TFE shifts shape to ride out COVID’s impact
—– Emerging stronger through evolution
The capacity for many hotel businesses to pivot on the fly in recent months has been an impressive showing of resilience.
As humans, we’re wired to adapt. And although the current pandemic has created unimaginable hardship, countless accommodation businesses have displayed their ability to evolve and challenge norms in the face of never-before-seen circumstances.
TFE (Toga Far East) Hotels is one such example.
Innovating alongside the community
When visitor numbers first began to decrease due to travel lockdowns, the TFE team actively pursued a range of new business streams and revenue opportunities that were not apparent previously.
Working closely with Australia’s various State Governments on industry recovery programs, they have overseen mandated self-isolation and emergency accommodation guests in selected hotels, and were conscious of continually adjusting their strategies, introducing agile offerings like their Adina Apartment offices, Day Use and Long Stay products to market.
The team also pitched in alongside The Department of Communities and Justice, and their charity partners, offering low-rate emergency accommodation rooms for homeless Australians, as well as for domestic violence survivors doing it tough throughout the pandemic.
Keeping teams in motion for a long game win
From the outset, a key focus of the group has been to do everything they can to keep their staff on the job, so that they, in turn, can continue to support their families and dependents.
For TFE and from a business perspective, the positive byproducts of the additional training have ultimately been a more skilled and effective team, as well as greater efficiencies.
Commenting on the decision to invest in their staff from the beginning, Amanda Hoolihan, Director of Revenue at TFE Hotels, says, “It’s something we’re very proud of, and the collective effort and determination of the team to focus on ensuring constant improvement at this time has been nothing short of remarkable. Through our TFE TEAM HUB we’ve provided the extended TFE family (past, present and future) with the opportunity for professional development, and this has been bundled with employment resources and wellness options, which have been an important part of ensuring that this time has been both as positive and productive as it can be.”
Reimagining guest communication
As well as being focused on closely supporting their hotel owners and partners, it quickly became apparent that there was also a need for the team to become even more customer-centric.
One part of this process has been the launch of “The Daily Edition” newsletter, created within 48 hours of the group receiving their first quarantined guests. Including puzzles, small-space exercise routines and ideas to amuse the kids, it’s an appreciated token of support to those in isolation.
Speaking of its success, Amanda recalls a special contributor that appeared swiftly following the publication’s inception. “After our first issue, we were approached by Dr Sue, a psychologist isolating on level 5 of one of our Sydney Travelodge Hotels to tell us what a terrific job we were doing. From there, Sue ended up penning a daily column dubbed ‘From the Fifth Floor’ in the newsletter during her stay with us, offering a unique insight into what it was like to isolate, alongside tips on how to maintain mental strength through the process. And, now she’s back at home, she continues to stay in touch and provide valuable info for our iso guests.”
Beyond the newsletter, TFE also created Content Boost, a virtual concierge of activities and inspiration aimed at bringing the outside, inside for guests who may be isolating.
With the worst impacts of the coronavirus now in the past, the TFE team is feeling increasingly optimistic about the months ahead, and has been pleased to see their recent guests feeling confident in their Clean Touch brand. In a time that has brought many left-field learnings and quick-fire changes, the goals that have driven each of their decisions have remained firmly fixed. Those goals are to, firstly, ensure the well-being and personal growth of the TFE team long-term, and, as importantly, deliver the best possible experiences for guests – in whatever form they may take.
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