Travel has certainly changed in the last several months, but will it stay this way forever? Some people mistakenly believe travel has been ruined and will remain at low levels for years to come. We happen to be much more optimistic. We’re hoping we’ll see more vacations and working vacations now that more people can work remotely. So what does that mean for specific types of travel, like air travel and hotel travel?
The folks at Lonely Planet, one of the premier travel writing publications in the world, recently wrote that hotel travel is changing even as the world slowly opens back up and people begin to travel again. Here are a few of their predictions.
- Cleanliness will become paramount. Hotels are already doing everything they can to make sure the hotel rooms are sanitized, as are public areas. They’re using surface-specific cleaners to make them germ-free, and different chains’ cleaning staff have undergone specialized training. We don’t think this will change anytime soon, so if anything your hotel room will be much cleaner and sanitized than before. This will also mean fewer amenities in the room — pens, paper, etc. — so there are fewer things to sanitize. (You can also sanitize your own hotel room for further peace of mind.)
- Buffet dining is a thing of the past. This one is a real heartbreaker because we love breakfast buffets. Social distancing is a problem when you’re gathered around an omelet station at a luxury hotel, or waiting in line for the waffle station. Plus everyone handling the tongs and ladles is problematic. Some buffets have servers who are standing and serving, such as a cafeteria, but they’re few and far between. Also, afternoon snacks at hotel front desks and bowls of peanuts at bars are going to be out as well.
- Check-ins will become contactless. Some hotels have gone to entirely self-service check-ins, letting you walk straight to your room and using your mobile phone as your hotel key. Others will let you check-in at the front desk, but you do have to maintain social distancing when standing in line. Some hotels are doing temperature checks on guests. Anyone with a temperature over 100.4 will receive additional screening before they’re allowed to check-in.
- Perks will become limited. Gyms and pools, once some of the biggest attractions for hotels, will become limited in their use. People have already cut out their gym memberships during the pandemic, and this will likely carry over into the hotel industry as well. Some hotels are requiring three square meters per user, so depending on the size of the gym, you may be better off just going for a walk or run outside. Hotels are doing more frequent cleaning in the gyms, but you should be cleaning off your equipment anyway.
- Leisure time will take extra work. If you wanted to lay out by the pool, you’re going to have to be socially distanced here too. And don’t plan on spending a lot of time at an indoor pool, because unless there’s a lot of ventilation, an enclosed room means you could still get sick. Anyplace that’s well-ventilated — such as the outdoors or a room with an active air exchange — will be safer, but you’ll still need to stay distanced. And as long as the pools are chlorinated properly and operated within their standards, they should already be safe.
If you think about it, hotel travel may actually be safer. The hotel brands are taking extra steps to keep everyone safe, but fewer people are staying there, which means it’s already less risky. If you’re still worried about what the hotels are doing, as you’re making your reservations, visit the hotel’s website to read about their plans. Or call them up and ask them what kinds of steps they’re taking to keep their guests safe, and if they have any technologies such as keyless entry, contactless check-in, or even sanitizing robots.
Do you take local vacations? How do you make a single day off seem like a vacation day? Share your thoughts with us on our Facebook page, or on our Twitter stream. You can also find us on our Instagram page at @TravelproIntl.
Photo credit: LoboStudioHamburg (Pixabay, Creative Commons 0)