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How To Successfully Reopen Your Motel After Lockdown

As New Zealand stepped into 2021 with lighter travel and tourism restrictions the hospitality industry started making a strong comeback from the COVID-19 forced shutdowns. On August 17th, the Delta variant was detected causing the entire country to be put back in alert Level 4 - the highest lockdown level - for two weeks. Thanks to the swift action taken by the government and the Kiwi can-do attitude the Auckland region has moved to Alert Level 3 while the rest of the country is in Level 2.

With the economy beginning its recovery domestic flights are operating again and tourism picking up which means you may be reopening your motel soon. Reopening after a COVID shutdown presents unique challenges for owners and operators. From ensuring employees and guests are kept safe to making sure appliances and equipment are working properly, it’s essential to do your due diligence before opening the doors. For some, this may be the first time you are preparing to reopen, for others it might be the second or third time.

To make life easy and eliminate the challenges we’ve put together our Six Game-Changing Business Tips to help you reopen successfully after lockdown:

1. Qualmark Safety & Prevention Certification (Free)

Qualmark is New Zealand tourism’s official quality assurance organisation, providing a trusted guide to quality travel experiences in New Zealand.

The Free COVID Clean Approved Certification is a self-assessment tool that allows you to work through a series of questions compiled by Qualmark on COVID-19 related topics that are relevant to your operations processes, customer interaction and staff wellbeing.

The Qualmark certification is a recognised and trusted sign of a quality travel experience; the COVID Clean Approved assessment has been designed to complement the high standard this award represents. By completing this certification, it communicates to both staff and visitors that your motel is aware of and working to take measures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. 


2. The Ultimate TouchPoint Checklist

Restarting operations after a shutdown introduces unique issues. So, it’s not uncommon for motel owners to face certain challenges and risks when reopening. To give motel owners the best chances of success it’s important to review your business continuity plan and make adjustments to include the Ministry of Health COVID-19 recommendations.

To ensure your new operating policies and standards are easily met our team of experts have created The UltimateTouchPoint Checklist. The term ‘touch point’ describes a part of your building that is commonly shared by staff and guests, such as door handles, light switches, washrooms, Eftpos terminals and the like. This checklist is a vital tool in giving your establishment consistency and meeting compliance across the board. Demonstrating proactiveness in this regard will not just keep people safe but take your reputation a long way in the travel community.


3. Equipment & Appliance Maintenance Checklist

There are a million things to think about when reopening your business, and no two motels will operate exactly the same. There’s much to be done, but don’t rush too quickly. Take some time to consider what you need and what can be done to create a superior guest experience.

A guest’s room is the heart of the operation and a good place to start. In order to deliver a flawless experience checking the equipment and appliances is crucial. To help Motel Operators, Owners, and team members guarantee everything is in working order we’ve created the Motel Equipment & Appliance Maintenance Checklist. It’s a great guide to ensure nothing is missed, and it also notifies you of when something needs to be repaired or replaced so your guests can have a flawless stay.


4. Need Financial Help To Reopen & Stay Afloat?

To make your journey as a motel operator as rewarding as possible you need to be prepared and you need to understand every aspect of running this type of business. If you don’t get things right at the kick-off, reopening after a shutdown can be hard work. Of course, there are always challenges along the way, not least of which will be your competitors and the ever-changing attitudes of consumers. Another will be the capital you need to stay afloat.

With so much uncertainty during this time Work and Income is offering a Government Wage Subsidy Scheme, which is focused on financially supporting businesses during the COVID pandemic. The scheme has been recently updated to cope with the re-introduction of restrictions. There is now an Extended Wage Subsidy as well as a Resurgence Wage Subsidy.

To give you some peace of mind visit the Work & Income Website to learn more about the application process.


5. How To Improve Team Effectiveness

Leading and managing highly effective teams is more challenging than ever before. Service is all about people – this is a basic fact that will remain so despite the many changes brought on by the post-COVID-19 world. In order for your motel to provide a superior guest experience here are some simple ways to improve team effectiveness:

  • Ensure Alignment and Buy-in:
    As you set out to create new strategic goals and initiatives in preparation to reopen it’s important you get buy-in from your staff and encourage participation. In order to achieve alignment across the team let their voices be heard otherwise, the battle cannot be won.

  • Clarify Goals, Roles, and Responsibilities:
    Many motels have and are changing their operational processes to comply with the COVID-19 guidelines. As you plan your reopening ensure that everyone on the team understands their responsibilities, accountabilities, and how their job functions align with achieving success for your business.

  • Develop People and Teams:
    Great customer service starts with Great Training! Businesses that find ways to prioritise training and development retain employees longer, deliver greater service, delight guests and generate healthier profit margins than companies who do the bare minimum.
6. Workplace Wellness Results In Increased Productivity

The conversation around workplace wellness has expanded dramatically as the economy has been dealing with the pandemic. Whilst preparing for your reopening there’s nothing more important than the well-being of your staff. A recent survey reveals that over 70% of employees globally suffer from work stress or a chronic health condition. This has resulted in an astounding 35% productivity loss for businesses. Creating a healthier and happier workplace will help reduce this productivity loss, improve employee morale, lower absenteeism and increase your retention rate.

No matter where you’re at in your motel ownership journey we hope these Top Tips help arm your business with the tools to address the unique reopening challenges the pandemic presents.

As the industry’s premier supply partner, we understand it takes precise planning, smart budgeting and lots of energy to fulfil all of your guest's needs. If you have any questions about how your staff can deliver exceptional service within the parameters of COVID restrictions we’d love to hear from you.

We are always eager to share our expertise to ensure your guests are dazzled and delighted when you reopen.


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About the author

Sabrina Justen

Sabrina is a seasoned digital marketing manager with 10+ years of B2B & B2C experience in the tech and SaaS space. She is focused on building and implementing strategies that innovate, create awareness, and generate demand. Sabrina executes brand/product development through strategic alignment, passion, resolute focus, and inspired teams.