Holiday Snaps: William McNamara OBE of Bluestone National Park Resort
William McNamara is a farmer turned entrepreneur who conceived Bluestone National Park Resort and steered it through to the award-winning luxury short break destination it is today. In his late twenties he diversified from farming to create Oakwood Theme Park, building it into one of Wales’ leading leisure attractions. After 15 years he saw a gap in the market for high quality, activity-based short breaks and the Bluestone vision was born.
How was the summer season for Bluestone National Park Resort?
Although the summer weather was variable, our undercover attractions make us a holiday the weather cannot spoil. This year, on average, we will achieve over 93 per cent occupancy and during the main summer season it peaked to 99 per cent.
What are the main challenges facing the holiday park industry at the moment?
One of the largest challenges we have is that of perception; attracting talented, hardworking individuals with the right attitude into an industry that is perceived as having long unsociable hours. Low pay and little training has to be a thing of the past if we are to be successful.
What does a typical day in the office for you consist of?
My role as chief executive makes me the greatest enabler in our company and my job is to referee passion. In order for me to understand the challenges my team face I need to communicate face-to-face with all levels. That means board meetings, directors meetings, time out and coffee with front line staff and discussions with the employee consultative group. This way I can really stay in touch with my business.
What are you working on at the moment?
Currently, I am looking to the future and planning through new product development to bring some exciting projects to Wales and the UK. Our future is about growth; to stand still is simply not an option.
What has been your most interesting experience in the industry?
We could not have predicted when we launched in 2008 that it would be at the beginning of an economic recession. At that point we had invested over 10 years of time, effort and millions of pounds into the project. Riding that storm was an experience.
What is the best piece of business advice you have been given and by whom? My father once told me excuses are weaknesses, actions are the only prayers that are answered.
Where do you go on holiday?
Holidays for us are becoming more three generational with the onset of grandchildren. We enjoy experiential holidays; give every member of the family no matter what age a memorable experience. It’s about having quality time and bringing the family together at a unique destination.
Vision without action is a daydream; action without vision is a nightmare.