Novotel Queenstown Lakeside General Manager
Let’s be honest, 2020 has been an incredibly difficult year. There’s no sugar-coating it. With international travel, and at times domestic travel, restricted or even banned for lengthy periods, it’s safe to say that the hospitality industry has felt the full brunt of this unprecedented global event.
However, there appears to be some light at the end of the tunnel with New Zealand at Alert Level 1.
Jim Moore, General Manager at Novotel Queenstown Lakeside, says New Zealanders are craving that holiday feeling, so there’s a big push to play in our own backyard.
Once the international travel opens up, the floodgates will also open. “We feel that there will be pent up demand to travel and New Zealand should be seen, even more than previously, as a relatively safe place to come,” he says.
Jim says Novotel normally caters to a large international leisure-based market – approximately 25-30% comes from the domestic sector.
“New Zealanders don’t see themselves as tourists when they travel within the country, but we hope that they will use this time to experience all the magical places that our international guests do and make the most of the fact that there could not be a better time to see their own country.”
Another promising sign is the steep decline in hotel occupancy rates across the country. Collier’s New Zealand’s Hotel Market Snapshot for Q3 shows hotel occupancy has recorded an improved third quarter performance following historic lows earlier this year. Another encouraging sign is all key markets in the country recording a significant increase in domestic guest nights in Q3 this year over the same period in 2019.
The tide is turning from New Zealand being just an origin point to now the destination. So how do you attract these first-time travellers & turn them into lifetime guests?
“Running a hotel is no big thing – it’s thousands of small things that makes the difference. The large hotel chains are consolidating and getting bigger. Scale and loyalty make a difference, but [particularly for locals] we need to give individual, personalised experiences,” says Jim.
“It’s not what we say and do, it’s how we make people feel that counts. Plus, there needs to be an importance placed on health and safety to ensure guests feel safe and sound. That includes a hotel bed & bedding.
It’s essential to go that extra mile and include hotel bed accessories such as hypoallergenic quilts and pillows, mattress and pillow protectors and anti-allergy sheet sets. Also, keeping up with the latest hotel cleanliness standards shows just how much a hotel cares about the health and safety of its guests.
Novotel recently introduced AccorHotels ALLSAFE global cleanliness & prevention standards. They’ve been developed and vetted by Bureau Veritas, a world leader in testing, inspections and certification.
- Strict cleanliness standards implemented and monitored across all Accor hotels
- A reinforced cleaning program with frequent disinfection of all high-touch areas
- Regular deep cleaning of upholstery and carpets, with bedding washed at high temperatures
- New comprehensive safety & hygiene training program for all employees
- New guest contact measures and government specified social distancing
- Individual sanitiser as well as wipes and masks available at all guest touchpoints
- Guest temperature checks, disinfectant mats and partition protocols
- Enhanced food safety standards
Jim’s been managing hotels around New Zealand for more than 35 years and spent time in the UK where he’s had to adapt to a multitude of guest requirements. COVID is another huge challenge for the tourism sector to navigate in order to ensure guests enjoy an unforgettable experience.
“Like most businesses, we’ve had to change operations within the hotel, while allowing enough flexibility to look after guests. And ensuring guests and staff feel safe now and into the future is a huge part of that,” he says.