South Australia’s Holiday and Sport Destination

Adelaide Shores

In addition to pristine beaches, this West Beach holiday site boasts two golf courses, a caravan park, resort, boat haven, café and dining venues, BMX and Skate Park, and sports grounds. Adelaide Shores is also responsible for the generation of about $15 million locally and the creation of 180 jobs in Adelaide’s metropolitan area. “We are a significant employer and economic driver in the western suburbs of Adelaide,” CEO Kate Williams points out.

Adelaide Shores offers a variety of accommodation to fit every guest’s budget and preferences. “We have something for everyone,” Ms Williams reports. BIG4 Adelaide Shores Caravan Park is one of the largest of its kind in Australia and boasts 350 camping sites as well as 108 cabins at a variety of price points, from standard to deluxe. Amenities include several playgrounds, two jumping pillows for children to enjoy, a games room, two heated pools, a number of barbeque areas, and perhaps best of all, a prime beach front location. The park has won a number of awards for excellence, including the 2012 South Australian Tourism Award and Hall of Fame.

Adelaide Shores Resort, the Caravan Park’s sister property, caters to a higher budget. The site offers 84 two or three bedroom self-contained accommodations. These cabins are quite spacious, Ms Williams reports, “like a mini beach house,” and range from holiday units to villas to bungalows with spas. The beachfront location is excellent, “right there on a beautiful piece of South Australian coastline.” Furthermore, this stretch of coastline is not easily accessible by the public, making it “almost like a private beach.” The resort also offers a large pool area and a conference room. “It is a lovely, lovely property.”

Clearly, Adelaide Shores has quite a lot to offer, and it is no surprise that the site boasts a deeply loyal base of repeat visitors, many of whom have been spending summer holidays here since they were children. The team isn’t resting on its laurels, however. In fact, they are determined to make Adelaide Shores South Australia’s most popular destination for holidays, events, and sport, and are ramping up the site’s offerings to make this vision a reality.

Adelaide Shores has already been experiencing 2 per cent growth each year – no small feat during rocky economic times. “The tourism climate is quite challenging at the moment,” Ms Williams admits. Domestic tourism is competing against affordable overseas destinations, she explains, and fewer people are willing to reach into tightened purses for discretionary spending. “We’ve had to think differently and diversify our market a bit. So we have really focused on sporting groups and group events staying with us in shoulder periods.”

Adelaide Shores’ well maintained reserves host a wide range of sports throughout the year, including baseball, football, lacrosse, softball and tennis. The sporting fields are ideal for tournaments and special events, an angle that management is eager to promote. “We will always be busy at Christmas time and Easter, the popular holiday periods,” Ms Williams explains. “But [we need] to focus on the winter months and some of those shoulder months by attracting events or being the host location for champion events and sporting events.” The strategy is working well, and scores of sport enthusiasts have been drawn in by the beachfront accommodation and state of the art sport facilities. And Adelaide Shores, with the aid of Federal and State funding, will be expanding its playing fields and installing a synthetic pitch. The $2.6 million project is sure to attract even more state and national championship games to the precinct.

The team is also focused on ramping up its accommodation offerings. For example, private barbeques, Playstations and coffee machines have been added to each bungalow and management invested significantly in upgrading cabins over the past year. The resort has also purchased a portable movie screen and introduced an outdoor film night on Fridays and Sundays. “I think it is really about making sure that you continually improve your product,” Ms Williams explains. “That you are innovative with what you are offering people and you diversify your business model as the market changes.”

The organisation is also harnessing social media to promote its vision as South Australia’s favourite holiday spot. Ms Williams reports that having a social media policy has been crucial to ensure that everyone has a clear understanding of “how you handle social media and response to social media.” The team’s first foray into this marketing medium was through its new Facebook page. “We have been pleasantly surprised,” Ms Williams reports. “We just hit 1,000 likes yesterday afternoon.”

The page keeps regular guests in touch with Adelaide Shores’ happenings and provides management with vital feedback. “If we are thinking about doing something or a product change, we put it out to our Facebook [page],” Ms Williams explains. For example, the team recently posted that it would begin showing movies on the new, portable movie screen soon. “And we had 70 likes. The responses are immediate. You can use it as a tool for quick and easy feedback.”

Adelaide Shores has also implemented a new booking system to make the reservation process seamless for both guests and sales reps. The new, centralised call centre can take reservations for both the Caravan Park and Resort. This centralisation increases efficiency and allows sales reps to suggest, and book, alternative accommodation if a property is already reserved or out of a guest’s price range. “That has been a huge benefit in terms of our marketing intelligence, reporting, etc,” Ms Williams reports. “I think these behind the scenes systems are so important to make a good, robust operation.”

Adelaide Shores is also committed to the environment, a fact that has been recognised with a 2012 South Australian Tourism Awards gold medal for sustainability. The precinct’s largest environmental initiative is a joint venture with the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources (DEWNR) to trial a series of mini wind turbines on site. The project is the first of its kind in Australia. “The trial is providing information about renewable energy to the community, which is fantastic,” Ms Williams explains. The sustainable energy source has been installed near the boat haven, which always has a reliable breeze and is well situated away from accommodation. Adelaide Shores utilises solar panels as well, and management has instituted a number of solar energy initiatives. “We are working that space,” Ms Williams says. “We take it really seriously.” Large-scale composting and recycling also take place throughout the precinct. In addition, Adelaide Shores is responsible for maintaining the sand dunes along its coast. “We have a designated Environmental Officer that is responsible for those key projects,” Ms Williams adds.

Adelaide Shores is dedicated to its staff as well. In fact, the precinct won a Safe Work South Australia award in 2011 for its innovative solution to a workplace safety problem. The Caravan Park and Resort require a very large housekeeping staff, all of whom used to push trolleys loaded down with cleaning supplies between cabins or bungalows. Management realised that pushing such a heavy, unwieldy load was likely to cause injury. In response, the team purchased 14 electric buggies custom fitted for housekeeping supplies such as linens, mops, brooms and vacuum cleaners. The total cost of the new buggies was around $220,000. A small price to pay, Ms Williams insists, to reduce injuries. “And the reduction in injuries has been substantial. What is really important to us is the safety and well-being of our people.”

Adelaide Shores also believes in bringing out the leadership potential of its staff. The precinct won a national Australian Institute of Training and Development Award last year in recognition of its innovative leadership program, Take the Lead. A wide range of people participated, from management hopefuls all the way to the CEO. During the training, each participant developed a project that would actually be implemented to add value to the business. “It was great,” recalls Ms Williams, who was a participant herself. “[And it has] now been nationally recognised.”

Adelaide Shores has been a holiday favourite for nearly sixty years and management is determined to maintain, and increase, its popularity. “The most important thing is to continue to develop your product,” Mrs Williams says of her ongoing strategy. “You’ve always got to keep one step ahead of the competition.”

Armed with new, state of the art playing fields, a number of upgrades in accommodation, a commitment to sustainability, and dedicated, leadership-minded staff, the precinct is sure to remain South Australia’s holiday and sport destination for decades to come.

Making Sense of Management

Management is the art, or science, of getting things done through people. Sounds fairly straightforward – except for the fact that people are not robots waiting to do our bidding. People have their own minds, motivations, and goals. So how do managers keep operations – and the people behind them – running as planned?

September 26, 2018, 10:00 AM AEST