Surviving the Pandemic…

One day at a time

We have survived and we are thriving. I love our new normal! Put on your latest bikini, grab your favourite towel, choose your most admired sarong and finally, facemask, latex gloves and sanitiser….. yep, you’re ready to spend a day at the beach. Hit the local Garden Getaway Cafe or surf many of the stunning beaches and walking trails. We’re not just surviving this pandemic, we’re thriving!

What a roller coaster ride for the world! Words cannot express the turmoil and challenges we have all been through. As individuals, families and businesses. From the fear of the virus, social isolation, economic disaster and global panic, no-one has escaped the grasp of this pandemic.

How do we all survive then? Well, I’m certainly not going to sit here and presume to know the answer that question. I do want to share how we at Cool Bananas have rallied together as a family and supported each other through the worst of what Covid19 has presented. How it looked in the beginning to how we are now taking charge of our own destiny.

In the beginning …… thriving…

From 70% capacity back in February to a serious drop to 5-10% only weeks into March. We joined the world in taking on this global challenge. From a bustling and busy hostel packed full of excited travellers discussing new adventures to a few survivors who decided to stay in Australia and ‘wait it out’.

Has it been difficult? Incredibly! Surviving the pandemic does not mean we have sat in a corner crying and stomping our feet wondering why this is happening to us. Instead, it has brought us all closer together and ensured we have not taken what we have for granted. Sure it’s been challenging trying to find a way to keep the doors open. To keep our valued young travellers passing through the grounds.

It has made us delve into what really makes a hostel and how we evolve in a changing environment. Not to mention, the 101 uses for bleach and ‘how to make your own hand sanitiser’…. yes I did break into a litre of straight alcohol to make a sensational 70% alcohol based, aloe vera hand sanitiser! In Agnes Water, like the rest of the world, there was panic buying for sanitiser, thank goodness we didn’t have to resort to making our own toilet paper!

A funny look at panic buying during the pandemic
NO. we didn’t have to sell our souls for the esssentials!

What are we doing now?

From quiet, uncertain beginnings 6 months ago to roller coaster weeks now. It has been an interesting journey so far. As you all know, the rules set out by world health authorities and governments has changed the way we all interact and the way we go about our daily duties.

If you are a fellow business owner reading this you will know that surviving the pandemic has meant many changes for you, your staff and your life! We know the challenges we face by ticking all the boxes to ensure you, your staff and your clients are safe in your (sanitised) hands. However, let me remind you all, you cannot replace the simple washing of hands to combat the virus (that’s me for the mum talk!)

The New Demographic – Queenslanders! 🙂

Surviving the pandemic means thriving in this pandemic and it means thinking outside the box. New marketing strategies, a new demographic and getting to know more of our fellow Australians, I’m excited to say, it has been a privilege.

With so many of our valued guests leaving the country, we have found those who are still here are staying longer. This is a big thanks to the Australian Government. Many of whom are working in our lovely little town. This has also meant that with many international and national borders closed, our clientele is slowly gearing more to local travellers. These include school friends, solo Aussies, young couples and families.

Why? It’s obvious isn’t it?

Many of these people are either out of work, have less work or have more flexibility in their work environment. Many can take their job on the road. To us we are seeing the most significant change in travelling and the way in which they travel. So significant is this shift, that we will see the culture of travel, particularly for young Australians invariably change forever. This is nothing short of absolute anticipation for those of us in the hospitality and tourism industry. If you’re looking for a Queensland holiday check out these ideas.

Fraser Island Tours:

What does this mean for us?

Catering to Australians who have possibly never stayed in a hostel before means educating our community in what we offer. Maybe a trip to a previous blog about Hostel Etiquette is worthwhile.

However, not only do our guests have to adapt to a different accommodation experience, we as a hostel have to change the experience we would normally offer to backpackers. A difficult challenge knowing that many of our guests are still backpackers expecting the chilled vibe we have always offered.

Therefore, providing some dorm style private rooms has been a lovely transition. Allowing all our guests, regardless of their background and travel plans to be catered for.

Social distancing at a hostel challenging?

‘Impossible’ you shout out? No, anything is possible and we are achieving just that. Not to say it is certainly the adjustment of a lifetime! From shared meals only months ago to removing all plates, cutlery and cups from our shared kitchen. Not only has this pandemic changed the way we operate but has forced us to think hard on how to adapt to ensure the safety of everyone and to comply with new and ever changing government regulations.

It is also imperative not only to encourage guests to use and touch only their belongings, but we are now minimising the amount of people allowed in dorm rooms and in our social areas. Great news for our guests who now have more space in their sleeping quarters, especially those staying longer.

Our cleaning regime has gone from amazing to downright outstanding! Extra cleaning shifts have been added to our usual routine ensuring regularly touched surfaces are sanitised to Queensland Health standards.

Highlighting the affects of the pandemic and the use of face masks and other hygiene routines

So with the above considered, it can only move us in the direction of positive change. Adopting outstanding hygiene practice, providing more versatile accommodation options and educating our local community.

We invite you to come and see for yourself. Do you have ways to share in which you have survived the pandemic that you would like to share? Please put in the comments section to ensure your ideas spread.

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