Donna and Jim Hinshaw are the managers of one of Coolum’s most impressive architecturally designed resorts, Element on Coolum Beach.
This superb complex of self-contained holiday apartments combines the best of urban chic and beachside living in the heart of Queensland’s favourite family holiday spot, Coolum on the Sunshine Coast.
The resort features 49 luxury one, two and three-bedroom apartments and sub-penthouses, all luxuriously appointed and with spacious balconies, internal lift access and secure parking.
Donna says: “We are very proud of our resort, it is a fantastic family complex and although our building is 12 years old you would never guess because it has been very well maintained. Guests love that our apartments are very large and spacious, they adore the big open balconies that allow sea breezes and entice them to eat outdoors.”
The resort is also in a great location in the heart of Coolum Beach, where guests can take advantage of the recently re-vamped beachside town with all its award-winning restaurants, delightful coffee shops, cafés and boutiques. “It really is a perfect place for an ‘easy’ family holiday,” adds Donna.
Donna and Jim have been married for over 36 years, with three grown up children, three grandchildren and another two on the way. Family is very important to them and working in this industry gives them flexible working hours so they can spend time with their family.
Donna told us: “We are originally from NSW but spent a few years in Victoria before moving overseas, to Mauritius, where we lived for more than two years Jim was a mining executive, managing over 300 expatriates, he maintained the accounting software and trained locals for a West African mine. I have a bachelor of social work and diploma in business management, mostly working in community aged care, and sup-porting carers of older people with dementia.
“We returned to Australia from Mauritius and headed to Coolum where we had yearned to live for many years. Coolum was the ideal next stop for us, we had visited before and fallen in love with the beautiful beach-side village and felt at home in the friendly community. The local airport is close and it is also only a short flight away from our children and grandchildren, so also the ideal location for us.
“Returning from overseas without jobs or a home, meant that we had no commitments. We stayed at Element on Coolum Beach while we waited to purchase a home, we were also looking at business opportunities and began to investigate the management rights industry. Coincidentally, we found out that the management rights at Element Coolum Beach were coming onto the market, we were interested and the rest is history!”
They purchased the business in late 2015, assisted by Matt Campbell from RMS and Trent Pevy at Pevy Lawyers. Jim reveals: “Matt and Trent were very helpful to us, they explained all the processes and assisted with the sale, making it seamless, both continue to pro-vide us with assistance when required.
“As new managers, we had to rapidly learn new skills, we expanded our skills in many areas we were not familiar with, including: learning new soft-ware, understanding marketing in the accommodation industry, and managing guest/owner expectations.”
They work well as a team, Jim with his expertise and experience in accounting finds the accounting side of the business easy, he is responsible for maintenance throughout the resort and maintains the retail section. Donna manages reception and takes care of marketing as well as supporting their “wonderful” housekeeping team.
Jim admits: “Our resort couldn’t run as well without our valued team: Lizzie in reception, Shelley head of housekeeping and Tony head of maintenance. We have also been very fortunate to meet and network with other management rights owners in the area, and most of them in Coolum support each other. The men meet every week to discuss ‘very important matters’ and the ladies also meet once a month for dinner to catch up and ex-change information.
“All the resort managers offer something different to the industry and depending on their holiday letting apartment types, this means we all bring some-thing to the table from our individual experiences and we sup-port each other and share ideas. It is a friendly group of people that we both now consider to be friends.”
He adds: “Working together as we do, means we can keep up to date with the current trends in the accommodation industry and how it can benefit Coolum Beach and the Sunshine Coast.”
What does Element on Coolum Beach do best? Jim replies: “We offer family-friendly accommodation and convenience, guests can leave the car and walk around as we are in a great location. We offer a great service because we listen to what people need to make their holiday special. Moreover, we have great staff who all work well together to make Element on Coolum Beach the best holiday accommodation for families and groups in Coolum Beach.
According to TripAdvisor, this resort is the best! It is currently sitting in the number one spot for Coolum Beach and ranks 17th for the sunshine Coast. The reviews highlight that Element is a firm family favourite with many reviewers quoting many return visits, which is a huge honour for both Coolum and this resort.
The reviews particularly praise the revamped Coolum location, the airy modern apartments and the “welcoming and friendly” new managers who have been working hard to keep the resort looking so spic and span.
Donna and Jim agree that they are “enjoying the challenge of managing this spectacular resort” and they love their new lifestyle. They have discovered that “being able to assist people in having a wonderful relaxing holiday is very gratifying” and their best advice is to “build a trusting relationship with owners and look after them”, if you do this, everyone will benefit.