BEHIND THE SCENES OF SCENIC WORLD AND THE SYDNEY BRIDGE CLIMB
Welcoming more than one million visitors annually, Scenic World is the most visited privately-owned tourism attraction in Australia. A third-generation, family-owned business in the Blue Mountains, its parent company, Hammons Holdings, was recently selected to run Sydney’s iconic BridgeClimb.
Here, we caught up with brother and sister partnership David and Anthea Hammon to discover more about how their fascinating business works.
At 41, I’m the older brother of Anthea who’s 38. I always wanted to work at Scenic World, but I don’t think I expected to work with Anthea. But it’s worked out well. Especially because we’re both passionate about creating exceptional experiences – for our guests and our employees.
Our shared values are an extension of our complementary skill sets; Anthea is a mechanical engineer and I am an accountant/economist. So we’re always trying to achieve the same objective. And we definitely have a unified sense of direction, which we have realised now over many years of working together.
I think as a family business it’s important not to try and do everything yourself though. Hire and surround yourself with skilled professionals; their insight and diversity of expertise will be worth the investment. You know you have the right people in the room when you feel like the dumbest person at the table. I love that feeling.
I oversee the day-to-day management and operations of Scenic World as the managing director. I also sit on the board of Hammons Holdings, where I oversee the strategy of the broader Hammons Holdings Group.
It’s definitely come as a surprise that I’ve ended up working with David. We didn’t always get along when we were younger, so it’s not something I envisaged. But it’s been great and we are continually learning from each other.
Of course working with family can sometimes be tricky. For example, David has amazing ideas that he is really passionate about, but they’re not necessarily the most practical. But, we always work well together to workshop them and find solutions that have the right balance.
My tip for family businesses would be to take the time to consider and invest in succession planning at the business and the family level. All too often this is left to the wayside and causes much frustration and heartache when things don’t go to plan.
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