Key to any team around a family business is a shared appreciation for the values that are inherent to those raised within the bloodline, which makes the rigorous process of hiring a CEO for a family-run brand exponentially more important.

Thankfully, Olivia and Miranda Jacobs – Directors of Waterside Holiday Group, working alongside their sister Claire and mother Judith – have been well-attuned to the values held so dear by their late father. The sense of connection and care from both staff and visitors to the park has been so vital to the warm, welcoming atmosphere at each of their parks.

Joining us on this week’s episode of It Runs In The Family, the duo discuss how they’ve nurtured this long-lasting culture, the steep learning curve that they overcame with the sudden involvement with the business, and the strong sense of pride that’s driven them every step of the way.

This episode covers:
● Finding top staff that exude your family values
● The history and progression of Waterside’s parks from their humble beginnings
● Handling sudden responsibility & a steep learning curve
● The sense of parental pride that drives so many family businesses, even when they’re no longer with us
● Carefully creating a noble legacy to hand down

Episode Highlights

“Our dad died very suddenly, which was a great shock to the family, and we weren’t in any way ready. He was about to start inducting us into the business, we’d had one big meeting, then he got ill. We were thrust into it quite suddenly, and we were mourning too. I’m not sure I had something to prove to anyone other than my dad, really. I was going ‘Yes dad, I’m going to make you proud’, and that still pushes me today.” – 5:40 – Miranda Jacobs

“We are putting our own stamp on it, but with a view to the generations. It’s so important to us that those values – and I think it comes down to values – carry on through, and we are heavily inducting our children into those values. They are smothered in it!” – 9:10 – Miranda Jacobs

“Our first big appointment was our new CEO, who came from many, many years in leisure. He is terrific. What we really liked about him in the interview and what shone -apart from his brilliant abilities and knowledge of the holiday home industry, which we needed as we knew very little – his values are very similar to ours.” – 16:30 – Miranda Jacobs

“We have some gut instincts, I like to think, and in the end the decisions have to feel right. But we are backed up now by a huge amount of data. Data is a hugely, hugely important part of what we do, and helps us make the decisions about growth.” – 20:50 – Miranda Jacobs

“Some of our owners have been on-park for 40+ years, and they talk about when they came with their parents, and then now they’re bringing their children and it’ll even be their grandchildren soon. It’s an amazing feeling to hear that warmth of connection, and long may it continue.” – 25:40 – Olivia Jacobs

“We have become television addicts, screen addicts, and it’s so nice to see kids playing in the playground, and three generations of the family all uniting together, doing things together and being active together.” – 41:15 – Olivia Jacobs

“The first thing we said was that if we find that this is getting in the way of our relationship with each other, then we will sell it, because the business is not as
important as our relationship. That’s underneath everything we do.” – 49:10 – Miranda Jacobs

“Something we learned from that study of our characters is that I am not big on regrets. If I’ve made a mistake, I’m quite good at moving on. I think it’s usually a
positive thing.” – 1:01:26 – Miranda Jacobs

Listen to this podcast episode on Apple, Spotify, Google or Amazon