accomnews spoke with Kaydee George, the resort manager of Ramada Resort Wanaka, and she told us: “The accommodation we offer is unique, the resort presents a choice of contemporary studio rooms, one, two and three-bedroom apartments and our pride and joy – the wonderful presidential suites.
The spectacular Otago region on New Zealand’s South Island is the perfect escape; an endless natural wonderland of breathtaking mountains, glaciers, rivers, and lakes. In the heart of the region, and only an hour’s drive from Queenstown, you can find Ramada Resort Wanaka: the perfect base for holiday adventures and just a short stroll from Lake Wanaka and centre of the town.
“These suites far exceed expectations, featuring stone fireplaces, wet bars, iPod docking stations, bathroom spas with in-built televisions, espresso pod machines and a private balcony complete with a jacuzzi in the 4th bedroom. The inspiration behind the three and four-bedroom apartments was; to offer our guests a style of accommodation that provides the perfect combination of luxury and comfort with all modern conveniences. Our accommodation is perfect for family holidays, special occasions as well as bridal parties, especially relevant to the region’s growing wedding popularity.”
Ramada Resort Wanaka is operated by Wyndham Vacation Resorts Asia Pacific, which boasts a portfolio of 30 hotels throughout Asia Pacific. Kaydee has been the resort’s manager since November 2015, having commenced her career with Wyndham Vacation Resorts as wedding and events manager at Ramada Resort Dunsborough, Western Australia in 2012.
Her hard work, talent and dedication to customer service, was quickly recognised and Kaydee soared through the ranks and appointed hotel manager of Ramada Perth, The Outram in 2014. Subsequently, Kaydee was offered (and jumped at!) the opportunity to move to New Zealand to take up the role of resort manager at Ramada Resort Wanaka.
What appealed to her about this part of the world?
“I really enjoy the relaxed lifestyle in Wanaka and all it has to offer… In my down time you will find me enjoying the ski fields in the winter months or hiking on one of the many Otago region trails.”
Built in 1987, the property has grown from humble origins as a 32-room motor inn. “Since Wyndham acquired the property in 2008, there have been many standout moments while expanding it into the lovely 68-room resort that it is today,” Kaydee explained.
“We are overjoyed that its popularity has risen year-after-year and we can now boast more than 85 percent occupancy year-round, and with the region’s ever-growing popularity, we expect this rise to continue. I am particularly proud that the resort has received many accolades for its focus on service and high quality of accommodation. It was a 2017 Hotel Management Award finalist in the New Zealand Regional Property category. Ramada Wanaka has recently been awarded the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence two years running, along with the RCI Gold Crown in the holiday exchange provider’s resort recognition program.”
All this praise, along with another important accolade for resort manager Kaydee, who was recently highly commended in the category of New Zealand general manager.
To make sure that the property maintains the high standard that it is known for, it undergoes a thorough refurbishment every five years; delivering consistently superior accommodation. Kaydee said: “The last refurbishment was completed in 2015 and saw the apartments transformed to reflect the alpine environment of the resort, using (as design features) the natural materials, textures and colours of the Central Otago region. Green throws and fern leaf pattern cushions complement the art-work provided by local landscape photographer Gilbert Van Reenan, presenting apartments that have a unique Kiwi feel. Our accommodation is the ultimate launch pad for guests; spacious, modern and stylishly appointed.”
The resort team is made up of more than 40 diverse and dedicated professionals who all work together to ensure they deliver on their mission of making holiday dreams come true. Kaydee revealed: “All the staff are passionate about the region they live in and love to share it with guests. Whether this is secret fishing spots shared by our maintenance manager or the best local pinot recommended by our resort host! The ability to share how great the Wanaka region is along with contributing to a memorable experience for our guests is what we find exciting.”
With modern travellers wanting more unique experiences than ever before, she added: “We have seen an increase in tailored itineraries and requests for personalised experiences. Ramada Wanaka works with local businesses to offer packages where guests can experience the best of the Otago region. The resort tailors unique holiday itineraries for tastes as diverse as the ski enthusiast, the avid hiker or adrenalin addict. Today’s traveller is not simply after a bed to sleep in, we believe offering experiences that go far beyond a late check-out or a room upgrade is the key to establishing a deeper connection with our guests.
“Our resort’s point of difference is the abundance of facilities, including a heated pool complete with water slide, hot tub, sauna, barbecue area and café/bar. One of the property’s most popular activities involves our new fat-tire mountain bikes, which we have onsite for hire, perfect for exploring many of Wanaka’s bike trails. Another point of difference is the offer of room service in the evenings. While it is not an extensive menu, it is heart-warming and tasty.”
As the Otago region gets busier and occupancies rise, according to Kaydee, there have been some challenges with labour shortages, to overcome this the team has focused on cross-skilling so there is never any area of the business that lacks manpower and the resort is able to provide exceptional experiences to all. This initiative has also proven to be rewarding for individuals as the property has seen some internal promotions within different areas of the business – beneficial to career development.
The Ramada Wanaka team enjoy being able to surprise and delight guests, believing that customer service starts before the guest has even set foot in the lobby. “Our resort hosts pre-call our guests prior to their arrival so we are able to customise their experience and better meet their needs.
“Depending on the guest, our team can arrange dinner reservations, instruct them on the best way to get to Wanaka, organise an in-room massage or even confirm their pillow selection. One of our newest initiatives is themed rooms for children, where young guests can retreat to their own tee-pee with toys and books on New Zealand flora and fauna such as the Moa bird. This also allows parents to relax while their kids are playing happily and learning about New Zealand history and customs. These kids’ rooms have proven to be hit with both parents and children, with the kids not wanting to leave the room on several occasions!”
It is the warmth and comfort that this team provide both physically and emotionally that is remembered by guest after guest. With online reviewers describing the staff as amazing and reporting that “nothing was too much trouble”.
Friendly service with a big smile is essential to the success in this industry and Kaydee certainly leads by example.