5 Minutes with Sandra Martin
We took 5 minutes to have a (socially distanced) chat with our MD Sandra Martin, to find what steps she is taking to deal with Covid-19 and it’s impact on Signature Serviced Apartments.
1. How has Covid-19 directly impacted your business?
Covid-19 has had a direct impact on our business, in that it has made us quickly adapt our business processes and procedures to ensure that our guests and staff remain safe in these unprecedented times.
Our business is still buoyant and we have found many ways to continue to support our clients.
We have developed a number of strong relationships over the years we have been in business, and do not rely solely on booking portals to produce bookings. This has been key to keeping Signature strong in the Serviced Accommodation market, particularly in light of recent events.
2. What (if anything) have you had to do differently over this lockdown period to secure bookings?
We have had to make vital adjustments to some of our usual strategies to ensure that we provide the same level of support and communication, as many of our contacts are now working from home.
It’s also important to remember that things don’t move quite as fast at the moment, so having plenty of patience is also key to securing bookings.
We have also had to make changes to ensure that we are fully following the government guidelines, and have then informed our clients of the new procedures and precautions now in place.
With the online booking portals closed for the foreseeable future we have taken steps to ensure that current and past clients are updated more frequently on how we can continue to support them.
We are also maintaining our social media presence, and are making informative as well as positive, posts on our social media channels. Our aim is to be helpful and provide light relief for our connections on social media, and to let them know we are still here for them should they need us.
Our team has always been able to work remotely, so the need to do this on an ongoing basis was an easy transition. It proved slightly more difficult for some clients to begin with, so we took extra time to help them navigate this new booking process.
3. How are guests responding to the responsible measures that you have had to put in place during this time?
I have to say they have been brilliant, very understanding. I always think as long as you are honest, upfront and fully explain the requirements then people generally respond well.
We inevitably still have some maintenance challenges or issues that have to be dealt with, but our guests, along with our maintenance and operations teams have been brilliant and able to handle things quickly and safely.
4. What lessons have you learned from this whole experience, that you will use in the business going forward?
Always be willing to embrace change, be ready to adapt and understand that you can never be fully in control of everything.
5. What is the one biggest tip you would share with other SA operators at this time to manage things during this crisis?
This is not forever, positivity for me goes a long way. The market will bounce back. Use this time to focus on systems, procedures and planning for when we come out of this and aim to be less reliant on booking portals.
Also, keep in touch with your previous client base, even if you have had to close, and make them aware you will be available when needed.
Stay Well, Stay Safe, Stay Strong