Caravan Parks Association of Queensland Ltd (CPAQ) held its bi-annual Divisional Meetings last October, which are pivotal events that bring together caravan park owners and operators across Queensland.
These meetings are not just about discussions and formalities; they are a lifeline to a community striving for resilience and growth in a challenging industry.
In an email interview with Modern Campground, CPAQ CEO Michelle Weston said this initiative is vital in breaking the isolation that often accompanies business management, offering a platform for shared experiences and mutual support.
The Essence of CPAQ Divisional Meetings
Weston said their Divisional Meetings provide a forum to allow Queensland caravan park owners and operators to come together, share their experiences, and expand their networks.
“Running a business can often be an isolating activity so meeting with other operators to share how the season has been in the region, any challenges you are experiencing, and some of the highlights from the past six months helps alleviate this isolation,” she said.
Each meeting addresses the unique challenges faced by the industry, ranging from weather impacts to local government issues and staffing challenges. Weston acknowledged that common issues arise across the state, but each region faced slightly different issues, like weather impact on visitor numbers, challenges with local government, or staffing.
“One of the major trends of the past six months was a large increase in guests arriving at parks late in the day with no booking,” Weston said, underscoring the diversity of challenges. The meetings offer a platform to share strategies and solutions, enhancing the industry’s collective wisdom.
Building Strong Referral Networks
The importance of these meetings extends beyond mere discussions. Weston said they found these meetings help caravan parks build their referral network, and operators are more inclined to refer guests to other parks where they know the owner.
“As these meetings are held twice a year, many of our members have developed strong connections with other caravan park operators in their region. This gives them confidence to get in touch when they have an issue in their park, or when they are at capacity and are looking for other caravan parks to send potential guests to,” Weston said, illustrating the meetings’ role in fostering a supportive community.
One of the major concerns raised in these meetings is the accessibility of affordable and appropriate insurance. Weston said access to affordable and appropriate insurance continues to be one of the major concerns raised by parks at these meetings.
“We have been able to develop a number of case studies as a result of these conversations which allow us to clearly articulate the issue when advocating on behalf of the parks on this issue,” Weston said, highlighting how these discussions aid in advocacy and problem-solving.
The meetings have also been a breeding ground for innovative solutions. Weston shared several meeting attendees spoke about different ways they are addressing this issue, from redesigning the site to opening up unpowered camping areas as large ‘off-grid’ sites.
“Two caravan parks indicated they had installed ‘ever-green’ sites made of astroturf to address issues of overuse on some of their grass sites,” she said. Such innovations are testaments to the industry’s adaptability and resilience.
The Future of CPAQ and Its Divisional Meetings
Looking ahead, CPAQ remains committed to supporting its members year-round. Weston said member support is a year-round activity at the association. In addition to their Divisional Meetings, they endeavor to contact each member park by phone at least four times a year to check in and provide support.
“The CPAQ team also uses the information we gain from Divisional Meetings and our member support calls to build our online resources and to determine what information should be included in our Weekly Email Update and newsletter,” she said, emphasizing the ongoing support provided by CPAQ.
The CPAQ Divisional Meetings are more than just gatherings; they are a cornerstone of community building and resilience in Queensland’s caravanning industry. Through shared experiences, collective problem-solving, and strong networking, these meetings are shaping a more connected and robust future for caravan parks across the state.
Featured image from Caravan Parks Association of Queensland Ltd.