For those in New Zealand’s accommodation sector, continuing to operate during the
Covid_19 outbreak has been incredibly challenging. Bookings for accommodation across the
country have taken a dive as international and domestic travellers cancel their travel plans.
Over the last few weeks the team at Lakeside Accommodation Taupō have been working
hard to keep up with the constantly evolving requirements.
For Elle Knight, owner of Lakeside Accommodation Taupō, it’s about focusing on the things
that are within her control. “For us the safety of our staff comes first. When we first heard
about the Covid_19 outbreak we put in place processes to protect our team, like staggered
starts and increased sanitation of our depot, vehicles, and high-touch areas like door
handles. We also contacted guests to let them know details about our cleaning measures,
and asked them to share details of their previous travel and exposure risk” says Elle.
Once New Zealand moved to Alert Level 4, Elle received a number of calls from those
looking for a place to self-isolate for the month and possibly longer. “We have been
educating tourists that they now can’t stay for a night or two - they need to set themselves
up in one place and stay put for the month. We’ve also talked with our property owners
about adjusting rates to make sure the price is more accessible for these longer stays” says
Elle is grateful that the outbreak has occurred at the end of a busy summer season, as it
means she has a little money in reserve to cover some initial costs. “We’ve received some
support from the government, but we’re still topping up wages for our staff. So far we’ve
been able to keep all our team employed, and have kept the communication flowing. It’s
really important that we keep them updated and let them know how much we value their
support. Our staff have all worked extremely hard this summer, showing us dedication and
loyalty. So it’s now up to us to offer them as much certainty as we can” says Elle.
Elle has some words of encouragement for others in the accommodation sector. “You are all
amazing! Keep looking for ways you can diversify and adapt your offering, and use the skills
of your team. Use this time to upskill so you’re ready when business starts up again - we all
need to work through this together” says Elle.