Ridgewell believed it showed the region set a very high standard for tourists.
"For us even to be mentioned in these groups shows the commitment to the industry in the area," he said.
"The competition is obviously fierce."
Mr Ridgewell believed the park's success could be attributed to a number of factors, but the main one was the positive attitude the staff shared.
"We have a great team and a great culture to deliver a high standard of service."
He said this was reflected in the amount of repeat business the park enjoyed, with a 68 per cent return rate among their customers.
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Other initiatives that had struck a positive chord with visitors included the fact the park was pet-friendly all year round - with five pet-friendly cabins on offer - the decision to transform 75 per cent of the park's grassed area to artificial turf for sustainability reasons, and the various events and programs the park offered each year.
Among these was a 'silver schoolies' week in August, where the park put on a number of events aimed at grey nomads.
Mr Ridgewell said the event had proved a big success in the three years they'd been hosting it, with reservations growing from 18 in 2017 to 140 in 2019.
"You've got to create opportunities," he said.
"It's about creating an inclusive environment for the guests."
This was particularly important considering the park's two main markets were retirees and families.
"We try to blend it," Mr Ridgewell said.
"The two markets work well together."
On top of the events and initiatives the park offered, Mr Ridgewell said it had also grown in popularity thanks to the capital the owners had injected into it in the last five years.
The park has 45 cabins, 117 camping/caravan sites, glamping tents and two heated pools, with plans to build a new amenities building in the next 12 months.
And it's for this reason the park enters the NSW Tourism Awards each year.
"We want to share that we're out there and doing a great job," Mr Ridgewell said.
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