Her mother is head of tourism at Taupo-nui-a-Tia College. She studied tourism Level 2 in her last year at school. But what persuaded Alice Orr to dive headlong into the vibrant industry was earning and learning on the job at the exhilarating adventure tourism magnet Hukafalls Jet.
“It was a real inspiration to be hands-on in the industry,” says Alice. “The more you do and the more you learn, the more your confidence grows.”
Alice started out working at Hukafalls Jet as a part-time casual when she was just 14 years-old.
Three years later and fresh out of college, the 17 year-old has now scored a full time customer services role with the business and is excited about her ambitious plans for the future.
“Ultimately, I want to own and operate my own adventure tourism company and spend half my time outdoors and the other half on office work,” says Alice.
To get to grips with the management side of the industry, Alice has won a place at the Queenstown Resort College in 2017.
Right now though, she’s gaining as much hands-on knowledge about what it takes to provide a first class service to visitors.
Along with three others in her tight knit team, Alice is quickly working towards gaining a ServiceIQ New Zealand Certificate in Retail (Level 2) qualification. The training programme is completed on-job where she can immediately apply new skills and know-how.
One important lesson she has learned is that first impressions really do count, says Alice. Especially when you need to gain trust and help calm nervous customers who travel thousands of miles to experience the thrilling ride.
“I now make an effort to have a tidy uniform, a smile on my face and that I greet customers warmly. It’s become an automatic part of my job,” says Alice.
“Adventure tourism is not a walk in the park. It’s both scary and thrilling. I put myself in our customers’ shoes and think of how I would like to be served. Our jet boat ride can seem overwhelming when you haven’t done it before, so we need to be able to look customers in the eye, and be positive and reassuring to help put them at ease.”
The customer services role at Hukafalls Jet involves a wide range of responsibilities; from organising tour groups, managing the cash register, prepping the boats, kitting out customers with lifejackets, taking photographs, and taking care of all kinds of visitors from around the world.
“It’s very interesting. You really learn a lot about different cultures and their different expectations of the service we provide,” says Alice. “Sometimes it’s a challenge, but I’m learning all the time.
“I love everything about the job at Hukafalls Jet. There’s not one day I’ve not wanted to go to work.”