The Cobar Caravan Park has recently welcomed new park managers Joe and Michelle Neate, who are very eager to boost tourism and put Cobar on the map.
The newlyweds stepped straight into the manager’s role from their honeymoon last month and while both don’t actually have backgrounds working in hospitality, they’ll bring a range of different skills that will help them in their new roles.
The couple also has a lot of energy and plenty of great ideas to improve not only the park, but the township as well.
Michelle is a former hairdresser and has worked at the park for some time while Joe is a Cobar local, has served in the Australian Army and worked at Landmark Russell.
Since commencing in the manager’s role Joe said being a local has helped him with his customer service skills.
“Having been around a lot of the local places myself and having a background in farming, a lot of people are interested in what is being farmed around the local area,” Joe said.
“There is a lot of information that they ask and having a background knowledge in it helps greatly,” he said.
The couple are very big on teamwork and building that within their staff and the community with the strong belief that working together will help the town move forward.
“I think we have made a positive attitude in the work place and bring a community spirit to the work place. We want to be part of the community as much as possible,” Joe said.
The pair has been visiting local businesses introducing themselves and sharing their ideas to help build local tourism.
“We are trying to do as much as possible to get the community behind the caravan park to help drive it forward. That is our main focus at the moment, to get the community onside so that everyone benefits, not just us, the town is just as important as the park itself,” Joe said.
Mates rates discounts for shopping at local businesses is one of the perks that is offered to guests at the park.
The new managers are also determined to dispel the rumours they are overpriced.
“We offer very competitive rates,” Joe said.
Building Cobar up from a transit stop to a destination is a long term goal for the pair.
“We have started to notice a trend of people stopping for a couple of nights now, thinking that Cobar’s not a bad little town.
“I think it’s just a matter of Cobar needing to brand itself and we need a few more tourist attractions to focus on so that people are going to want to come to Cobar and to stay here,” Joe said.
Michelle said hiring local people is very important in their management priorities.
They hire more people during winter, which is the busiest time of the year, and hire people who are already living within the shire.
The couple have begun working on the grounds to improve the park aesthetically, and plan to plant a herb garden for use by customers. They also hope to hold movie nights and other activities in an attempt to get guests to stay a bit longer.
When questioned about how free camping affects their business, the couple said they are unsure as they really haven’t been there long enough to make a fair judgement.
Michelle said the park has a number of benefits over free camping, such as security, the opportunity to charge batteries, fill up with water, visitors can speak to staff with local knowledge, access mates rates and use all the facilities that the park has to offer including toilets, showers and a laundry.