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West Coast Bounces Back for Season Ahead

West Coast Hotels Put Kiwi Spirit to the Fore as Coast Bounces Back for Season Ahead

CHRISTCHURCH 20th December 2019. It’s ‘busines as usual’ for Scenic Hotel Group's five West Coast properties in Fox Glacier, Franz Josef and Haast as the region’s roads re-open connecting visitors with some of New Zealand’s most spectacular natural experiences.

As the region clears and looks forward to a strong season ahead, the hotels reflect on the efforts of their teams in what General Manager Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier, Alexander Tschampel describes as “Doing what we do best and that is caring for our guests. At the heart of everything we were doing was sharing the Kiwi spirit of caring for our visitors and affording them comfort and peace of mind.”

Alexander says communication was the key thing our guests were looking for, and our teams assisted them in every way possible with updates and managing their onward travel arrangements. Guest feedback was overwhelmingly positive, and there was a “Sincere appreciation for the hospitality our team extended to guests,” says Alexander.

While road closures remained, the skies cleared and guests took the opportunity of getting out and about and making the most of their unscheduled extra time with walks and other outdoor pursuits.

Further down the Coast at Fox Glacier, Heartland Hotel Fox Glacier General Manager, Gavin Barr said they were "The only pub in town." With a backup generator kicking into life when the town experienced a power outage that was to last a week, guests still enjoyed the full-service facilities of the hotel and even bigger smiles that the staff had a never-ending supply of for the many international visitors. Gavin explained that at this time of the year, the pantries and fridges are full of provisions and so could still fulfil their food and beverage offering. "Only the quiet and still of the mountains was disrupted with the hum of our generator, but that was probably the most welcome hum in town and also offered us the opportunity to help out staff and our local community with freezer space and hospitality."

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In true Kiwi spirit, local 'Coasters,' came out to wave guests and travellers goodbye as they lined up to join their escorted convoy out of town after their two additional days, which Gavin says for many was actually a lot of fun. The community rallied well to make our visitors feel welcome.

With all roads now fully open and the Coast once again connected, Scenic Hotel Group Managing Director, Brendan Taylor says the hotels, together with other tourism operators in the region are "Looking forward to resuming the summer season and sharing the extraordinary experience that is the West Coast.

Brendon points to "Preparedness and experience as being key to ensuring our guests' comfort and welfare is at the forefront of everything we do, and our hotel teams are well equipped to deal with the unexpected." Brendon cites infrastructure and investment in back up communications such as satellite phones as being critical in situations such as we have just experienced. The ability to offer communications to guests when primary services are down is vital to their peace of mind. Then we just get on with delivering the best Kiwi hospitality experience we can.

While hotels understandably experienced some cancellations in the week after the severe weather, forward bookings are strong and reflect the peak season ahead. "The West Coast remains a huge drawcard for visitors seeking an experience that brings them closer to nature with the added comfort of an authentic Kiwi hospitality experience that reflects the spirit of our extraordinary people and place."

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