AccomNews speaks to one of the sector’s most dynamic and influential leaders in the Camping and Caravan Park industry about their brand, their team, and their passion for the sector.
Q&A with Nikki Milne, who has been CEO at Tasman Holiday Parks for over two years.
What brought you to the industry? My fondest memories growing up included travelling across Australia with my family. The connection that you establish with your loved ones and embedding new memories during time together is something that is very special. The industry allows everyday holidaymakers to travel with deep intention and immersed in nature.
Now with a family of my own, we’ve travelled across Australia and New Zealand in holiday parks creating moments that will last a lifetime, seeing unique sights steps away from our cabin, and seeing guests cheer their children on as they take their first steps at one of our holiday parks.
These are the moments that remind me how wonderful this industry is.
What do you love about the industry? Where do I begin? There are so many wonderful things about the industry but what I love most is our community, where everyone truly bands together. I’ve seen families that travel to the same park year after year, booking the same villa or site to re-create memories made in previous years. I’ve also seen groups from different countries bond together over shared meals in our camp kitchen.
It’s so special to see.
What leadership quality do you value most? I believe in leading through people, showing genuine care towards team members, and keeping the team motivated and laser-focused on Tasman’s goals (all while keeping true to our core values).
What do Tasman Holiday Parks do best? Our brand absolutely delivers genuine memorable moments for guests. It’s great to see and hear from those who book their stay year after year, some even book three years in advance.
We have seen many ‘firsts’ across our holiday parks from first baby steps in our play precinct in Airlie Beach, first bike rides without training wheels in Bendigo, first water play in our pool at Waihi Beach, first time down a water slide at Racecourse Beach, first time catching a fish at Rollingstone, first time camping under the stars at Yallingup Beach, and much more…
These are the moments we live for.
What did the brand achieve in the past year? THP has grown tremendously as a brand. It doubled its portfolio to 40 properties across Australia and New Zealand. In the past 18 months alone, we’ve wrapped up 20 acquisitions and expanded our development program which has boosted the value of our group’s portfolio to more than half a billion dollars.
We also welcomed more than 650,000 guests across our holiday parks during this period.
In the past two years, what have you learned? Determination and grit go a long way. We’ve faced a global pandemic and multiple natural disasters that swept through our parks. Each time, we had to learn how to be agile. What’s amazing is that we always come out the other end stronger and closer than ever, not only as a team but as an industry.
What does Tasman Holiday Parks continuously aim to provide?
To create safe spaces for guests, where everything is conveniently situated or provided within the park. It can be as simple as a food truck on a Friday evening so guests will not need to hop in their car and drive into town, or free pancakes on a Sunday morning cooked and hosted by our park team so guests will not have to worry about washing up before they get on the road.
We strive for positive guest feedback. We’re seeing fantastic feedback year-on-year from our post-stay surveys, it’s a testament to our team on the ground who consistently deliver exceptional guest experience.
What are the current trends the brand is taking notice of? An increase in families travelling with their young children and working remotely. The global pandemic shaped the way people travel and experience life with their loved ones.
We’ve also noticed an increase in guests seeking more value for money. Times are tough and guests need to stretch their dollars as far as possible. They seek amazing experiences, but they also want to get more out of their investment.
Tell us about your team? I have been blessed with an amazing team. We cannot operate without every single member, from groundskeepers, housekeepers, park managers, and area managers to our team in the support office.
Our team is extremely resilient and I’m very proud of them.
What are the brand’s sustainability goals? We are progressively rolling out solar installation across some of our parks in Australia and New Zealand. We are 100 percent committed to Tiaki (a commitment to care for New Zealand for now and for future generations).
Finally, what are the brand’s ambitions for 2024? There are plenty, however, a key one for the next 12 months would be to continue to build our brand in the market as we are still relatively new.
And of course… growth while staying true to our core values.
Tasman Holiday Parks founded (THP) in 2019
Head office: Brisbane, Sydney, and Papamoa Beach, New Zealand.
The first park? Tasman Holiday Parks, Racecourse Beach in December 2019.
How many parks now? 40 across Australia and New Zealand (as of May 2023).
Park locations? 10 parks in New South Wales, eight parks in Queensland, six parks in Victoria, one park in Tasmania, seven parks in Western Australia, and eight parks in New Zealand.
How many employees? More than 600 across Australia and New Zealand.
Mandy has over 17 years of accommodation and tourism industry writing experience and is Editor of AccomNews & Resort News, Publisher of SchoolNews & Director of Multimedia Pty Ltd. She is a retired registered nurse with a 25-year NHS career that followed a few unforgettable years in hotel housekeeping.