When it was clear that Holiday Inn Resort Bali Benoa in Indonesia could no longer stay open as international arrivals were shut out and local infections alongside intensifying movement restrictions strangled domestic travel possibilities, a decision was made to temporarily close the hotel on July 7, 2020.
According to Carol Waller, hotel general manager and area general manager of Holiday Inn Resorts Indonesia, the hardest part of that decision was breaking the news to the team.
“Many of our colleagues had to source for alternative income,” she recalled.
For the few who stayed, they were tasked with keeping the resort neat and clean. Waller was determined to keep the team “busy, motivated, and healthy” during those challenging times. Thus, she prescribed a range of activities.
“We had sharing sessions over lunch every Tuesday in our beachfront restaurant, where all team members talked about their daily life and business ideas. We made time for fun and games. Yoga every Thursday was hosted by one of our talented team members, and handicraft workshops were held by management to teach team members new skills,” shared Waller.
“You will be amazed at how our team members used this time to develop their entrepreneurial instinct as well; many of them started their own home business.”
Effort was made to support the local community and displaced staff through donations.
“Together we learnt to make the most out of the present moment and always try to see the bright side of this situation. It wasn’t easy but we made it!” she said.
By December 2021, a decision was made to work towards a reopening on April 1, 2022.
Waller said: “This decision was taken after observing and monitoring the progress of the pandemic situation globally. After seeing green signs, the ratio of vaccination, our neighbouring countries reopening again, we brainstormed with our stakeholders and we felt it was the right time.
“The preparation was pretty simple. We treated it as a brand-new hotel opening – recruitment, implementation of IHG Way of Clean, Covid-19 education, health and safety training for the team members, and trial stays. We also re-connected with all our missed guests, media friends and the local community.”
At press time, Holiday Inn Resort Bali Benoa is almost back to normal operations. One of the restaurants is now receiving diners, and a second will be put back to business as soon as demand surfaces.
“This is the time all of us have been waiting for, to be able to travel again, to be able to create memories with our loved ones again, to explore, and to experience new things,” said Waller excitedly, adding that efforts have been made to ensure the hotel is bookable and visible in all channels, including social media.
In addition, the hotel is strumming up its family-friendly draws, such as the sought-after family suite and Kids Stay and Eat Free programme, as well as health and safety assurances to win over guests.
The hotel’s reopening on April 1 coincides with its seventh anniversary, and for that guests can enjoy a buy-seven-nights-get-seven-nights-free offer.