Teaming Up for the Perfect “Safecation” in the Heart of Bellevue
Hotels and restaurants go together like bread and butter. Both are rooted in hospitality, focused on an experience, and unfortunately, have been equally hard-hit by the impacts of COVID-19. To help one another, Bellevue’s Residence Inn partnered with local restaurant Bake’s Place Bar & Bistro to launch a new promotion – and became a perfect example of how Downtown businesses are working together to whether the storm.
Both businesses felt the extreme hardships COVID-19 placed on the hospitality industry. Like all hotels, Bellevue’s Residence Inn saw a dramatic decline in guests as travel came to a halt and social distancing became a needed norm. Bake’s Place, alongside all restaurants, shut their doors for weeks as part of Washington’s efforts to control the spread of the virus. Eventually, as the state progressed and things reopened, both businesses found creative ways to welcome customers back Downtown.
While the Residence Inn remained open during the pandemic, things changed as business and leisure bookings evaporated. The hotel also altered course to provide housing for traveling nurses assisting area hospitals. But as travel slowly began to return, the hotel’s team had an idea. Front desk staff are often asked for local restaurant recommendations by guests, and according to Director of Sales Kate Hudson, Bake’s Place is a frequent answer. She also noticed an increase in people staying at the hotel from within the area.
“We were seeing more and more people staying who were visiting a child in the area, remodeling a house, or just needed to get out of their house,” Hudson said. “We wanted to figure out what we could do for people locally in Bellevue, Seattle or even a 50 or so mile radius.”
Having worked with Bake’s in the past, she called the restaurant’s general manager, Chris Peterson, and the two of them hatched a promotion: the Bellevue "Safecation.” The idea was simple: provide a great deal on hotel rates bundled with a discount to the restaurant, and promote Downtown Bellevue businesses as a safe destination to recharge and unwind.
“It’s a way to discover your own back yard again,” Hudson said.
For Peterson, it was another way to reach the community and show how restaurants like Bake’s Place are safely reopened and excited to welcome guests again. It was also a great opportunity to cross promote offerings and partner with another hospitality business in Bellevue.
“All of us in this industry do it because we like providing a great experience for people,” Peterson said. “We’ve worked hard to make Bake’s a safe environment and we want to welcome people back comfortably while doing our part to help others out too.”
Bake’s recently revamped their expansive outdoor patio and adjusted for social distancing protocols, in addition to enhanced cleaning measures. Peterson also worked hard to keep the signature Bake’s experience front-and-center while also introducing new offerings and specials. Their famous happy hour remains, for example, while the food and drink menus change frequently to keep things fresh. They also introduced daily specials ranging from street tacos to Tiki Thursdays.
With the amount of time we’re all spending at home, being able to safely explore the neighborhood is something both Hudson and Peterson are excited to promote. Interested “safecationers” can book a one, two or three night stay at the Residence Inn as a package deal that includes a 15% discount voucher to Bake’s Place.
Of course, just getting out to explore Downtown Bellevue is a trip worth taking in any capacity – whether just for the afternoon or for a few days. Many businesses have been getting creative with ways to support Downtown’s recovery through collaboration. This spirit of community is something Hudson in particular appreciates.
“It’s nice that you can walk the streets and people smile or wave at you,” Hudson said. “The fact that small businesses come together to close down streets for dining speaks volumes to the community that we have.”
From Al Fresco dining on Main Street to creative promos like the Bellevue “Safecation,” check out what’s happening Downtown and explore your city.
This blog is part of the Heart of Bellevue: our campaign to showcase local businesses while connecting you with stories of activity, creativity and recovery. Find out about our campaign and explore more of what’s happening around Downtown.