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


Fill Your Empty Rooms With Preno’s New Last Minute Pricing Tool

If you’re in the hospitality industry, you understand the pain of vacant rooms. Every empty room is lost revenue, and in a competitive market, it’s crucial to ensure maximum occupancy while maintaining reasonable rates. That’s why we’re excited to introduce Preno’s latest addition to our Dynamic Pricing suite: Last Minute Pricing. This proactive tool reviews […]


Common Hotel Guest Complaints & How to Handle Them

As a hotel, providing top-notch customer service is crucial in ensuring guest satisfaction and repeat business. However, it’s inevitable that guest complaints will arise during their stay. Here are some common complaints in the hotel industry and tips on how to handle them: Poor housekeeping Dirty laundry left uncollected, used cutlery left in the room, […]


15 Easy Ways to Improve Guest Experience in Your Hotel

Wonder what the secret behind delivering an elevated experience for your guests? We’ve put together a curated list of 10 easy ways to ace your guest game and blow their minds. 1. First impressions matter Haven’t you heard the saying “You only have one opportunity to make a first impression”? The same applies to your […]


A Guide to Hotel Dynamic Pricing

In the ever-evolving hospitality industry, staying competitive means keeping up with the latest trends and strategies. One such strategy that has proven to be a game-changer for many hotels is dynamic pricing. This pricing model, based on real-time supply and demand, allows hotels to optimise their revenue and stay competitive in a fluctuating market. In […]


The Top Hotel Trends To Watch in 2023 and Beyond

2022 hotel trends – what’s in and what’s out? In the last few years, we’ve seen a number of trends come and go in the hotel industry. Some, like the rise of Airbnb, have had a major impact on the way we travel. Others, like the growth of luxury hotels, have been more slowly evolving. […]


How Prepare Your Hotel for Christmas in the UK

As a hotelier in the United Kingdom, you may be wondering how to best decorate your property for Christmas. After all, the holiday season is a busy time for hotels, and you want to make sure your guests have a memorable experience. Christmas is a time for family, friends, and loved ones. It’s a time […]