Anthony and Fiona Barnet are the new managers of Mooloolaba’s ideally situated Beachcomber on the Spit resort.
Wonderfully located in the exclusive spit precinct between Mooloolaba’s award-winning beach and the incredibly picturesque Mooloolah River, this is a very attractive and absolutely beachfront resort.
The couple consider themselves very fortunate to have found a resort that is exactly the opportunity they were searching for. In October 2015, they opened the doors to guests as the new management rights owners of Beachcomber on the Spit. But what do we know about these fresh faces in the resort industry?
Anthony told us: “I met Fiona in Hong Kong in 2001, where Fiona was born and I had lived for 12 years. I worked in hotels for over 25 years and Fiona worked within the finance industry for over 15 years. Happily, this experience has been very relevant to running our current business!
“Fiona was an administration manager for a large Hong Kong securities firm, much of the work involved transacting and administering significant stock deals on the Hang Seng Index. I worked in hotels before moving to Hong Kong in 2000, where I was a partner in a successful hotel loyalty company, implementing and managing loyalty marketing programmes for several five-star hotels. I also worked for an ASX-listed company, specialising in loyalty marketing as general manager Asia, based out of Hong Kong.”
For some time, Anthony and Fiona wanted to return to Australia and in 2012 an opportunity developed in Byron Bay. This is where, they said, “we cut our teeth in management rights before selling and moving to Mooloolaba”.
A move to the Sunshine Coast really appealed to them as they hoped to buy a complex on the beach with no owner occupiers. “When the opportunity at Beachcomber surfaced and we discovered that it fulfilled all the criteria we were looking for, we absolutely couldn’t believe our luck,” Anthony exclaimed.
Beachcomber on the Spit is considered a particularly good catch. The two and three-bedroom, fully self-contained apartments and penthouses all have two bathrooms, air conditioners and fully equipped kitchens. The resort is a mere 20m from the beach and is situated in Mooloolaba’s most desirable locale, just a five-minute stroll to the centre of town. There is also secure underground car parking, three lifts and a heated pool with barbecue area.
This is an ideal resort for families to experience the idyllic, warm waters of Mooloolaba, with fishing, sailing and swimming opportunities right outside their spacious, well-appointed apartment. Mooloolaba is a safe, patrolled and protected beach that is very popular with holidaying families who can also experience the abundance of family-centred activities throughout the region.
Keen to make their mark, Anthony and Fiona set straight to work on their resort to make improvements. Anthony explained: “New managers have a great opportunity to update their property because owners are especially open to new ideas at this time. We are very lucky to have a fantastic set of owners and a very supportive body corporate committee.
“Since we arrived in October 2015, we have landscaped, installed a new irrigation system and replaced all old beds with new pillow tops. We also put in new barbecues, updated bedspreads and greatly improved room inventories.”
For their efforts, the guest feedback has been very positive. The response is encouraging and appreciated but Anthony clarified: “Above all, we just feel very fortunate to be living and working right on the beach in such a beautiful place as Mooloolaba. With such a great location we get a high degree of repeat business and it has been a pleasure to welcome back guests, many who are now considered friends.”
Providing the best absolute beachfront luxury accommodation experience in Mooloolaba for guests, most of whom are families, is the priority for Anthony and Fiona. They confirmed: “It is a very rewarding and supportive industry. We have been very fortunate to have received help from some of the biggest and brightest names in the industry. In particular, Tony Rossiter from Holmans Accountants, Chris Rowe from CRE MR Brokers and Peter Wright from NAB.
“My considerable experience in admin has worked perfectly for our business and I find that a friendly demeanour is always really appreciated by guests. We are still learning (often though mistakes) to put systems in place that ensure our guests and owners are getting an experience, hopefully beyond their expectations. But you also have to understand that it is impossible to keep everyone happy! You need to learn and improve from negative feedback, rather than take it personally,” she cautioned.
Do they have any recommendations for new managers? “Remember that you get out what you put in, and always seek out the best industry professionals. Get them on your side early and be all-ears. If you don’t enjoy working hard, interacting with people and giving great customer service, you probably won’t enjoy this business. It can be a very enjoyable and rewarding experience if you know what you want and find the right property,” Anthony advised.
What about time off? “Everyone is different,” he cautioned. “But for us, taking a month off each year works well. We are lucky to have a trustworthy relief manager that we can rely on. This arrangement not only indulges our passion for travel; it also refreshes and revitalises, allowing us to appreciate our business even more. And as a bonus, we always return with new ideas to improve our business,” Anthony concluded.