Ocean Exmouth: "We want to give our customers a fabulous experience"
PUBLISHED: 11:37 02 August 2019 | UPDATED: 11:37 02 August 2019
A plaque on the wall at Ocean Exmouth reads: "Our Vision: To give our customers, young and old, a fabulous experience. To dare to be different. To always exceed expectations."
This was not dreamed up by a marketing expert. The 'vision' was a joint effort by Ocean's team, after manager Justin Moore challenged them to come up with a few words describing the way they see Ocean, and the way they work.
Ocean Exmouth is a premier family entertainment centre in a stunning location on the sea front. Its bars and restaurants have beautiful views, especially the terrace on the top floor - a popular place for watching the sunset. It is also the only place of its kind in the area, offering everything a family needs on a day out, all under one roof.
Keeping children of different ages entertained can be difficult. Small children are too young for activities that appeal to their older brothers and sisters, becoming bored or disruptive. But teenagers cannot be expected to enjoy activities they have grown out of - and why should they? The solution is to provide different options, close together, so that everyone can enjoy themselves and the parents can relax nearby with a coffee or a drink, enjoying the view.
For the younger children, Ocean has a huge, multi-level soft play area, with a separate section for toddlers. Children can climb and clamber, bounce around and go down slides, with no danger of hurting themselves if they fall. Ocean also employs a team to help entertain them. One of them, Molly Tokens, explains that her working day basically consists of playing: "We do games, we have a disco, we dance with them, we have a free kids' club." Adjoining the soft play zone is a café area, looking out on to the beach.
For older children and teenagers, Ocean's 10-pin bowling alley is right up their street. It was the first of its kind in the south west, with exciting coloured lighting and video projections. There are several games and challenges, for individuals or groups playing in teams. Ocean also has a separate area with arcade games and video games.
When it comes to eating and drinking, there is plenty of choice. The Deck restaurant offers a range of snacks, light bites and more substantial dishes, to be enjoyed along with the beautiful view from the first floor of the building. Breakfast, as well as lunch, is available there. The Engine Room is Ocean's newly-refurbished downstairs restaurant, with a range of bar-style food including vegetarian and vegan options. It is gaining a good reputation for its burgers, made from locally produced meat. Dogs are welcome in the Engine Room - there is even a range of drinks for them.
Manager Justin Moore is keen to emphasise that Ocean is not primarily a tourist attraction, even though it is popular with visitors. "It's not just for holidaymakers, it's something with local residents in mind." He explained that the regular free jazz nights became so popular, and overcrowded, that Ocean organised extra sessions. A regular comedy club will start in September, "because local people asked for it," Justin explained, and Ocean is planning a big New Year's Eve party.
Ocean is open every day except Christmas Day, and employs a team of 60 people, some of them part-time. Justin believes having the right people working there is key to giving customers what they want. "The service from this team is very honest," he said. "They really care about what they're doing."
Thom Dodd, a duty manager, thinks the 'customer experience' at Ocean is also good because the team genuinely enjoy working there. "It's got stunning views, and it's just a pleasant place to work," he said.