The Taupō Top 10 Holiday Park has been operating for 70 years under different ownerships and names. It caters to all types of holidaymakers with 19 self-contained units; 20 unpowered sites; 50 powered sites; a glamping tent and 21 cabins. It also has a large swimming pool with slide and manu rock, small thermal pool and two private thermal hot tubs. A group of four owners, including Suzi Blank, purchased the park in November 2018.

Suzi applied for Regional Business Partner funding in 2023 so that two of her staff could attend the Dale Carnegie Step Up To Leadership course. We asked Suzi a few questions about life as a business owner.

What does a typical day or week looks like for you?

Our focus is always on guest experience, so mornings are either making coffees for guests in our little shop or saying farewell to those departing. Our cleaning teams are focused on getting the rooms ready and up to our high standards for the incoming guests. Lots of emails, phone enquiries and check-ins fill our days in between doing the laundry and ensuring we have the required stocks to keep us operational.

How many staff do you have?  

Around 14-16 (includes FTE and casuals) plus the four owners.

What’s been a business highlight during your time owning the campground?  

We have had many, but getting our pool finished in the face of Covid was such a huge achievement for us. We effectively had to build a lot of it ourselves and we are so happy with how it turned out and our guests love it!

What’s been one of your biggest business challenges?

We had two unit fires during 2023 which took them both out of commission (and still are). This has been a huge blow to our offerings, and due to the age of the units and damage to the units, we decided they were not worth repairing. This has brought our “replacement project” of these units forward to this year. In the interim we bought a high end glamping tent as a different accommodation offering and also rented a transportable unit so we didn’t disappoint any of our guests' holidays planned over summer.

Why did you apply for RBP funding?

As an SME we hadn’t really ever budgeted training into our budgets as most training is done internally or on the job. When we had two young ladies in our employment that showed promise of management potential, we really wanted to invest in them with the hopes show them the pathway there is in the industry.

How has the training and funding been beneficial?

The RBP training gave us the opportunity to effectively train both staff members for the price of one which helped us immensely. The ladies came back fizzing from the training, full of ideas, enthusiasm and confidence. We saw a noticeable step up in their confidence to implement their ideas, to be able to manage their teams and to have challenging conversations when required.

Working with Soda was so amazingly easy, you understood our needs and enabled us to access the required funding for the course. Would highly recommend and we hope to continue our journey so we can continue to upskill our managers.

Photo: Suzi Blank (left) with office manager Caitlin Henderson who attended the Dale Carnegie leadership course.