The Jo Smith Story


..... Whilst waiting for my friends to arrive on the Coast to then head off to see the world, I got bored, so I applied for a casual role at a timeshare resort doing events and activities for guests. I got the job, and started the next day. Little did I know what I was about to learn. When my friends arrived to head overseas I told them I could not go, I had found a job that I actually loved, one that I never thought possible, something different every day, amazing people, and that I was learning things about new products and concepts. I couldn’t leave!

Within 6 months I was working across 3 different departments: activities and events, front office and telemarketing at nights inviting families to come and tour the resort. At the time, I knew very little about timeshare and I was captivated by a desire to learn all I could about this product and to throw myself into the incredible need to focus on customer service. How do we move the goal posts from traditional customer service models to the need for this new member to have their service needs exceeded at every touch point? Here I am 31 years later still developing programs and people to deliver on this mantra.

What started as a job at one resort on the Gold Coast led me to other resorts, and I was given my first resort management role within 3 years of starting in the industry. It was a challenging role, but in the first 12 months we grew from 9% occupancy to 70%, then in the following six months we grew to 92% occupancy. We won the NSW Tourism Awards for Excellence then went on to win the National Tourism Award for Excellence in Accommodation. This was to be the first time that a timeshare resort or operation had ever been recognised by mainstream industry – not just for operations but for the concept and quality of what we provided to our customers.

How did you come up with the idea to start One Step Further?

I would meet with other local resort managers to share ideas and discuss the challenges we were facing. We were continually approached and asked for training, to teach best practice and operational management. It was at that point in 1990 I embraced my love of training and created a program: “Introduction to the timeshare and holiday ownership industry”. I started delivering this across resorts and other service providers, voluntarily, at no cost.

It was not until four years later that myself and three other dedicated colleagues took the model on to ensure its sustainability and launched the training business at an industry conference in 1994. “One Step Further” was the mission – to take the industry one step further, to the next level.

What skills have you acquired throughout your career?

I started in Activities and Events, and was eager to also learn telemarketing, administration and Reception roles.

Moving into managerial and training roles, I learnt skills in accounts, human resources and legal and was involved in resort fit out and refurbishment programs and even working with developers on the acquisition of new properties.

I’ve also been a Program designer with course development for committees and Tourism Training Queensland, and fortunate to be Adjunct Lecturer at Griffith University where I held the role of course development and delivery for 17 years while also managing a resort.

My career has led me to Board positions with a range of committees and associations both in Australia and in the USA and Asia. I also created a new Cruise Exchange to come into Asia Pacific, set up and launched a new US based company in Malaysia and on the Gold Coast, and created, launched and managed a new points club. Sometimes I can’t believe all the things I have achieved, and other times I think there is still so much more to do!

In 2004 I was approached to hang up my resort management boots and consulting roles and commit to the training company 100% – to grow the business, create a profitable entity and to become a Registered Training Organisation. I thought about that for about oh, 5 minutes, and the rest is history. Today, I’m proud to say One Step Further has helped to educate and upskill thousands of passionate and talented individuals who have gone on to secure a job in the industry they love.

Jo’s story is just one of the inspirational journeys that began by taking that first step. It’s never too early or too late to step into a new career or step up your skills to the next level.

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