Steve McCann, chief executive, Crown Resorts
What have been the main impacts of Covid on your business?
Covid-19 has been devastating for the hospitality industry, and that has been felt deeply by our people at Crown Resorts. Hospitality, restaurants and bars are often the first to be shut in any lockdown, and the last to reopen – and that affects our employees and their families in a very real sense. But it has also built our collective sense of community at Crown. We moved quickly to provide our employees with financial support and discretionary payments where we were able. We also established a job network resourced by our HR and recruitment specialists to help find temporary work options for Crown employees who had been stood down.
How is the hospitality industry faring for the future?
As an industry, we only have a future if we can reduce the risk of Covid-19 and provide as safe an environment as we possibly can for both our guests and employees. Vacci
nation is our key to being able to do that. For our industry to return to normal, we need to see borders open up both domestically and internationally.
What are the main concerns you have heard about from industry insiders over the past year?
The necessary closure of both domestic and international borders has been incredibly challenging for everyone in the tourism industry. We are lucky that due to our scale, we will still be able to operate on the other side of this. Many smaller operators aren’t able to do that, which has an adverse effect on our overall tourism offering.
Is there a particular area of the sector that has really suffered?
We need to acknowledge that smaller tourism and hospitality operators have been hit the hardest. It’s been a very challenging time for not only business owners and operators, but also each and every one of the people who work in hospitality and have faced ongoing uncertainty about their employment and stability.
We were already grappling with a skills shortage in hospitality before Covid-19, and now we are also grappling with talented professionals who have left the industry.
Has there been enough government support?
We are incredibly thankful for the government’s response to Covid-19, both in terms of their health response as well as their support for our industry. Our people are our main priority at Crown, and knowing that the government is providing support to them during lockdowns is something that we appreciate.
Do you think that governments, both federal and state, have the right policies in place to future-proof the industry in what are still uncertain times?
A crisis like a global pandemic has demonstrated to us the paramount importance of governments and industry working together, which we have. The NSW and Victorian governments have made it clear that hospitality workers will need to be vaccinated to return to work as part of the road map out of lockdown, which is a position that we support. What is also clear is that the environment we are in will continue to evolve, including the level of vaccinations, the spread of the virus and its various mutations, and the economic and social issues we need to address.
We need to maintain the flexibility and nimbleness to continue to reassess what policies and communication will serve us best as a community and an industry.
How can people best support the sector in the days, months and years ahead?
The best way for the community to support the hospitality and tourism sector is to get vaccinated and enjoy themselves, with that little bit of additional care and responsibility.