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Choice Hotels Asia-Pacific franchises innovate during COVID-19

Choice Hotels Asia-Pacific franchises innovate during COVID-19
April 28, 2020

International franchise group, Choice Hotels Asia-Pacific, is supporting its franchises during COVID-19 outbreak, while property owners are implementing innovative, alternative experiences to ensure bookings and revenue momentum continues.

With many Australians adapting to the new normal of working from home, this change has not come without its complications and distractions. Several Choice Hotels Asia-Pacific properties across metro and regional Australia have rolled out a new “work-from-hotel" option for guests, which offers workers a sanctuary in which to work away from the dining room table, or interruptions from family.

Quality Suites Pioneer Sands in Towradgi, NSW; Comfort Inn & Suites Robertson Gardens in Brisbane; Comfort Resort Blue Pacific in Mackay; and Comfort Inn Aden Mudgee in NSW have all taken on this approach and a series of initiatives to support their guests during this challenging time.

Choice Hotels Asia-Pacific Chief Executive Trent Fraser said the impact that COVID-19 is having on the livelihood of franchisees is significant and the group is doing everything it can to support property owners and ultimately help mitigate the long-term impacts of this crisis.

“There’s no doubt the COVID-19 crisis has hit the hospitality industry hard and with many of our franchisees being small business owners we recognise they are hurting.

Fraser added “we appreciate the commitment that our hotel owners have to their staff, guests and communities, and we are taking action to support them with tools and resources to assist with daily operations, to help address issues impacting guests, and ultimately help a return to recovery as we move through this situation.

“Although these are tumultuous times, I’m particularly proud to see franchisees innovating and using their creativity to pivot their operations and experiences – out of these bleak times we are seeing our hoteliers more than ever strive to maintain a personal connection with their guests and communities.

Specific steps being put in place by Choice Hotels Asia-Pacific to support its franchisees include:

  • Suspending a variety of fees including reputation management fees and guest relations handling fees
  • Assisting franchisees in managing guest reservations and cancellations
  • Pausing quality assurance reviews
  • Suspending certain brand standards (for example, relaxing requirements around facilities like restaurants, pools, gyms, to comply with government regulations), creating more flexible options and moving deadlines to reflect the evolving environment
  • Providing guidance and best practices on crisis preparedness, including specific prevention procedures, proper disinfection protocols etc.

In Towradgi, NSW, Quality Suites Pioneer Sands has taken an approach similar to one used when booking corporate meetings packages, to fit the needs of those looking for a quiet and comfortable space to work. Guests can book a one-bedroom apartment complete with kitchen, lounge and dining, balcony, free underground parking, free Wi-Fi and printing for the following rates:

  • $85 - 10 hours including morning tea, lunch and a takeaway coffee
  • $65 - Six hours including morning tea and a takeaway coffee
  • $45 - Three hours including a takeaway coffee

In Brisbane, Comfort Inn & Suites Robertson Gardens is offering a daily rate of $69 between the hours of 8 am and 5 pm for workers. The package includes use of a room with unlimited Wi-Fi, work desk and phone, access to room service menu, printing and unlimited pod coffee. Located on a 10-acre property, guests can also walk through the beautiful gardens that surround the property, and remain within the social distancing guidelines – it is the perfect place to stimulate and refresh your mind during the workday.

In Mackay, Comfort Resort Blue Pacific (pictured above) is offering its studio units as an alternative office space for one week bookings for a rate of $450. Situated on the beachfront at Black Beach Mackay, this is another location perfect for those seeking some peace and quiet.

In addition to work-from-hotel offers, other properties, particularly those in regional areas, are looking outwardly to see how they can support community members. Comfort Inn Aden Mudgee, located in regional NSW, has turned its restaurant into a delivery service for seniors in the community, putting together cost effective meal deliveries for $8 each, in addition to offering grocery staples (bread, eggs, milk etc) for sale in partnership with local businesses.

For booking details or for more information, visit ChoiceHotels.com.au.

Images: Quality Suites Pioneer Sands Towradgi, NSW (top) and Comfort Resort Blue Pacific Mackay, Queensland. Courtesy of Choice Hotels Asia-Pacific (below).

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