On Thursday October 24, at a prestigious black tie dinner in Christchurch, Owen River Lodge was announced winner of the Visitor Experience category in the 2019 New Zealand Tourism Awards.This is the second year in a row that we’ve been recognised by our industry peers. In 2018, we took out the Business Excellence Award for tourism operations with less than $6m annual turnover—which was wonderful. But Visitor Experience is one of the most highly-coveted and hotly-contested categories in the awards, so we’re over the moon!
Sustainability was the overall focus of the awards this year, and in order to win we had to demonstrate how we integrate Owen River Lodge’s commitment to caring for people, community and the environment into the experience we offer our guests.
The judges thought we nailed it. Here’s what they had to say:
Owen River Lodge is a brilliant example of a small business that is delivering exceptional customer experience. This boutique, luxury fly-fishing lodge near the rural South Island town of Murchison is recognised by guests and reviewers as an outstanding provider of an authentic, New Zealand visitor experience.
Owen River Lodge drives value by continually innovating in order to improve its guests’ experience while maintaining a focus on environmental and financial sustainability.
Providing a very special visitor experience requires a very special team. We know exactly how outstanding our people are, from talented chefs Ryan and Jo through to our totally dedicated housekeepers. But for many of our guests, the quality of their experience depends on whether or not they catch a fish—a big, wild, fighting brown. The responsibility for making that dream come true rests squarely on the shoulders of our guides.
And they deliver. Over and over again. In bad weather and good. For people who have never held a rod before, and for seasoned anglers. Our guides are wizards at their craft. We know exactly how important their contribution is and we thank them.
So what sort of visitor experience can our guests expect in the 2019/2020 season? The same that we’re always striving to produce—award-winning. World-class. Top-notch. Because our guests are the reason we’re excellent. Industry accolades are very sweet, but at the end of the day our guests’ feedback matters the most.
We hope to see you soon.