With the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, the entire world came to a halt causing many travel plans to be laid to waste. But the question remains – after such an enormous shake-up, how extensive has the pandemic changed our approach to luxury travel?
As COVID-19 continues to impact travel globally, it is important to observe industry forecasts and trends that will ultimately shape the recovery strategy as hotels begin to plan for the initial rebound in travel demand.
As international travel is resuming slowly, travellers will be more mindful and cautious than before. Luxury travellers want to be assured that protocols are not just in place but also being followed. The cashless and touchless transaction would be preferred. Many properties are moving towards mobile or app-based check-ins with in-depth questionnaires weeks before arrival.
The Lanesborough, London
Most travellers are interested in browsing the internet for quick getaway trips with experienced hosts who can guarantee safety with stringent health checks. Technologically adept places with medical facilities will be a must. Security and screening will become the norm with wellness at the core of all functions. A doctor on call will be as important as offering wellness programs, yoga, spa, gourmet meals, etc.
Health and hygiene will be a major facility with guests taking extra precautions in making sure that their rooms and all common areas are not just cleaned but also regularly sanitized. Social media will become the new go-to tour agent and people more than ever will be drawn in by authentic storytelling and experiences.
Our clients, the many Luxury hotels we represent all have implemented additional housekeeping and sanitation procedures ahead of their re-opening for domestic guests. Across the board, we’ve seen new measures being introduced for the cleaning of rooms, and modified check-in and checkout processes to facilitate social distancing practices.
Hotel Le Bristol, Paris
Hotel dining establishments have also rearranged their seating layouts to ensure proper distancing between patrons and are now encouraging in-room dining instead of restaurant dining. Staff health is also closely monitored, with practices such as regular temperature checks, the mandatory wearing of masks and gloves and other similar measures.
Sustainability has taken a front seat post-pandemic and we hope this trend will translate in guests willing to pay more if their accommodation follows eco-friendly and sustainability practices.
Having realised just how precious privacy is, travellers will inevitably eschew conventional high-density hotels – even when vacationing in large groups – in favour of resorts and lodges that offer single- or low double-digit accommodation options. There would be an increase in demand for anything to do with ‘private’ – from planes to villas or private islands. Some hotel operators who do not have a private villa set-up are already thinking about creating small clusters of rooms that can be privatised.
Ultima Collection Hotels
We think nature will be a big factor in travel from now on, along with wellness and health. Family travel will also likely see a boost as the social distancing measures appear to have bolstered familial relationships. Meaningful and experiential travel will prevail.
I am hoping this pandemic has made our world realise the importance of the environment and being sustainable in our everyday actions – this crisis surely does reminds us that being genuinely kind is the foundation of the hospitality industry.
Having spent more than 20 years in Asia, this captivating continent never ceases to amaze Christine. In 1998, having successfully led the expansion of a satellite office of an acclaimed Singapore organization in Bali Indonesia, Christine was appointed the DOSM at Chiva-Som, Thailand.
Further which Christine decided to start her independent business venture fusing her former experience and expertise. She was keen to provide personal marketing strategies for truly extraordinary and unique travel destinations. As a result, Heavens Portfolio was launched in August 2005 in Singapore.
In 15 years, Heavens Portfolio has rapidly expanded to represent over 40 distinct luxury travel experiences across the globe. She has formed with her team a solid reputation based on delivery of clients objectives through inspired sales, media and marketing targeted messaging.
Lead Image Credits : Cheval Blanc St-Barth