Accommodating the challenge of COVID-19

Updated: Oct 21, 2020

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.

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