When you are busy running a business, it can be easy to miss some obvious selling points, says Megan Bainbridge of Barbary Scenic Charters.
Talking to her Qualmark advisor sorted that. “We are the only people operating commercially electric yachts in New Zealand and our advisor suggested it might be a good idea if we told our customers about our environmental initiatives and efforts to reduce our carbon footprint. He suggested we have a statement on board so people can see what we are doing. It’s obvious but sometimes you just don’t think of these things when you are concentrating on running your business.”
The Taupo company received a Silver Sustainable Tourism Business award under the new Qualmark assessment system and while Megan misses having a separate Enviro Award badge, she totally understands and agrees that a focus on sustainability should be part and parcel of all businesses.
The company is not new to Qualmark and Megan says the new assessment system is a great improvement. “It’s much better, far more informative, not just little tick boxes that have no relevance to our business. It is easier to understand and the business advisor was just fantastic, providing feedback at the time of the assessment and providing little titbits and pointers that really make a difference. He provided us with some real help and advice that came from his just having lots of experience. It really felt like he was going above and beyond what was needed.”
Megan says the formal feedback has also been improved, becoming more directional, with a clear plan of ‘where to now and what can we do.’ “I still think there is room for improvement with some of the descriptions they use – a bit more plain English would be nice.”
As a marine related business operating on Lake Taupo, Barbary Scenic Charters is covered by Maritime rules and regulations but Megan says it was “super handy” to have Qualmark work through some health and safety aspects of the business that sit outside the maritime requirements.
She is also really pleased to see the social and people aspects of the business being assessed by Qualmark. For a company that works closely with local Maori and takes thousands of visitors to see the Mine Bay Maori Rock Carvings, she says local connections are vital – “it’s what makes Kiwis Kiwis. It sets us apart from lots of big companies or other cultures overseas where there isn’t that same connection. It’s really good that Qualmark is assessing these connections and valuing those relationships.”
Megan, who will be shooting for Gold at her next Qualmark assessment, says that ongoing contact with Qualmark is essential. It’s really important that Qualmark can keep that regular contact alive so that we are not scrabbling in the last few weeks before an assessment to try to improve things.”