by Mandy Clarke
12th June, 2017
A shared love and a memorable resort
Kirra Surf Apartments’ ideal location overlooks the beautiful golden sands of Kirra Beach on the peaceful southern end of the Gold Coast.
These Coolangatta apartments promise they will “not disappoint” and with an abundance of rave guest reviews, they obviously do not.
Rod and Ally Johnson, the managers of Kirra Surf Apartments describe their beloved building as “iconic”! The beautiful beachfront property boasts spacious, and modern one, two and three-bedroom self-contained accommodation with great views and access to some of the best resort facilities in the area.
Rod and Ally are resort industry stalwarts; Rod spent many years within the laundry business setting up commercial laundries and Ally also has a long history working in hospitality. She worked mainly on reception in many hotels through-out the east coast of Australia.
Ally reveals: “We actually met working in a hotel in Sydney and we both knew early on that we wanted to be together in the accommodation business. We spent several years managing resorts on behalf of various companies from Sydney to the Gold Coast and then we moved to the Whitsundays, where we married and settled for many years.
“We not only share a love of hospitality but also our adored ‘fur baby’ and a passion for rugby league (even though we barrack for separate teams), plus a secret obsession with theme parks!”
Together in Airlie Beach, they managed accommodation; a role that involved all aspects of resort and body corporate management, staff supervision and day-to-day running of the property. Here, they developed the idea of setting up a commercial laundry business and in late 2007 they did just that.
Their commercial laundry business offered a seven-day service of linen and towel hire to many accommodation houses in Airlie Beach and “even getting it off the ground took an enormous amount of hard work, time, and dedication”.
However, Ally states: “By the time we sold our laundry business we had turned it into a very successful and profitable entity. Then we took jobs out-side of the accommodation industry but soon realised they were not our real passion and so we decided to leave Airlie Beach and take the necessary steps to fulfil our dreams.”
For many months, they searched along Queensland’s coastline for an ideal property. They wanted to find a management rights business that they could “settle into long-term”; an enterprise that they could develop and stamp with their individual ideas and unique experiences.
Rod declares: “We wanted to become business owners be-cause of our passion for the hospitality industry and how strongly it is related to our skills and experience. We strive to offer excellent customer service, and we thoroughly enjoy making people’s holiday experiences memorable.”
Rod and Ally found Kirra Surf Apartments and became enchanted by the delightful property, its immense potential and idyllic location. They purchased the management rights through Mark Ryall of MR Finance and Rod explains: “Mark supported us throughout the whole process. Over several months, he contacted us about various properties until we found the right one for us. From there he organised our partner-ship and was with us every step of the way.”
This was 18 months ago and, according to Rod and Ally, every day has been a learning curve. “We are always learning something new, allowing us to be more effective at serving our guests and partnership group. We consider our greatest achievement to be the flourishing growth of the business and our biggest pleasure is to see our guests return to Kirra Surf year-after-year.”
The superbly appointed apartments are beautifully finished and set the scene for a holiday to remember. However, improvements are always on-going. Rod reveals: “We will soon begin a re-paint of the building with some changes to the colour of our exterior framework from orange to blue. We have also completely re-vamped our foyer, it now includes some amazing photography that showcases this stunning location that we are lucky enough to call home.”
How do they do what they do, so successfully? “You need to have the ability to multi-task, work efficiently, prioritise work-loads and show initiative as well as excellent time management skills. Another important aspect is good communication, especially with each other; not only for support but also for ideas. You should also be prepared to work hard and keep the work/life balance in check.”
Tell us what you enjoy most? “We thoroughly enjoy meeting people and building up our repeat clientele business. Every day is different and so much can happen in one day but we have a great group of owners and investors, and we have achieved a lovely community spirit within the building. It really is a pleasure to be part of.”
What does your resort do best? “We believe our customer service sets us apart. Our many reviews indicate that our guests appreciate our warm and friendly nature and how helpful we are as this makes their stay a happy one. We also enjoy getting to know our guests and it’s always a highlight to see a familiar face return.
How are you unique? “Kirra Surf Apartments is also home to a substantial business area on the ground floor, the iconic ‘Kirra Surf’ shop, owned by Billabong. There are also the restaurants, including Kirra Hub and Edelweiss Bavarian Restaurant located within the complex.”
There is so much for Rod and Ally to celebrate, not least of which Kirra Surf Apartments triumphantly achieving number one status on TripAdvisor and a rating of 9.3 on Booking.com, (one of the highest reviews for the area) but also the many guest testimonials pointing out how effective these managers are.
These terrific accomplishments emphasise the amount of passion and expertise required to provide this level of success and as Rod and Ally get on with the job of making memorable accommodation experiences, hopefully they occasionally pause to give themselves a pat on the back.