Celebrating innovation, creativity and success in the business sector, Queenstown tourism operator Southern Discoveries won the ‘excellence in tourism & hospitality’ category, while Remarkable People won the ‘excellence in service’ award.
Southern Discoveries CEO Kerry Walker says the win’s an "incredible achievement", particularly given the climate the company, which also operates in Milford Sound, has been working in, and that it went "back to the drawing board" on delivery of its entire operation post-Covid.
"We took a good hard look at what we do well, with the aim of doing it better," Walker says.
That meant reducing the number of Milford Sound cruises, reinventing the products offered, introducing charter packages and invigorating the food offerings.
Using Net Promoter Score (NPS) surveys to gauge customer satisfaction and enthusiasm, Southern Discoveries has seen marked improvement in overall and food NPS scores, increased staff retention and improvements in sustainable practices and profitability.
"Our awards entry focused on these efforts and the results we’ve achieved in the past couple of years which are just incredible, and of which we’re all so proud," she says.
The company, initially established as Remarkable Labour before rebranding a couple of years ago, has just celebrated its seventh birthday.
It exists to connect businesses with talent at the right time to ensure companies thrive and achieve their goals.
Stott says they now service Dunedin and Invercargill from their Queenstown HQ, and also have bases in Christchurch, Nelson, Blenheim, the Wellington CBD, Lower Hutt, Palmerston North, Hastings, Hamilton and Auckland.
As to what separated them from the other finalists, Stott says it came down to the level of customer service they provide.
"It’s not just the level of service we provide to our clients, but also the level of service we supply to our candidates — obviously, people being our product, it’s important that we service the candidates, not just our clients ... to place them into work and help better their careers."
After a tough few years battling with staffing shortages, Stott says things are slowly starting to settle down, with the number of candidates available for work "slowly but surely increasing".
He notes, though, there’s been some hesitation, particularly from their bigger clients, to spend money prior to this year’s election.
"But it’s certainly looking like 2024 is shaping up to be a really busy year, with lots of contract staffing and jobs throughout the country, which is good."