‘Dream holiday deliverer’ might be a better job title for Wilderness Motorhomes’ Claudia Schoushkoff, rather than ‘Reservations Manager’.
For the past eight years, Claudia has dedicated herself to ensuring that those travelling with Wilderness get the New Zealand holiday experience they have always imagined.
Her love affair with New Zealand began in her home country of Germany, when she took a job with Air New Zealand following her tourism studies. Part of her role was to bring wholesale travel agents to New Zealand to show them the sights and introduce them to local tourism companies. Wanting to spend more time in New Zealand, Claudia arrived in 2010 to work and soon spotted an ad for a sales and customer service representative at a new company called Wilderness Motorhomes. She joined the company around six months after it was founded and now leads the Reservations team.
More than customers
At Wilderness, the team uses the term ‘guest’ rather than ‘customer’, as part of our commitment to helping create a holiday experience, rather than simply renting out a motorhome. Claudia says her team reinvents their role and responsibilities almost every day. “By opening our minds to doing things differently we can make a difference to people who are just searching for someone who cares, to help deliver their dream holiday… where they know they’re not just a number.”
She says they aim to create a positive relationship with guests from the moment they first get in touch, and that means prompt, personal answers. “We know how time critical it is to be able to have a conversation rather than waiting on email correspondence that takes five days to complete. With every opportunity we pick up the phone and we ask them: ‘What does your dream holiday look like? What are the things that are most important to you?’ And there aren’t many motorhome rental companies out there who care about that. It’s more about ‘how many people are travelling and where do you want to go to and from?’”
A tailored holiday experience
“We’re all about what’s important to the guests and then tailoring the experience around that. We’re delivering an experience, sometimes a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and we want to deliver the best holiday in the world. And it comes from a different way of thinking, rather than just offering a service.”
And while for some a Wilderness holiday is their once-in-a-lifetime holiday, for others it’s a regular treat and Claudia admits some clients are coming back for their tenth visit – “… and by then we know a lot about them!” In fact, nearly a quarter of Wilderness bookings are from returning customers, a significant figure in the motorhome rental industry and one that shows how well Claudia and her team are delivering those dream holidays.
Claudia’s top tip
Call Wilderness before you book your flights.
This helps with checking availability of motorhomes during your travel dates and can also affect the price, if you’re open to travelling south to north. “Usually people book to arrive in Auckland and leave from Christchurch,” says Claudia. “It means that we have quite an imbalance in the fleet and so our prices going Auckland to Christchurch are $20-$30 a day more expensive than if they were to travel in the other direction. There’s no disadvantage to travelling the other way, but we can’t help them get the most out of their holiday if those flight elements are already pre-arranged.”
Claudia’s favourite motorhome spot
“I call it ‘Where heaven meets Earth’. There’s the DOC (Department of Conservation) campground right at the beach and you park the motorhome, put the camping chairs out and it’s just fantastic for views, swimming and relaxing. There’s a gravel road that leads up to it and many other rental companies won’t let you drive that in your motorhome, but we do. We really are all about showing people the best places in the country, and that’s one of them.”
Visit our contact page to talk to Claudia and the team about planning your dream New Zealand motorhome holiday. You can contact us by email, Skype, phone or live chat on our website.