New kid on the block takes top tourism gong

Published 2:00pm 7 November 2022

New kid on the block takes top tourism gong
Words by Jodie Powell

Two Moreton Bay businesses have been recognised at this year’s Queensland Tourism Awards.

Maiala Park Lodge at Mount Glorious won the Judges Choice Award, while Moreton Bay Region Industry and Tourism’s (MBRIT) Volunteer Team took out the Silver Award in the Outstanding Contribution by a Volunteer or Volunteer Group category.

The Queensland Tourism Awards recognise new and established iconic tourism operations from across the state.

Maiala Park Lodge owner Joaben Thompson says he and wife Lucy were delighted with the win, which came as a complete surprise because they had nominated in the New Tourism Business category.

“We’d settled in to enjoy the night because we missed out on our award – but then our name was called out and it took a second for us to realise.

“To be on that platform with the other winners and previous winners is a really special feeling,” Joaben says.

“To know that the product we’re offering has been that well received, that we can compete on that level, is great.”

Attention to detail

Joaben says the win is even more gratifying because he and Lucy had no previous hospitality experience.

“Lucy’s background is in accounting and she’s worked for the State Government and I worked in the Army and as a boilermaker.

“Making beds and cleaning rooms was not the skill I thought I was going to bring out of the Army,” he laughs.

“One thing from my background though was it taught me it’s the little things that really count.

“When a commanding officer is coming down to inspect a room, it’s the first three things that he sees that count – if there’s dust on the windowsill or rubbish in the bin, he’ll think ‘what else is wrong?’.

“If we get that right then the rest of the stay looks after itself because guests feel comfortable and relaxed.”

Fitting recognition

Joaben and Lucy bought Maiala Park Lodge in April, 2021, opening the first of five guest suites in August, with the final one opening in April this year, and they plan to add a conference room next year.

“Lucy and I had always joked and dreamed about doing something like this as an early retirement,” he says.

Joaben says they came across an advertisement for the property on Facebook and fell in love with it.

“How many opportunities to you get were everything lines up – the universe was reaching out to us and we went with it.

“The award is recognition of us and all the hard work we’ve put in.

“It’s recognition that the rest of the industry believes in us as well.”

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