Queenstown and Milford Sound tourism operator Southern Discoveries is in celebration mode following a win in Dunedin’s Grand Business South Awards.
The awards celebrate innovation, creativity and success in the business sector, and Southern Discoveries was thrilled to win the Excellence in Tourism & Hospitality category.
CEO Kerry Walker describes the win as an “incredible achievement” following the tourism downturn during and post-Covid, when the business went back to the drawing board on delivery of its entire operation.
“We took a good hard look at what we do well, with the aim of doing it better,” says Kerry.
Comparing pre-Covid figures to today, that meant reducing the number of Milford Sound cruises, re-inventing the products offered, invigorating the food offerings, and introducing charter packages.
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.”
As the original Milford Sound operator, Southern Discoveries is delighted to lead the industry in the sound, boasting the largest operator as the market leader in day trips to Milford from Queenstown and as the cruise operator of choice in Milford Sound.
“We’re trailblazers in enhancing guest experiences, and ongoing investment in our region, products and people,” says Kerry.
The company’s coaching service launched in 2018 with a $2.7m investment, and Southern Discoveries stands out as the first Milford Sound operator to introduce a multi-lingual commentary app, available in eight languages.
It also prides itself on its commitment to sustainability and conservation, having been involved in the Tawaki Project in Harrisons Cove since 2015, and the Sinbad Gully conservation project for the past decade.
“We’d love to say a huge ‘thank you’ to everyone who has been part of this journey with us, your support means the world,” says Kerry.