At RoomRaccoon we not only have a big heart for the Hospitality Industry, some of our Raccoons have accommodations themselves. Just like our Portuguese country manager Maria. Read more about her experience as a Hostel owner during these crazy times.
Like most tourist accommodations around the world, Blue Coast Hostel was confronted with the consequences of this pandemic. These have been moments of fear and uncertainty for the future, but also of reflection on how we can go through such a situation, and recover from it as soon as possible.
I will not lie. Of course we are scared and of course we are scared by all this. After all, we have been affected by cancellations, absences from reservations and expenses are still there to be paid. But we are also sure that if we surrender to negative thoughts, the consequences will be worse and probably lethal for our business.
Given the current situation, we must maintain a spirit of resilience, creativity and also solidarity with others. After all, if we help each other, the overall recovery of the whole community will be easier.
For this reason, the first step we took (and believe me it was very difficult) was to close our doors and block availability to the end of April. Stopping the spread of the virus and above all protecting the health of the whole team was at the heart of this decision making. But we did not stop there.
Being part of a community we felt that we should do something that would in some way contribute to fight this battle that we are facing. And so, looking at the current landscape, we decided to put our Hostel at the disposal of those who fight on the front line. Blue Coast Hostel has been available since the beginning of March for forced quarantine situations to all health and safety authorities, in partnership with the entities that manage this kind of situation. After all, if each one of us takes part, the route will be easier to travel.
Secondly, we have tried to put the present in perspective and to analyse the lack of revenue in view of the expenses that remain to be paid. This way we can make decisions about what we should or can cut at this stage so that we stay active and ready for recovery. Let us also look at the support that the government puts at the disposal of companies as a lever for the economy of each one, and consequently of the country. One thing we know for sure: we would keep our STAFF and work on all the initiatives that would promote our recovery as quickly as possible. The time has come to think 'out of the box'. Above all, answer the question: What can we do differently?
These were some of the decisions:
- To ask for access to all support that was in line with our needs and to plan the investment of support. We consulted our accountant, banks and some associations of which we are a part to outline the best possible plan.
- Deal with the cancellations that have arisen in catapult, in a strategic way that would make us keep as much revenue as possible. We contacted each one of them asking if they wanted to return the money or issue a voucher that would allow them to enjoy the experience at future dates. Some positive results have emerged from this initiative.
- We added Discount Codes, in all cancellation confirmation messages, so that people could book with us directly in the future (avoiding the commissions paid to OTAs)
- Planning of strategic communication campaigns on different platforms, such as special focus on social networks. After all, people are at home, tired of this situation and dream of better times. Let's keep people in our heads for future reservations. And in this follow-up, we will force ourselves into national tourism, this being the one that we will probably have recovered in a shorter period of time.
- Creating Smoother Cancellation Policies that give people the security to make future reservations.
And all this only in this first phase. We are at home, we have time, why not invest in work that encourages our fastest recovery? It's time to fight and not wait for the worst-case scenario.
And truth be told: the rate of reserves is much lower than normal, but it's not at 0 either. People have responded positively to these initiatives, and we are receiving reserves, proving that if we work it's possible, if we work we will recover!