March 23, 2020

Dear Guests

Hi it’s Bryce, I’m the owner of Portman House and I had a good chat with our Manager Erin this morning, who many of you know and love.  Erin and her family are well.

All of us will suffer from COVID19, so supporting one another is important.  Ultimately, as long as we have food, health, and people we love; nothing else really matters.

Food is not an issue, our Agricultural Minister advises “Australia is in the fortunate position of producing enough food for 75 million people with a population of only 25 million, making us one of the food bowls of the world.”

Our health is critically important, and even though Scone may seem far away from outbreaks, it is critically important that distancing measures are maintained to reduce risk.  COVID19 could just as easily sweep through rural areas, especially if there is a relaxed ‘it can’t happen to us’ attitude.

Showing love and compassion to all, even to those who are behaving irrationally, angrily or in a frightened manner, is perhaps the best way each of us can ease societal stress.  At the same time we uplift ourselves just in the giving.  All of us should keep checking on the well being of those around us, it might just be a hello call.  Social distancing does not stop us from picking up the phone.

Financially many of us will lose a lot during this pandemic, but ultimately that is unimportant, it’s not like we can take money with us.  That said, I still want to keep Erin employed for as long as possible, hopefully for good.  Erin earns a base wage, but the bulk of her income is tied to turnover so her income will dramatically decrease.

Many families will be affected similarly in Scone.

Following are some things you can do that will help us, and also things we do, which benefit you, our guests.

What you can do to help us

  • If you are making a reservation at Portman House please book directly on 02 6545 9726 or at this website.  We pay large commissions to booking agencies like Expedia (generally 12%) and this directly affects our bottom line.  This substantial chunk of our profit leaves Australia every month.  We set our pricing for direct bookings slightly under what you would pay through a third party channel, so you’re better off booking direct with us, and by doing so you also help us, thank you.
  • Please exercise social distancing and all other recommendations provided by the government during the COVID19 pandemic.  This will help protect our Manager, cleaners, contract staff, and the Scone community in general.
  • Please be patient with us as we look for ways to reduce costs in our business that should not too greatly affect your experience at Portman House.  For example, we may put Foxtel on hold until this crisis passes, and we will look for other ways to reduce our costs.  We are currently considering hibernating half of our apartments so we can disconnect electricity to save money.
  • Please support local businesses in Scone.  Restaurants and cafes will be especially hard hit in the short term, so please support those that have moved to take away.  I personally love The Cottage and would hate Scone to lose this institution.  Have them deliver a beautiful meal to your apartment if you don’t want to face the crowds at Coles next door.

Why stay with Portman House

  • We give you a pin code to access your apartment, no face to face contact is required when you stay with us.  There is no physical check in.
  • Our eight apartments are separated from one another with no common hallways shared with other guests.  If you want minimal exposure to others, Portman House is for you.
  • Each apartment has an internal kitchen, which is especially advantageous now that cafes and restaurants are only doing take away.
  • All apartments also have an internal laundry, so if you need to bunker down for the long term you can.
  • We are directly adjacent to Coles, it’s literally right next door.
  • As many of you will know our cleaning is meticulous, however, Erin has undertaken COVID19 Infection Control Training provided by the Australian Government Department of Health.
  • I have authorised Erin to do whatever she needs to do to lessen risk to you, our guests.  She will also be doing everything she can to protect herself and any contractors we engage, such as cleaners.
  • To give an example of additional cleaning now being undertaken, all door handles and light switches are being thoroughly disinfected on each daily clean.  Additional attention is being paid to cleaning of all surfaces.

I’m impressed you made it through to the last paragraph.  Thank you so much.  To reiterate, please be good to one another.  We will come out the other side of this as better people, reminded of the importance of strong community values.  I immensely look forward, also, to the strong realisation that we must return a lot of manufacturing to Australian shores.  We should also realise that the rapidity of this threat has allowed us to change and adapt surprisingly quickly, in ways we could not have imagined only months ago.  This should give us hope that we will be able to make other dramatic changes, to address other forthcoming challenges, that threaten humanity in even bigger ways.

All the best, and shoot me an email or call for anything whatsoever.

Kind regards

Bryce McDougall

bryce@bryces.com.au or 02 9557 8894