Well it’s that time of year again when I am invited to attend the Storage King conference to catch up on all that is going on in the kingdom. This year, Storage King decided to hold their conference in beautiful Fiji …and who am I to argue with such terrific logic!
This year saw us stay at the Intercontinental Hotel, which is about an hour south of Nadi (pronounced Nan-di), where the international airport is located. Fiji, for those who are not aware, is around 3 hours flying time from Brisbane and is a great place for a family holiday if you haven’t been! However, no holiday for me, as I have a packed schedule of meetings and conferencing ahead of me for the upcoming three days.
Today saw us settle into the hotel after a very loud bus trip through the Fijian countryside down what many thought was a secondary road (but turned out to be the main highway between Nadi and Suva, the capital of Fiji). Along the way, we were impressed by the greenery of the tropical landscape on either side of the highway.
Little villages would seem to pop up out of nowhere and kids from all ages would come out to wave to us in the bus. We were getting our first taste of a fantastic Fijian welcome. Arriving at the hotel, I was very surprised at how large it was and realised that the word “hotel” didn’t really cover it – it was more of a resort.
The Intercontinental Hotel in Fiji was spread over an area just shy of 100 acres and encompasses almost 1.5 km of beach frontage that is exclusively maintained for the guests at the resort.
With such a large resort there comes the challenge of getting around; which was solved by using golf carts. These were, at times, driven by a very enthusiastic driver from the resort. Trust me when I say that you need to hang on and keep your fingers inside – especially when passing another cart!
After finding our room and having a quick look around, we were invited for drinks and a traditional Fijian welcoming ceremony where Michael Tate, Storage King CEO, was made an honorary “Chieftain” in a very serious ceremony that involved drinking cava (pronounced Car-va). Afterwards, the local choir sing us a traditional welcome and I felt quite humbled that the Fijian people love having tourists to their island home.
Today saw us straight into the conference starting at 8:30am after a nice breakfast. The day was packed full of updates and performance stats from right across the kingdom and it was interesting to watch the Chieftain, Michael, give us all an update on where the business was after another year.
The afternoon saw us break into groups and head out to do some group activities. Many of us decided that they would participate in a working bee at the local school. “Local” being a relative term, as the bus ride was around an hour.
The bus had functioning air-conditioning – but only when it was moving… so we were advised to open our windows!
Arriving at the school some time later were 70 keen Kings and Queens who promptly got down to business renovating everything for around two hours. It’s amazing what can be done in a “140” human-hours!
The school buildings were painted, new lunch seats and tables were made, the garden was done over and the driveway spruced up. All in all, a very rewarding activity for all concerned and the impromptu game of footy afterwards certainly has some of us puffing and panting – those kids are fast!
The end of day 2 saw us all relaxing in the hotel main bar whilst watching a very entertaining State of Origin game that saw Queensland snatch the game from NSW by one point!
Day 3 started, as they always do, with a StorMan training session – and boy did I put the team through their paces this year! 2015 saw the creation of the “StorMan Survivor Challenge”, which was immensely popular with everyone. Josh Williams was the ultimate survivor and took home the trophy for this year for Storage King’s Hamilton and Maitland facilities – well done Josh!
We also had a number of presentations from both Storage King Staff and Industry suppliers which allowed a variety of viewpoints and new ideas to be disseminated. The culmination of the conference came on the evening of day 3 with the annual Storage King Awards Dinner. This saw some highly contested categories such as Manager of the Year and Facility of the Year battle it out. StorMan congratulates all the winners and all of them were definitely well deserved.
Thank you to all at Storage King who came and saw me on the trade show stand and participated in the StorMan Survivor Challenge. See you again next year!