Preno Zoom Diaries – Episode 1: John Smith from King Island Hotel

A resilient adaptation of a new market landscape and a positive outlook for the future

Since Covid-19 hit the world, the hospitality and tourism industries were some of those hit the hardest. Hotel operators have had to think of new and innovative ways to adjust to an almost travel-free world. 

Now, with borders beginning to open, and vaccines rolling out, accommodation operators are starting to be able to welcome more guests.

We interviewed our customer John Smith, owner of King Island Hotel (Tasmania, Australia), to take a look back to the start and see how he and his team adapted to the sudden onset of the pandemic, and the shift of target market focus from international guests to domestic and local visitors.

When Covid-19 hit King Island Hotel, like most accommodation providers, John and his team faced a huge drop in occupancy rates.

“We’ve gone from an 80% occupancy rate to less than 10%”, shared John.

Facing a 70% decrease in occupancy rates, paired with lockdowns and social distancing, it definitely wasn’t an easy transition, but with resilience and innovative ideas, John and his team reinvented their business model. King Island Hotel is now welcoming a large number of locals for dinners, drinks, functions and overnight stays.

“Having Covid, we had to sit down and re-evaluate ourselves. We basically went during Covid from 40 meals a day to 130 meals a day. I basically reinvented this offer and with that came all the different ideas.”

An inspiring reflection on times of unprecedented change, and a new business model to embrace different opportunities

If Covid-19 has taught us anything, it’s that, when we have no other choice but to adapt, we can think outside the box, and find new opportunities for business, previously unrecognised.

For King Island Hotel, this new opportunity was embracing change and shifting the focus to functions, dining, and takeaway meals – all elements that were previously not central to their business model.

Now, when international travel returns, John and his team will have a wealth of opportunities for business – and a new business model to fall back on, should Covid-19 (or something else) dramatically change the market landscape again.

“We can see that the confidence is growing, and I’m sure with the Trans-Tasman bubble that people would want to come to Australia.

We don’t envision changing anything we’ve put forward, we believe this now to be our model, we’re moving forward with it and just totally embracing it and trying to make it better.”


Full video transcript

“We’ve gone from an 80% occupancy rate to less than 10%”

“Hey, my name is John Smith, and I’m from the King Island Hotel”

“We’re only a small small hotel, we’ve only got 13 rooms. International tourism was quite big, with the majority of people coming to King Island from Mainland Australia.”

“We’ve gone from an 80% occupancy rate to less than 10%. Having Covid, we’ve had to sit down and re-evaluate ourselves,”

“I can’t have people staying here because of Covid, they’re not able to stay here. We weren’t allowed to serve alcohol across the bar or anything like that, so we thought about what’s happening and where we can grow, and this was food. So okay, we’ve expanded our meals and all that type of thing that we were doing. We started providing a delivery service, taking meals to them and we’ve been expanding our takeaways so they actually come in pick up a meal and take it home themselves. We’ve also expanded the kitchen hours and then, just recently, we’ve started doing in-house cooking for people if they’re having a function or something like that – we’ll provide some meals, cook it for them and everything to clean up.”

“We basically went, during Covid, from 40 meals a day, to 130 meals a day. I basically reinvented this offer, and with that came all these different ideas.” 

“We can see that the confidence is growing, and I’m sure with the Trans-Tasman bubble and all of these types of things, that people would want to come to Australia.”

“We don’t envision changing anything we’ve put forward, we believe this now to be our model, we’re moving forward with it and just totally embracing it and trying to make it better.”


Learn more about this property here: King Island Hotel case study.

Looking to make a change & grow your hotel business? Trial Preno for free.

Search Preno Blog

Explore our Topics

About the author

Preno's Content Marketer, Alix Dougherty, is educated in the Tourism field, so seeks to apply this knowledge to content that guides and inspires hoteliers. She is a passionate writer who enjoys creating content.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Other Blogs you may also like


Maximising Your Revenue: Dynamic Pricing Strategy For Airbnb

In the ever-evolving landscape of Airbnb hosting, staying ahead of the curve is crucial to maximising your earning potential. One way you can achieve this is by adopting a dynamic pricing strategy. This article will take you through the concept of dynamic pricing and how it can be utilised to increase your profits as an […]


How to Increase Your Bookings on Airbnb

Since its launch in 2008, Airbnb has seen a meteoric rise in the vacation rental industry. Over the years, the name of this platform has become almost synonymous with short-term vacation rentals. If we look at the rental infrastructure and business model of this platform, it is evident that Airbnb is not just a place […]


How To Sync Your Airbnb Calendar and Google Calendar

As a homeowner renting out your property on Airbnb, managing your bookings and appointments can be a challenging task. Integrating your Airbnb calendar with your Google Calendar can significantly streamline your scheduling process, making it easier to keep track of all your reservations and commitments in one place. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore […]


6 Ways to Get Your Hotel Guests Excited About a Giveaway

With so many hotels competing for guests’ attention, it can be difficult to find ways to get your hotel noticed and stand out from the crowd. One effective strategy is to offer guests an enticing giveaway or discount that will make them excited about staying at your hotel and encourage them to book a reservation. […]


Choosing the right hotel management software for you

Great businesses are built on great systems and processes. And while many in the accommodation industry still rely on manual spreadsheets and paper records, there’s a simpler and smarter way to get things done – with a powerful Property Management System. Property Management Systems (PMS) like Preno are very intuitive pieces of software, designed to […]


How do you analyse hotel performance using hotel reporting software?

Enhance your business performance with insightful hotel reporting The performance of your business varies through time. Industry trends transform, customer demands shift, and product and service expectations change. As a hotelier, improving business performance, means keeping up with change. What does this entail? Continuously reviewing and improving your business.   The two R’s of hotel […]