by Mandy Clarke
28th August, 2017
Finding Sanctuary Palm Cove
At the height of the holiday season a year ago, Richard and Karyn Hewitson moved to the unique beachside village of Palm Cove, North Queensland. Excited to have purchased the management rights of their picture-perfect resort, Sanctuary Palm Cove.
Previously located in Brisbane, Richard and Karyn managed a permanent management rights property for five years but they wanted a change and decided to look for a holiday resort along Queensland’s Coast. They looked at properties along the Sunshine Coast and in Cairns but just north of Cairns they found and “fell in love” with quaint Palm Cove: who wouldn’t? Its paved streets lined with melaleucas, pristine beaches, award-winning restaurants, cafes, boutique shopping and access to the Great Barrier Reef and World Heritage Rainforest.
Both Richard and Karyn have a banking and finance background and after working in that industry for over 25 years, they decided that they wanted to run their own business. They had family already working in the resort industry, so a management rights business seemed like the perfect fit; a wonderful opportunity for them and their two children (Kiera, 10, and Lachlan, 7).
Sanctuary Palm Cove is a stunning resort that offers very spacious one, two and three-bedroom luxury apartments surrounded by beautiful tropical gardens overlooking a natural lagoon. The apartments were architecturally designed to capture natural light and ocean breezes, the private balconies allow guests to experience up-close the abundant tropical environment. The resort facilities also include a sparkling 25m pool, a shaded wading pool, and an invigorating spa.
Richard told us: “When we found this resort, we knew that it met our needs entirely and was a magnificent place for our family to settle. The purchasing process was smoothly assisted by Trent Pevy, our lawyer, while Damian Windle helped with finance along with Hayden Rooney from Reef Accountants. I am a firm believer that you must engage the very best industry experts.
“We also had a thorough handover from the previous resort managers, who we now consider our friends. Such a big move for our family was very daunting but now, one year on, we believe it was the best move we ever made.”
Richard and Karyn admit that the unique North Queensland location and charming community of Palm Cove provides them with a wonderful lifestyle and, although the last year has been challenging, management rights is bringing huge rewards.
“We are positioned number one on TripAdvisor for Palm Cove, achieving good occupancy growth in the last 12 months. Although Sanctuary Palm Cove attracts all types of guests, it is perfectly suited to families and they keep coming back, bringing grandparents too, because the apartments are so spacious.
“The previous resort managers did a great job and had built solid foundations, so we’ve made only small changes; we have refined and refreshed. Moreover, we believe in a simple customer service recipe; to provide guests with a good experience on check in and check out.”
Unusually, the couple split their resort management duties 50/50 and are not job-specific; this means that they are both proficient in all tasks and can easily cover for each other.
Richard explained: “Down-time is very important to us and we firmly believe that to be successful you must have breaks. When we need time out, we head to our apartment in Noosa for a holiday and leave our very able receptionist Raine Partis in charge. Raine is an English lady that we met locally: she impressed us with her business skills so we offered her a job and now feel confident enough to take a break.”
As for their biggest achievement so far, Karyn joked: “Getting over the lack of sleep! Seriously, for us it has been learning how to effectively prioritise and manage time, due to the fast turnaround of guests, compared to the consistent tenants of our last MR business.”
On consideration, Richard advised: “New managers should look at both permanent and holiday management rights options and not rule anything out. Younger families shouldn’t be afraid of the industry as it offers a great lifestyle and always seek the best industry professionals for help.”