Member News

November 26, 2020

Human resource best practices, created the path for a successful reopening of the Zeavola Resort

The Eco-Luxury Resort Zeavola is located on the island of Koh Phi Phi. The motto of the resort “back to simplicity” stands for a Thai village offering its guests authentic and local experiences combined with the desire to strengthen intercultural exchange.

Since 2008, Florian Hallermann has been the General Manager of the resort. One of his first official acts as General Manager was to ban plastic toiletries. Instead, he used regionally produced refillable ceramic bottles and was able to save about half a million plastic bottles over the last twelve years! The Zeavola is located in a fragile ecosystem and it is vital to listen to nature as a guide. Every step against it has severe consequences.

Zeavola’s contribution to mitigating the effects of COVID -19 for employees

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the hospitality industry in Thailand, where tourism is an important economic factor, particularly hard.

For the eco-boutique hotel on Phi Phi Island, sustainability also means protecting the workforce and the local community. The management of the resort decided to close the hotel on March 26, 2020, to allow employees to travel home before a lockdown. Due to this quick action, it was possible to send all employees home except for the emergency team before Thailand stopped all travel. This was good for both the employees and the hotel.

As a result, expenses for meals, electricity, water, sewage and even TV channels and WIFI were reduced significantly.

With the help of the Thai government, hotels were able to send their employees home. The hotel participated in the nationwide social security system as well as providing staff loans until the first governmental payment arrived. All employees were therefore still able to provide for their families. In a joint staff vote, it was decided to dissolve the existing pension fund and pay it out to the employees so that another 3 months of payments could be secured. The small team that had stayed in the hotel took care of the hotel, the equipment and the jungle garden. Unfortunately, even the Zeavola could not avoid dismissals, 21 employees were dismissed in accordance with the applicable labour laws. Some of them took early retirement and received the full compensation package according to their years of service. After reopening the hotel in October the annual sports days and a mini staff party was celebrated. By now the staff is highly motivated to welcome back guests and provide their legendary friendly service.

The Sea-gypsy community was also affected by the lockdown. As the school was closed for longer than usual, Zeavola stopped the weekly meal for school children and teachers. The Friday lunch scheme is in place since 15 years and was resumed in September when the pupils returned. Additionally the community was still supported by monthly rice contributions.

By now Phi Phi island is on the path of recovery. Nature is reclaiming its rights, fish stocks increased, birds live in peace and the beaches are truly magical. To allow discerning guests to appreciate the true beauty of the island Zeavola Resort opened again for business. The slightly extended trip to the island is a well worth investment as one can experience Phi Phi like 20 years ago.

Zeavola is a member of Green Pearls®, the leading source for eco-friendly places around the world. The members are chosen based on their sustainable initiatives and green projects. The Green Pearls® requirements need to be fulfilled by every member by at least 80%.

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