Like many members we have talked with, Dorothy Barclay, Director of Forrest Hotel and Apartments is the first to admit 2020 has been a challenging time, “This has been an interesting year, to say the least. We have been focusing on putting one foot in front of the other.”
But Dorothy does credit the Apartment’s swift undertaking of the COVID Clean modules as a positive for the business. The module guided them through what was required, and how to keep staff and customers safe. “We are doing everything to make sure people are safe. We want our customers to be able to arrive and relax when they stay, because they know we have everything covered.”
Forrest Hotel and Apartments went one step further and have featured their devotion to COVID Clean in their website content. “Putting COVID messaging at the forefront of our website has been helpful, because that’s what people are looking for, assurance that we are doing the right thing,” Dorothy said. “I would encourage all businesses to get online and do the COVID Clean course. It has been very well recognised by our customers and given us credibility.”
Dorothy commended the Forrest Hotel and Apartments team for their dedication through a tough period, “Our staff have been absolutely amazing, outstanding. Everyone has worked together as a team and has been able to adapt to new circumstances. Staff is something customers often highlight in positive reviews; they really feel cared for by the team.”
The business has not been entirely unaffected. Their restaurant, Sherwood Restaurant has had to close temporarily, but Dorothy says the business is aiming for a September reopening date. Cliental checking into the hotel has also changed, with more customers now being local, taking a night away for a special occasion, to work online, or a well-earned staycation.
Dorothy is encouraging all locals to get out and about in the Capital. She is a big advocate of our corner of Australia and has been enjoying getting back into nature after long stints staying indoors earlier in the year. “Canberra is such a great place for nature-based tourism; it is a main reason why visitors are in town.”
For any members that need help, Dorothy wants to remind Canberra business and tourism operators that there are support networks out there. Dorothy is a big advocate of tourism support bodies, as the current President of Skal International Canberra, a professional organisation of tourism leaders, promoting global tourism and friendship.
“I think Canberra as a community has been really supportive of each other; we have been hard hit by 2020. The support we have been given by organisations such as the NCAA, Australian Hotels Association and Visit Canberra has been invaluable. If you need help or advice, reach out to those organisations, they are there to help. It has been lovely to receive their support.”