It has taken a week or so for it all to settle in. On the 19th of October Josh and I will be in Wellington for the Hospitality New Zealand Awards for Excellence. We are proud to say, Aura Accommodation has been announced as finalist in two categories – Best Newcomer, Accommodation and Best Redeveloped Accommodation.
It has given us the opportunity to re live our journey thus far and reminisce on two of those defining times since arriving to a cold Rotorua and an even colder Havana Motor Lodge.
For me, I distinctly remember the moment the name Aura became. We were beating our heads against a wall, trying to force a name for our soon to be launched accommodation business. We knew it needed to be modern, catchy, and different. We also knew it couldn’t categorise the type of accommodation we were. Firstly, because we didn’t (and still don’t) know exactly where we fit into the accommodation landscape and secondly, because we didn’t want it to be tied to our specific location. So, day and night we brainstormed about it. We went around and around looking at words, playing with meanings and trying to understand what this place was slowly starting to become. We talked to friends, we talked to family and most importantly, we talked to our guests. It became apparent that this place wasn’t being defined by its location or its facilities. This place was becoming defined by the atmosphere being created within. It was a combination of the staffs’ nature, the sizzling BBQs, kids splashing in the pool, the fun, the laughter, the relaxed mood of our guests. It was a distinctive yet intangible quality. It was a feeling. It was an Aura.
This realisation became a defining moment of Aura Accommodation and continues to drive and foster that distinctive ‘feeling’ that comes with staying with us at Aura. That ‘feeling’ is the substance of what makes Aura tick.
For Josh, it was about discovering the importance of that guest ‘feeling’, and fostering it throughout the guest journey with Aura. Discovering that Accommodation must be so much more that providing a clean room and quality facilities. It is about developing a personal relationship with each guest, fostering that relationship from the booking, through the visit and onto future visits. Seeing how guests reacted so positively to what seemed like small things was incredible. Knowing their names and certain details about each guest was invaluable, not to mention, going the next step and delighting them with that knowledge when they returned was something that quickly became paramount to what Aura Accommodation stood for. Building that relationship meant building loyalty, having guests buzzing about their stay and driving the ever-important word of mouth influence.
These are only 2 moments, or realisations in 14 months of learnings. It’s been one heck of a journey. And regardless of the result in October, Aura Accommodation will continue to evolve from the learning about our guests.
Hospitality New Zealand Awards of Excellence – 19th October 2017 – Te Papa, Wellington.