An update to all Members from Neil Taylor, MD & CEO

We have been monitoring closely the announcements by the Victorian Government on the gradual easing of restrictions. I’d like to share with you how RACV has responded so far to the changing environment and how we are managing a return of some of our services.

All updates to any of our product or services can be found on this dedicated page, so please check regularly for the latest information over the coming period.

Insights from the past 8 weeks

Before sharing how we will look to re-open some of our services, I thought I’d share what we have been doing at RACV in response to COVID-19.

Firstly, and on behalf of all the team members at RACV, we would like to thank you, our Members, for your ongoing support since the start of COVID-19. Our Emergency Roadside Assist, Emergency Home Assist, Home and Motor Insurance businesses continue to operate well and safely to support your needs.

Other businesses we operate, notably our retail shops, Resort and Clubs, have been closed now for nearly two months. The stand-down of much of our workforce has been challenging for all involved, but we continue to focus on supporting our people as best we can through a variety of mechanisms and look forward to helping as many as possible get back to work over the next few months.

A few key insights I thought I would share:

  • The quick transition of our workforce to a temporary working from home environment has had its challenges, but Member service levels have remained high.
  • We have seen a significant spike in online transactions and digital interactions, consistent with other businesses. We see this trend continuing and we are planning for this to be the case.
  • We have seen a spike in demand for our EHA and Trades Services, providing tradies to safely fix Member issues in your homes.
  • We have had high engagement with Members via our new online magazine RACV@Home.
  • We have seen an increase in car battery sales with Members calling RACV to fit for you, rather than fit yourselves. The fitting of batteries from RACV does not have to happen in an emergency situation, and we encourage Members to call at any time for this service.  
  • We commenced an Emergency Goods Assist program where we have now delivered over 12,000 meals to those in need. Running this service has helped us keep a number of our team members employed over this period, and we share part of the story here.

Your health and safety is our priority

Each new announcement gives us a little more insight into the various health and safety protocols RACV will need to adopt and adhere to as we consider our approach to the opening of operations currently closed.

While none of us have a complete understanding yet of what will be required, one thing is certainly clear - the world we are about to enter will be very different to the one we left in March this year. Like all businesses, we will make appropriate changes to all parts of our business to reflect the new operating environment we are entering.

Our planning scenario is based on the assumption of a slow and rolling lift in restrictions by State and Federal governments, which will only continue if there is not a rise in cases.   We will not re-start all parts of the organisation, nor the component parts of each at the same time. We will have to balance the new safety requirements with demand from you, our members.

Re-opening of six Retail stores

We have decided to open six of our retail shops from 1 June 2020. These are:

Doncaster, Fountain Gate, Southland, Watergardens, Bendigo and Wodonga.

We will trial both how we manage customer traffic in-store and assess the demand levels in the six stores before considering any other openings. Some other stores will have staff present as part of our call centre operations, but these will not be open to Members.

Our Leisure Properties – RACV Resorts and Club Operations

Our Resorts operate in three states, Victoria, Queensland, and Tasmania. Whilst every State Government are easing restrictions, each have different timelines.

We are working towards the potential openings of some parts of our Resort and Club properties as we head towards the June school holidays but do not have a firm timeline yet given the changes being announced by Governments and the need to diligently work through the implications of each.

We need to ensure that each property is ready to deliver great experiences for Members and guests, whilst meeting the enhanced safety protocols required by the Government.

How we operate our Resorts and Clubs will clearly be different. Some examples of what you can expect to see implemented when we can safely re-open at scale are likely to include:

  • Measures to support social distancing
  • Measures to help prevent contact including cashless transactions
  • Recording of names and contact details of all members and guests to enable tracing if any COVID-19 cases are reported on site
  • Bookings may be required for most, if not all, individual facilities on each property to support social distancing and manage the number of people throughout the various spaces
  • Phased dining with only some restaurants open
  • It is likely some parts of each property will be closed longer than others, dependant on Government safety protocols
  • Not all accommodation will be open at each property during the first weeks of openings, with waitlists established to help manage demand

We opened our four golf courses in Victoria, and one in Queensland, on 15 May 2020 but do not see the changes announced yesterday leading to any immediate material changes to our operations, notably any openings of any parts of our Resort and Club properties before the week of 22 June 2020. 

You should expect to see a measured and progressive re-opening of our Resort and Clubs noting that not all will re-open at the same time. All will need time to get ready to receive you, our Members, which we are all greatly looking forward to.

For ongoing updates on any changes to any operations, please visit our dedicated page. All updates will appear here first and will detail exactly what we will be offering at each property as and when the different components reopen.

Please see some short videos from Emergency Roadside Assistance, Emergency Home Assistance services and tips from RACV's Handy Andy.

Your patience and support are appreciated as we seek to progress with re-openings over the months ahead.

Written by Neil Taylor, Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer
May 26, 2020