“Of all the aparthotels, in all the towns, in all the world, they had to walk in to mine.”

John Wagner George Sell Uploaded

“Of all the aparthotels, in all the towns, in all the world, they had to walk in to mine.”

York and Casablanca aren’t often mentioned in the same sentence, but Staycity CEO Tom Walsh can be forgiven for having a Humphrey Bogart moment when two Chinese guests, both staying at the company’s Paragon Street property, became the UK’s first confirmed cases of Coronavirus.

The media picked up on the story instantly, and although some of them inevitably took a distinctly alarmist angle, a combination of transparency, good communication and early liaison with Public Health England meant that Staycity, while finding itself in a totally unexpected and amazingly unlucky situation, has avoided serious damage to its reputation and shown itself to be a thoroughly professional organisation.

A local newspaper published some disparaging comments from one or two guests who, from
my perspective, looked as if they were delighted to see their names in print rather than having a genuine grievance - their story was then picked up, in typically colourful style, by The Sun.

But by promptly updating guests and the media with information as it became available, the company ensured that the story quickly moved on to the University of York campus, where one of the guests is studying.

The property was able to keep trading, with the affected apartment sealed off, and as of today, five days after the guests were taken in to quarantine, there have been no new cases of Coronavirus in the city.

They say there is no such thing as bad publicity - I’m not sure Walsh and his PR team would agree with that, but they have done a great job of damage limitation, hats off to them for that.

We are looking forward to hosting our 2021 RECHARGE event at Staycity's Marne la Vallée property in Paris, more details to follow soon. "We'll always have Paris," as Bogart famously put it.


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