HUONE’s Seasonal Greeting from Singapore, Finland, and Denmark
From left to right: Ian Wu, HUONE Singapore; Jaakko Eskola, HUONE Helsinki, Louise Adolph, HUONE Copenhagen
It goes without saying that the event and meeting industry around the world has taken a toll with Covid-19 pandemic. The exact scale of its damage and implication is unknown, but it’s not only economic, but also social, and cultural. While it is still an on-going battle, we are relieved that we are still here fighting, wishing you a lovely holiday season. This year’s holiday greetings are from those at the frontline, the CEOs of HUONE units around the world: Helsinki, Singapore, and Copenhagen.
As we revel in the Christmas season and prepare to usher in the new year, it’s a wonderful time to review 2020 for HUONE Singapore. First, there was uncertainty when Covid-19 hit, that was quickly followed by mountains of pain when business in the MICE sector was forced to shut, and as a consequence we had but no choice to retrench 7 of our staff in May, while concurrently halving the pay of those that remained…
“Pain” was followed by “community” (June to August) in both the micro and macro sense; within the team, we pulled together and started to pivot into business areas that were new to us; catering, filming gigs, solemisations, food delivery, all in a bid to survive. While the outbound work was going on, the operations team focused on optimising our supply chain, addressing areas of inefficiency in a bid to make every dollar count. Macro in the sense that both the Finnish community here in Singapore, and the Singapore Government provided support in terms of opportunities and support for business that were badly hit like ours.
“Hope” has since followed community (September to present) where relaxing of regulations due to the improving COVID situation here permitted us to once again take on some restricted “old” business in terms of business meetings; it also allowed us to practice what we learnt during the “pain” period, trying out new areas of business such as weddings, converting our premise into a restaurant, hosting religious services, and operating as space for live streaming services, work space to name a few.
If I were to forecast what season comes next in 2021, it will be “grit & graft”, the constant search and taking on new opportunities to survive has resulted in the team working really long hours, and we’ve had a stretch where we worked 14 days straight. Help in terms of reinforcements will definitely arrive when the business environment becomes a little more stable and predictable of course, but until then we need to remember the pain we experienced, that community has gotten us through before, and that hope is always present regardless of how bleak the situation looks.
On that note, the team from HUONE Singapore would like to wish one and all a Merry Christmas and an even greater 2021 ahead! (Pssst! You still have time to experience Finnish Christmas Dinner at HUONE Singapore!)
For HUONE Copenhagen, we had high expectations for 2020 after the spectacular opening in the fall of 2019. Little did we know, there was a pandemic waiting around the corner to challenge us in ways we would never have imagined. Nonetheless, after 9 months of government restrictions, countless cancellation and last minute bookings; we are still here!I am proud that, during these hard times, we are still providing outstanding HUONE service with smiles and flexibilities to all guests that visit this amazing venue.
On behalf of the HUONE Copenhagen team, I wish all our partners and guests a wonderful Christmas! I hope that in 2021 we will again be able to shake hands when we meet in person at HUONE😍
“Uncertainty was something we had to get used to, fast.”
Just before summer, I took the role of supporting our Finnish team from Laura Tomula, our former HUONE Helsinki CEO.
Since the re-opening in June, the autumn months showed us that our customers hadn’t forgotten us during the lockdown. We struggled to keep up with our standards as the safety measurements meant a lot more work, nevertheless, the team pulled through with limited hours and resources. There was a steep learning curve too setting up more short-term goals, pivoting and venturing into the new trends such as hybrid meetings.
Now that the holiday season around the corner, I am still cautious but have a positive outlook for meeting industry in 2021.
I would really like to extend a big thank you to our customers who have continued to support HUONE. I wish you all a relaxing holiday season with your loved ones. I hope you get to spend that long-overdue time with the family safely. We are very looking forward to welcoming you again to HUONE in 2021. Finally, my gratitude goes to our team, who despite the uncertainty, have shown resilience and flexibility during these extreme times!