Where is the last place you travelled?
Hawaii, Shanghai and Hong Kong.
Besides your passport, what’s one thing you always take with you on your travels?
A positive and patient, open mind as well as clothes to run in and work out.
Why did you take up the role at Sage Adelaide?
The role allows me to oversee and manage three hotels adjacent to one another: Sage Hotel Adelaide, the Chifley and the South Terrace Motel.
What is exciting for me is that we are about to embark on a major renovation which will enhance our value proposition to guests. They will be able to enjoy modern interiors throughout the development with improved facilities. I have previously managed major renovations and hotel openings in the USA and it will help me in fulfilling the owner’s vision and steering the project.
I was also drawn to Next Story Group’s vision and culture which is centred on its core values of Passion, Accountability, Integrity and Respect. Leading a team that has a common purpose and shared values means that the team is more inclusive and collaborative, and this helps to cement loyalty and commitment.
Tell us one thing that’s coming up around the hotel/hotel group that’s really got you excited.
The easing of restrictions is great news for the hospitality industry and for our hotels.
Our team has been prepping for this in the past few months of lockdown and they are more than eager to start welcoming guests back to our hotel. They have developed creative packages with experiential activities and partnering with local wineries from the Adelaide Hills as well as other local businesses in and around the Parklands that will help to enhance our guest experience. We can’t wait to roll it out. Check out our stay packages at https://www.nexthotels.com/sage/adelaide/offers/
Tell us something people might not know about the hotel/hotel group?
Sage Hotel Adelaide has been an icon in this city with a heritage of 50 years. Our longest serving employee Yifan Bednikov has worked at the hotel for 36 years.
The total number of years of the six longest serving employees is 167 years with an average of 28 years between them.
There are 12 employees that have over 10 years of service. We have a very dedicated and committed team here at Sage Hotel Adelaide.
How has your hotel handled the COVID-19 crisis?
I started at the hotel on 16 March 2020 and had a couple of weeks operating as normal before the Covid-19 pandemic dealt a hard blow to the country. Before I even had a real chance to get to know my team, I had to talk to them about standing down. Thankfully, they were understanding and gracious.
We trimmed our costs and tapped into the JobKeeper wage subsidy to stay open with bare minimum staffing and our employees shared hours. We continued to fine-tune our operations, find efficiencies and try new ways of generating revenue.
We also worked with the South Australian Housing Authority to offer accommodation for some of the city’s homeless which we were happy to assist. In the past few weeks, we were encouraged by the gradual increase in occupancy. Right now, the team is filled with optimism and excitement as they welcome returning guests.
How do you see the hospitality landscape changing moving forward?
We need to get used to a new normal with a heightened and focused awareness of cleanliness, sanitation and hygiene.
Next Story Group has just launched its 'Safe With Us' programme, which is a comprehensive programme that redefines hygiene and cleanliness standards across all of the group’s properties. It allows us to welcome guests with confidence and it gives guests peace of mind when they stay with us.
As a result of the pandemic, we have to continue to innovate and do more with less and improve productivity while reducing expenses. A lot of business is now being conducted online and over video conferencing. This trend will continue as businesses realise the efficiencies of online conferencing.
Eventually, consumer confidence will improve and people will be more at ease with venturing out and travelling.
"We are social beings and we want to belong."
There is no replacement for human to human interactions. Business is always better when done in person - we will just need to be patient and be resilient as it takes time for our economy to bounce back.
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