Calling Paradise


Icon Resort Apartments, the Gold Coast’s largest independently owned apartment group, boasts some of Australia’s most popular and well-known holiday apartments, including The Towers of Chevron Renaissance, Artique Resort, The Wave Resort, Belle Maison, Ocean Pacific Resort and South Pacific Plaza. Each of these upscale properties is ideally situated in either Surfers Paradise or Broadbeach, “which are probably the most popular holiday destinations in the Gold Coast – and in Queensland,” LeisureCom Executive Director Dan Berman points out.

The sun drenched Gold Coast has long been an ideal holiday retreat. “For 30 years or more, it has been one of the favourite holiday destinations, not only for people throughout Australia, but also the Middle East and Asia Pacific,” Mr Berman remarks. The destination is renowned for its designer boutiques, lavish spa retreats, international theme parks, first-class golf courses, award-winning restaurants, upscale bars and nightclubs, nearby rainforests and, of course, endless stretches of sparkling beaches. “It is a great family destination,” Mr Berman adds. “A family can come here and do so many different things.”

Today, people recognise Icon Resort properties as their first choice for accommodations at the Gold Coast. Each property is centrally located and within easy walking distance to the beach, shopping, and restaurants. The service and amenities at each resort are also top-rate, Mr Berman adds. Until last year, customers used to have to call each resort to check availability or make a booking. However, through the LeisureCom – Icon central reservation system, that has all changed to a streamlined approach. Now, a central reservation call centre allows consumers to conveniently ring one phone number to speak with a knowledgeable reservation consultant about any Icon Resort property.

LeisureCom Travel Group was a natural choice for the partnership. “It was a perfect match to give them the solution they were looking for,” Mr Berman remarks. LeisureCom is one of Australia’s leading and most innovative direct marketers of resort, hotel and apartment accommodation throughout the Pacific and South East Asia region. The team offers its clients a range of multi-distribution channels including retail accommodation websites, membership programs, rewards based systems and targeted marketing strategies.

Through the new arrangement, LeisureCom is able to provide Icon Resort Apartments with a complete, one stop solution for all of its Gold Coast properties. Previously, its resorts all took bookings and reservations independently, creating unnecessary hassle for customers. The old system also allowed potential business to slip through the cracks; for instance, if holiday goers rang one property and it was full, they did not have the option to book a reservation at a similar property during the same phone call. Now, a single phone call will yield detailed information about each resort and allow customers to book immediately.

Exceptional customer service has been foundational to the call centre’s success. “There is a live operator and all they do is to facilitate the bookings for these properties,” Mr Berman explains. “They have an intimate understanding and knowledge of all the different properties – facilities, amenities, check-in-time, check-out-time – all the things that are required for a customer to be able to go ahead and make a decision.”

The call centre will also provide information on any relevant specials or promotions to ensure that each customer gets the best deal available. And, to make the entire process as seamless as possible, the all-in-one call centre can even book related flights, car rentals, and travel insurance.

Customer feedback has been excellent. Before, “the caller would call and hear ‘we don’t have any availability’ and that was the end of it,” Mr Berman explains. “Now you are calling one place and we are going to help you with all the properties that are within the group. It makes a big difference for the customer. It takes away the frustration.” Icon Resort Apartments is also reaping substantial benefits. “This gives a very objective business solution to the total group,” Mr Berman points out. “We facilitate everything for them.” The service also provides an important branding exercise; with one, centralised call centre, consumers have come to associate a multitude of properties with the Icon Resort name.

Providing customers with an easy, one stop solution is particularly important in the current holiday market. “Obviously, the global financial crisis had an impact,” Mr Berman admits. “And with the Australian dollar as strong as it is, people have tended to go overseas the last couple of years.” Fortunately, however, this is beginning to change, and Mr Berman believes that the industry has nearly regained its footing. In fact, he reports that this year’s domestic business has been the strongest it has been since 2008. He credits much of this increase to the fact that people who wanted to take their holiday business overseas already have. Now, he says, these Aussies are more likely to stay Down Under, at least for the next several years.

That doesn’t mean that they won’t be going on holiday, however. “Australians are very driven to take holidays every year,” Mr Berman reports, and the Gold Coast is an obvious choice. “They know it, they trust it, they enjoy it,” he explains. “And, it is easy for them to do a three, five, or seven night stay. In fact Icon Resort Group is running a ‘Winter Special’ for the Towers of Chevron Renaissance.” Essentially, Mr Berman explains, the package is a five night rate which is lower than normal rates. It is available in all room types, and has some fantastic inclusions which are: two adult Three Day passes for unlimited entry to Dreamworld and Whitewater World (one bedroom only. Two and three bedroom bookings receive two adult and two children’s passes or three adult passes per booking); two Jetboat Rides per booking; one Hard Rock Café Dining Voucher per booking; and, Kids Eat Free at baritalia (one child eats free for each paying adult). The sale runs from now until 14 June 2013 with travel through 30 June 2013. “All people have to do is call Icon Resort Apartments central reservations at 1 300 058 834 to book this fantastic holiday,” says Mr Berman. “So we are seeing a lot of those people that were heading overseas starting to come back to Australian holiday destinations, particularly Queensland, and more particularly the Gold Coast.”

With business on the rise, Icon Resort Apartments is on the lookout for new properties to add to its enviable portfolio. “But,” Mr Berman cautions, “They are very particular. They want to make sure that they find a product that is very similar to the type of products that they currently have to keep the brand integrity. Until they find the right property, with the right amenities, they will keep looking.”

Indeed, the Group is keen to maintain the stellar reputation of its iconic list of luxury properties. It is this dedication to quality that has long made the group’s upscale resorts a destination of choice for visitors throughout Australia, Asia Pacific, and the Middle East.

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?

December 16, 2018, 6:44 AM AEDT