local business stories

Atura Dandenong Hotel

In reality, a hotel is just a building with a couple of bedrooms; it’s our people who make the experience for our customers. From the smile from our front office staff on check in, to the recommendations from our team about our craft beers downstairs in the micro brewery, our business is our people" noted Lucy Symons, Sales Manager at Atura Dandenong Hotel.

The Business

At Atura Hotel, it's always been all about the people.

And that has never been clearer than during the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown restrictions of 2020//2021, according to Lucy Symons. 

"The way our business has survived over the past 12-18 months is purely by the grit of our people," she explained. It was Atura's strong focus on people and culture and building resilience which saw the business being one of 12 celebrated finalists in the Casey Business Awards 2020.

The Challenges

When the pandemic hit, forcing a severe reduction in business for the hospitality and tourism industry, Atura acted quickly to ensure it could keep its staff on. Team members were upskilled to different departments, allowing them to learn new skills as well as keep their jobs.

A department that was previously outcourced, Atura hired a brand-new housekeeping team comprised of locals and employed directly by the hotel. 

“It was working out how we could keep our team employed and on-site, even if that is in a reduced or different capacity, how can we do that so they can keep putting food on the table for their families. Neverthless, the first few months of the pandemic were certainly scary”


The hotel remained open to essential travellers, but there were few of those.

Fortunately, Atura secured the bookings of ADF personnel who were helping at Covid testing sites, which Ms Symons called a “great opportunity”. Staff were called back to their former roles with just 40 minutes’ notice before the ADF teams walked through the doors. The kitchen was fired up again and rooms that had been closed for weeks were quickly made ready for new occupants.

“I’m so proud of how agile our team was. Our people were ready to jump back on board and do what it took to get ready,” she said. Reflecting on that experience, Atura entered the 2021 Casey Business Awards in the Employment category and has been named as a finalist.

Ms Symons said the hotel’s team were excited to have been named as a finalist. “A hotel is a building with a couple of bedrooms – but the hotel experience is our people. We can’t do it without them!” Ms Symons said. 

The Casey Effect

Invested with the fast-growing commercial spirit of the surroundings, Atura Dandenong lies mere minutes from thriving corporate and business park precincts. Being right near the Princes Highway and the South Gippsland Freeway means getting to the hotel’s a cinch. Guests are convieniently minutes from the South East's thriving Bunjil Place arts and cultural precinct - not to mention Westfield's Fountain Gate's impressive shopping and dining.

“Atura Dandenong is perfectly situated for the industrial hub as part of the City of Casey. The hotel is always searching for local people to make the day better for our customers, our colleagues and our community. If you are thinking about a career in hotels, come down and see us - you might just be our next hospitality superstar!" – Ryan Crocker, General Manager.

Lessons for others

  • 1 Grab opportunities

    "Taking the time to enter the Casey Business Awards was well worth it. Being named a finalist was wonderful; we enjoyed the extra promotion and the two awards ceremonies were a great opportunity to reconnect with other City of Casey businesses, as well as meet business leaders and foster ongoing relationships to best support our business district."

  • 2 Reflect to learn

    "Entering the Casey Business Awards was a simple process, but it encouraged our leadership team to sit down and analyse our processes and procedures. When you do stop to reflect, there are some great innovations to be had, and often unexpected learnings."