Innamincka Hotel – Case Study

How do you extend your organisation's brand strategy to attract and keep staff?

In 2021, we helped the Innamincka Hotel with their recruitment messaging in a move which is still paying off for them after three peak seasons.

Successful Recruitment Campaign

12 Staff Hired within 2 Weeks

Focus on Staff Wellbeing in Remote Areas

Hotel now sought after by workers


  • Wellbeing Statement for Staff
  • Recruitment Ad Campaign
  • Press Release

At a Glance

    The Problem: Getting and Keeping Hospitality Staff

    Jo Fort, co-owner of the Innamincka Hotel, has always been an innovator. As the owner of one of Australia's most remote pubs, she has long been used to zigging and zagging through business cycles. But, with climate change beginning to fundamentally alter the living conditions of the outback, Jo set to work pivoting the business strategy from the famous rowdy outback pub to an eco-friendly oasis in the desert.

    Part of this pivot meant a fresh look at how the hotel attracted both staff and clientele.

    Concurrently, hiring was especially challenging. At the time. Australia's borders were shut, removing backpackers from the worker pool. The hotel was yo-yo-ing open and closed as lockdowns and state borders clanged shut with little notice. The staff was stressed and on edge, while finding new employees was increasingly difficult.

    Jo chose to stay calm and plan ahead.

    The Process

    Just like any advertising for a brand, service or product, we needed to get very clear on what were the key differentiators and challenges.

    When it came to hiring, Jo's management team, led by Nichelle Hodgson, didn't need an expensive university qualification or experience in the finest restaurants of Australia. Nichelle wanted friendly, upbeat workers who are generously capable of offering a welcome smile, a hand to help, or a shoulder to cry on. And she needed to overcome barriers such as workers needing to relocate or concerns about the remote Outback lifestyle.

    Job Requirement Why work at the Innamincka Hotel?
    You must be a friendly, helpful team player.
    • Track record of shaping a role to suit the person.
    • Management's commitment to wellbeing ensures compassion and patience for all team members to thrive in the Outback.
    You need to live in the Outback.
    • Housing on site.
    • Assistance with flights available.
    • Awesome days off with many recreational activities available locally.
    • Time off for Outback events when feasible.
    You must be available for a short term gig.
    • Management will provide you with references for other jobs in their network of Outback businesses.
    You must have the ability to handle all kinds of customer interactions.
    • You get to meet adventurous, interesting Outback travellers who are anything but boring to talk to.
    On this lovely Sunday evening I'm sending a huge shout out to you and the WOOF Team. Thanks to you and your words Innamincka has secured a Chef and full team of 11 staff onsite and ready to resume business as usual from tomorrow.
    Jo, Innamincka Hotel Owner

    The Innamincka Hotel Wellbeing Statement

    In the Outback, staff well-being is paramount. In recent years, workers have encountered lockdowns, unwelcome wildlife, a fugitive, and the town being cut off due to flooding, on top of the usual hospitality challenges of hangry or drunken patrons. When every shift requires a taxing combination of grit and charisma, your ongoing well-being is vitally important for both you and your teammates.

    Through consultation with WOOF Media, Jo defined the type of workers who are best suited to Innamincka's team environment and the personal traits required to thrive in an outback community. Armed with her insights, we were able to construct the Wellbeing Statement, which is available to all on the hotel's website.

    Most crucially, it's communicated to staff so no one ever forgets the expectations and the desired workplace culture is made clear. Nichelle even asks new hires to put their signature on the Wellness Statement to make sure they understand.

    Recruitment Campaign

    The strategic work for the Wellbeing Statement then underpinned the advertising for new workers.

    For remote areas, there's no point using Australia's standard job sites as they are focused on the most populous locations. People may not have heard of the small community of Innamincka so we needed a different approach. We chose Facebook, as over time we've built a cheery community of fans, and also sent out a press release with a quote from a previous Inna employee.

    The jobs were positioned as being for the adventurous while options to overcome the niche hurdles for taking a job at Innamincka (transportation and housing) were clearly mentioned.

    While a variety of messages were tested, job ads that focused on well-being consistently outperformed.

    The Results

    Two years on and the worker shortages remain across Australia. But not for the Innamincka Hotel, as workers seek it out: "I heard you were a good place to work."

    How can we help?

    We'd love to hear about your marketing challenges and see if we could be the right fit to help you get results like these.

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