Reliving the VIC Parks Conference

Hey there, it’s Erin, Chief Operations Officer here at Newbook. I’m excited to take you on a journey as we revisit the recent VIC Parks Conference in Ballarat. Let’s dive in!

The brisk air of Ballarat welcomed Blair and I as we embarked on our journey for this year’s VIC Parks Conference. Newbook proudly partnered with VIC Parks as the Engagement Sponsor, which filled our time at the conference with insightful conversations, inspiring stories, and the celebration of exceptional achievements. 

Day 1: Monday 14th August

Newbook Masterclass

To kick off the first day, I hosted the Newbook Masterclass. It’s always so inspiring to see our Newbook family with so much enthusiasm and eagerness to learn and enhance their skills. A lot of engaging discussions took place around strategies to drive additional revenue, proving it’s a huge focus for many in the industry right now…  

The engagement was off the charts – I love our community! 

An afternoon of learning, turned into an evening of welcome drinks, which is the perfect chance to catch up with old friends, make new connections, and kickstart the conference on a high note.  

Day 2: Tuesday 15th August

Blair Noel with Angus Strachan (BDO)

With the expo open on day 2, the vibes were high, and we had such amazing feedback from the industry on our new look Newbook and updated brand.  

As the Engagement sponsor, we got the chance to quiz and interview parkies and partners to hear their challenges, wins, favourite part of being in this industry and so much more. The stories and perspectives shared added a personal touch to the conference, reminding us of the diverse experiences that shape the park industry. 

Results from VicParks Engagement Survey (2023)

54% of respondents found “booking management” to be their most time-consuming task as a park operator.

My hot tip:

Save time on booking management by implementing these suggestions:  

Automated guest communication allows you to send booking confirmations, modifications, cancellations, pre-arrival instructions, offer upgrades and more without doing a single second of manual work.  

Self-Service tools like SMS check-in, a self-service kiosk or providing your guests with an online self-service portal means they can update or cancel their booking without interacting with your team.  

Sell booking add-ons, facility hire, activity bookings during the online booking process to reduce phone call or in-person enquiries.  

Day 3: Wednesday 16th August

Engagement Sponsor Polls & Quizzes

As we stepped into the final day of conference, Blair and I reflected on what a strong sense of community we have in this industry. it’s safe to say we were feeling the warm fuzzies!  

Taking the stage, I had the opportunity to present some results from the engagement polls and quizzes that had buzzed throughout the event. It was a brief yet impactful opportunity to share some quick insights, and offer tips to tackle common challenges as operators and make the most of their systems.  

Results from VicParks Engagement Survey (2023)

50% of respondents said their number one advantage of using a PMS is “improved operational processes”, closely followed by 31.9% for “revenue growth opportunities”.

Ding, ding, ding! This is where Newbook truly shines! Here’s my some of my top tips…  

Operational Processes can be improved in many ways including automated communications, automated reports, task checklists for your team, and third-party integrations 

Revenue growth should always be front of mind and you should consider dynamic pricing, SMS upgrade promotions and stay extensions, up-sell opportunities, and facility hire.  

Hungry for more tips? Please reach out to our support team on [email protected]  

Before we wrapped up our interviews, we threw in some fun and asked attendees: “If you could have any guest stay at your park, dead or alive, who would it be?” The answers were pure gold. Imagine the Matildas, Rod Stewart, or Jennifer Aniston gracing the grounds! 

VIC Parks Gala Dinner

The final evening always goes off with bang with the Awards Gala Dinner – the live band really had everyone grooving, but the highlight? Our clients winning awards left and right. From the Steve Bartlett President’s Award to the Innovation Award, our clients were shining like stars. It was a proud moment, watching their hard work get the recognition it truly deserves. 

Steve Bartlett President’s Award: Acacia Caravan Park

Bob and Shirley Murray Community Partnerships Award: Amberlee Family Holidays

James Kelly Employee Achiever of the Year Award: NRMA Phillip Island Holiday Park

Innovation Award: NRMA Halls Gap Holiday Park

Workplace Excellence Award: Acacia Caravan Park

As I look back on the VIC Parks Conference, my heart’s full of gratitude. Gratitude for the connections made, the insights gained, and the laughs shared. Can’t wait do it all again next year! 

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