Pencil, paper, eraser and telephone – that was the booking system which greeted Louise and Shaun Perrett when they arrived at Stratford on the River Tourist Park around 15 years ago.
No computer, no internet, no reservations software. How things have changed - and let’s face it they had to.
“The proportion of online bookings has been increasing over the past year and we’re now picking up more new customers through the website – installing the Book Now Button has been a good move,” says Louise.
“I’m really happy with it and was able to set it up myself.”
Louise also likes the system’s usability, which makes loading images or managing prices a simple process, while she found the one on one training RMS offers users extremely beneficial.
“Customer service is continually improving – RMS staff are understanding and very helpful.”
The next challenge for Louise and Shaun is a new bike hire business they’ve launched to capitalise on the park’s proximity to the popular Gippsland Plains Rail Trail.
Emma, Louise and Rebekah Perrett get ready for a ride at Stratford on the River Tourist Park.
It runs for approximately 63km between Stratford and Traralgon in Central Gippsland, Victoria.
Adding bike hire is an opportunity for the couple to diversify their guest mix (which veers toward the Grey Nomad end of the travel spectrum) while opening a new revenue stream.
Making life easier is the fact they’re able to integrate bike hire into the RMS online booking pathway, offering it as an ancillary product, or potentially develop all-inclusive weekend bike riding packages.
It’s the latest phase in a tree-change from Melbourne for Louise and Shaun, who moved to Stratford soon after having their first child (there are now three girls – Emma, Elise and Rebekah).
“We’re were living in Brunswick, working too hard and decided we’d like a tree-change. My father-in-law was a Grey Nomad and suggested we look at a running a Caravan Park,” says Louise.
“We thought it was a good idea, had a look around and found this park. It had a good reputation, plenty of potential and here we are.”
Stratford on the River is a relatively small operation with 45 sites including 12 cabins while the town is the kind of place where there’s one of everything, although it’s growing fast.
Since the Perrett’s moved there, Stratford’s population has increased from 2000 to 3500 with more development on the way.
However, the town’s basic character remains unchanged and it’s easy to get away to either the Victorian High Country and Gippsland Lakes, which are within easy reach.