People & Human Resources

Adelaide hotel gains worldwide praise after opening its doors to bushfire victims

Kirsten Robb /

An Adelaide hotelier says he has been unexpectedly inundated with support from around the world for his business after he offered free beds to the victims of the South Australian bushfires.

James Robertson, owner of The Hampshire Hotel Adelaide, proved the strength of the connection between small business and the community when he offered South Australians affected by the recent bushfires free accommodation.

“To all those affected by the fires – if you have been, or need to be, evacuated from your home and have no where to stay, we have some rooms available FREE of charge for you to stay in if needed,” Robertson said in a post on The Hampshire Hotel Facebook page.

“We wish we could be out there helping you more. Massive cheer to those brave fire fighters battling the fires!” he added.

The worldwide Facebook community met the offer of help with a flood of support for the hotel’s generosity, as patrons across the globe vowed to stay or eat at the hotel.

“After the fire … I think we should all frequent this hotel for a meal or drink to thank them for their generosity,” said one commenter.

“I have never been to this hotel but I will be coming in for a meal after this is over,” said another.

The post has since had close to 11,000 likes and 3900 shares. Numerous people have also offered to donate food and clothes to the hotel for the victims.

Robertson told News Corp he had no expectations of receiving such a response for the offer.

“We just wanted to do something to help, we didn’t expect this,” said Robertson.

Peter Strong, executive director of the Council of Small Business of Australia, told SmartCompany The Hampshire Hotel’s actions reinforced the notion that small business is about people.

“Small business is as much about community as it is about business,” says Strong.

“This is a great story but it is not an uncommon story, this is the way our communities work. It reminded me of when you see panel beaters or bakeries supporting local footy teams and then you see the parents go and buy their pies from them.”

Strong says unlike big businesses, which have the aid of media teams to promote their goodwill activities, the philanthropic deeds of small businesses often go under the radar.

“They don’t have, and don’t want, a media team to do that. [Robertson] didn’t do it for any recognition, because people would see through that straight away,” he says.

SmartCompany attempted to contact Robertson but was unable to do so before publication.

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Kirsten Robb

Kirsten Robb is a former journalist at SmartCompany. Previously, she worked at News Corp as a property reporter for Leader Newspapers and the Herald Sun, and holds a Masters of Journalism at Melbourne University.

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