New customer services manager at Alpine Springs Lake Tekapo intends to polish this hidden jewel of NZ tourism
Rod Turner, the newly appointed manager of Alpine Springs Café and Bar at Lake Tekapo, brings international restaurant experience and combines hands-on tourism industry knowledge with an academic and tourism development background, and he sees great opportunities for the venue and the Mackenzie district.
“Alpine Springs is a destination in itself, amidst spectacular beauty and offering both relaxation in the hot pools and day spa and adrenalin-adventure with the winter and summer tube rides,” Rod Turner said. “It adds to the whole regional experience for visitors.”
Previously Rod was Head of Department for Services at Tai Poutini Polytechnic in Greymouth, and while it taught him a lot about working with young people he did miss the day to day communication with guest and clients. He is armed with up to date research and perspectives on the visitor industry, especially as it applies to food and wine.
“International visitors arrive after a lot of research and they are looking for eco-experiences that are unique to New Zealand. They also want to eat original, healthy, fresh and seasonal foods. Europeans in particular want to try our venison and sea food.”
Rod Turner said places such as Alpine Springs Café and Bar can heighten that customer experience, for international and national visitors, by having a menu and wine list that reflects local produce and offer seasonal variations, and by providing the backstories that enhance the local experience.
“Customers are also looking for healthy options for children, and they want regional cuisine. They also want venue staff to share their local knowledge.”
Rod Turner worked in a London hotel for three years after graduating with City and Guilds, then worked in South Africa managing a restaurant and a safari game lodge for three years before coming to New Zealand. His ran his own Café Peppers in Merivale (Christchurch) for six years, then undertook senior roles at Noah’s Hotel and Chateau on the Park before embarking on a trade educsation career.
While working on the West Coast Rod Tuner was actively involved with Tourism West Coast’s major regional initiative programme to develop world class standards for several attractions and experiences. He can see enormous potential for the Tekapo district.
“It really is a hidden jewel of New Zealand tourism. It is utterly spectacular and there’s so much to see and do and it has the advantage of having year round appeal. That all creates an excellent base for investment in tourism experiences, goods and services,” Rod Turner said.
Rod Turner began his new role as Front of House and Customer Experience Manager on 9 January 2012.
Alpine Springs Lake Tekapo introduced New Zealand’s first summer tube ride this summer, using the Magic Carpet conveyor installed last winter to get people quickly up the slopes of Mt John. The complex is open 10 am – 9 pm every day.