Allan Clark, general manager of Sun Palms Hotel Motel, says the facility is fully booked for the next six weeks.
Allan Clark, general manager of Sun Palms Hotel Motel, says the facility is fully booked for the next six weeks. Sharyn Oneill

LNG growth sees hotel stay afloat

FOR six weeks the Sun Palms Hotel was an island, surrounded by floodwater and earning nothing.

Seven months on since the Fitzroy River burst its banks and surrounded the Gladstone Road business, times have changed – for the better.

General manager Allan Clark said the hotel was booked for the next six weeks.

During their flood-forced closure they lost an estimated cash flow of $1.3 million and the hotel's owner, Bill Reid, said they were still determining how much profit they lost.

“The last financial year was a disaster because of the flood,” Bill said.

“We weren't sure if we would make it.”

But he said they were proud they had stuck by their staff as much as possible, turning away only 20 casual workers for the adjoining bottle shop for at least a week.

“We kept 20 staff on the payroll and that cost us,” he said.

“And that was at a time when the QHA sent out letters to say hospitality affected by the flood could lose staff on the spot.”

But as accommodation becomes scarce and rental prices skyrocket in Gladstone, Rockhampton hoteliers and rental agencies are recovering much of what they lost during the floods.

The LNG industry in the Port City has proven to be a godsend, even for a hotel 100km away in Rockhampton.

And there's nothing quite like sliding the “no” above the vacancy sign.

“We'll never recuperate our losses, but it's coming into bull sale season which is always the best time of year for us and we're trading normally again,” Bill said.



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