Road To Recovery: The Kingsbury Hotel

In times of trouble, how we rise determines our strength, character and resilience. For The Kingsbury, this moment came in one of the darkest hours Sri Lanka faced as a nation.

Performers at The Kingsbury’s ‘Together in Harmony’ event, which featured 18 local musicians and artists.

With a wish to return to normalcy in an uncertain time, the hotel management felt that it was their duty to the get back on their feet as soon as possible. “We felt we have a responsibility towards our employees, guests, suppliers, the industry and to the nation whose livelihoods depend on the hotel and that was one of our biggest motivating factors to keep going,” a spokesperson for The Kingsbury said. ‘We even hosted a wedding 3 days after the attack as the wedding couple insisted that they could not postpone it. We decided to put our best foot forward and give them the dream day that they deserved.

The well-being of the staff was one of the management’s priorities subsequent to the attacks. While the physically injured were being attended to at the hospital, the hotel sought the services of a clinical psychologist to help the staff deal with the trauma they had experienced. A skilled mental health professional held several one-on-one counselling sessions for the employees which provided them with the opportunity to process the incident, express their emotions and grieve for the loss they had experienced. The sessions were followed up by a three-day workshop on crisis management and meditation for the hotel staff conducted by the Art of Living, an organisation who specialise in dealing with crises.

The management has taken extra are in specifically training all security personnel on how to interact and carry out security checks on guests in a pleasant manner, reducing any inconvenience.

With security becoming a top priority in the wake of the attacks, the management at The Kingsbury has taken steps to introduce a comprehensive security system using metal detectors and baggage scanners. The management has taken extra care in specifically training all security personnel on how to interact and carry out security checks on guests in a pleasant manner reducing any inconvenience.

Back on track

Like many hotels in the island, getting back on track has not been an easy feat for the hotel. With the number of arrivals declining, the management has implemented many marketing campaigns to gain the interest of local and foreign travellers. From offering exciting discounts on room rates, food and beverage deals to promoting the hotel’s catering and Spa experiences – The Kingsbury has been resolute in getting back on their feet.

Their social media platforms – Facebook, Instagram and Linkedin are buzzing with activity and are a testament to the management’s resilience in moving forward. Their hashtag, #StandingStrongAtKB has gained a lot of traction on social media and has encouraged many to visit the hotel and extend their support and solidarity. In early May, the hotel hosted a group of foreign social media influencers, brought down by the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau. In addition, The Kingsbury has had several local celebrities and figures attending hotel promotions and events creating much buzz and excitement.

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Ce La Vi is the rooftop lounge and restaurant at The Kingsbury hotel

The hotel management’s decision to drive PR and marketing has helped them immensely on their journey to recovery and normalcy. The Kingsbury is the first of the three hotels to recover from the attacks. Despite the short amount of time the hotel has taken to bounce back, every decision and strategy that has been implemented was taken after careful consideration and thought with much sensitivity to public sentiments. The management wanted to ensure that the well-being of staff and everyone invested in the hotel was taken care of and not overlooked.

The Kingsbury also organised ‘Together in Harmony’ an evening featuring 18 local musicians and artists on May 26. The event brought together people from all walks of life and uniting them on one stage to share the message of peace and harmony.

Guests who visit the hotel are surprised to see that little has changed within the hotel and that business continues as usual. At present, The Ocean, Yue Chuan, CE LA VI, The Gourmet Station and Kings Bar and Honey Beach Club are open for business and have seen an increase in numbers over the last two months. The Kingsbury’s high tea promotion, a favourite among many regulars has also witnessed a pickup.

Hospitality Insider Issue 4