Saving the jobs of dozens of hotel employees was a priority for Nic Caffardo in the fallout from Covid-19.
Caffardo, the general manager of Tauranga's long-standing Hotel Armitage and Conference Centre, saved the jobs of about 30 employees by retraining them into other areas of the business.
For example, housekeeping and food and beverage staff learned the ropes of reception.
"From a challenge, we have made an opportunity."
Caffardo said business came to a sudden stop from mid-March.
"Conferences, group bookings, individual bookings, everything got cancelled."
He said the hotel put a crisis management plan in place mid-March to "try to be ahead of the game".
"We were focused on needing to save the business on top of balancing the health and safety of everyone. I don't want to sound too extreme but we felt we were at war and we needed to fight."
The hotel remained open during lockdown to provide accommodation for government agencies and essential workers who were in the field and did not want to go home. Other services, however, had to be suspended to protect cashflow.
The retraining programme meant staff of suspended service areas could help cover in the rest of the business, retaining their jobs.
"We decided to start training especially our food and beverage team so they could start learning reception - check-in, check out - cross-training so that the departments and the team could work even better together to help over breaks or if someone was not able to attend the shift and so on.
"Some of our housekeeping team have been clearing some room service trays or ... learning a bit of front of house."
He said some staff left for other sectors but none were made redundant.
Caffardo said without the Government's wage subsidy it would have been "very difficult" to retain the jobs, but it did not cover some costs such as annual leave and ACC.
"We were very happy to have this support from the Government. But we also had to organise the cashflow to be able to top up what needed to be topped up."
Moving into level 1 was "good news" but Caffardo said it would be some time before things would fully return to normal, with major events such as the jazz festival and AIMS Games cancelled this year.
"We need people to travel once again to be able to stay in hotels and have a reason to come and stay with us.
"It is going to take more time before we get back on our feet. But I am confident things are going to get better."