A skydiving company hit hard by Covid is now thriving with a jump in bookings and a prestigious business award.
Auckland Skydive relied on the tourist market for around 66 per cent of its revenue pre-Covid so needed to change its approach quickly when the pandemic closed borders.
During lockdown the marketing and management team went to work securing partnerships with charities that also had their income affected, pushing out deals through social media and focusing on the captive local market.
The success was rewarded with the Supreme Award at the Westpac Auckland Business Awards in October.
The Skydive Auckland team also picked up the Excellence in Marketing Award at the Gala Dinner.
"The award included the time of Covid which was huge for us," Fiona McLaren said.
"We didn't think Covid would have quite the impact it did but it was huge and we had to adjust quickly."
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The adventure tourism operator, based at Parakai Airport, offers the highest tandem skydive in the Southern Hemisphere, at 20,000 feet.
When Covid hit and adventure tourism went into freefall the Skydive Auckland team changed strategy and increased cash flow launching several campaigns and creating buy now, jump later deals.
It also worked with hard-hit charities and formed campaigns such as the Mercy Hospice Leap For Life, Red Cross NZ Jump! and the SPCA Jump to the Rescue, 2020.
"We are a business but we are also passionate about helping others and seeing others do well through the experience a skydive can offer," McLaren said.
"Covid gave us a chance to really look at our company and make some changes and improve things.
"We are Trax endorsed which means we have special harnesses and can easily take people who are paralysed up in our planes to experience skydiving."
"We don't think people should miss out because of different abilities."
Skydive Auckland had seen a spike in people wanting to do the 20,000-foot jump since Covid-19.
The jump is the highest in the Southern Hemisphere and gives views as far as Mt Taranaki.
"People are really passionate about getting out and having these experiences and doing it with their family," McLaren said.
"We have had an increase in the number of people bringing the family out and have just had someone jump with their 97-year-old dad."
McLaren said Covid-19 had changed people's view on life.
"From what people have told us they want to make sure they are doing the things they have always wanted to do.
"There is a real feeling of not waiting and making the most of what we have here."
Skydive Auckland also runs the New Zealand Skydiving School.
The school offers the New Zealand diploma in commercial skydiving, the only qualification of its kind in the world.
McLaren said the school kept operating online during lockdown and is hopeful overseas students will be able to return at some stage next year.
Auckland Business Chamber chief executive Michael Barnett said Auckland Skydive was an example of how businesses could adapt and thrive in unusual times.
"They have used the awards in the past to challenge their plan and direction and have been successful," he said.
"This is a story of belief and an ability to adapt and they have been rewarded with the Supreme Business Excellence Award."