Love to travel but worried about safety in these distressing times? Don’t worry, you are not alone. There are not many things travellers can be certain about due to the pandemic spreading the way it has in the last two months. From new launches to unique offers that are teamed up with sanitisation programs, the travel and hospitality industry is reinventing itself to meet the real time challenges that are coming its way.
New hotel launches in July include Radisson Blu Resort Dharamshala, which is located amidst the foothills of the picturesque Dhauladhar Himalayan range and surrounded by pine forests. The resort offers easy accessibility for travellers from Delhi and Punjab, as it is well connected to the national highway 503 and only 16 kms away from Gaggal airport. For families, the resort’s Family Recreation and Gaming Zone is expected to offer several on-site activities such as VR gaming, interactive games and arcade games to ensure indoor fun-filled activities.
Clearly, safety is the primary concern for all stakeholders in the travel and hospitality segment.
In today’s story, we speak to key stakeholders in the travel and hospitality industry to understand how they are gearing up with enhanced safety measures.
COVID-19 Second Wave: Emergency travel and cab services witness spike in bookings
To enable safe cab rides, Savaari rolled out easy-to-afford one way cab services spanning 15 lakh routes in the country and their emergency travel related bookings witnessed a spike in April 2021.
Gaurav Aggarwal, CEO and Founder, Savaari Car Rentals observes, “In fact, the number is as high as 35%, reaffirming the customer’s faith in our services during distressing times. This is also indicative of the customer’s trust in superior COVID-precautions.”
A notable trend highlighted by Savaari’s CEO is that people from tier III cities are currently showing a preference for intercity cabs to take COVID-19 patients to nearby metro/TIer II cities for better healthcare facilities. In this context, safety protocols played a pivotal role in travellers opting for cab services repeatedly for inter state and local travel.
COVID-19 Second Wave: New hotel launches, irresistible gift offers among key trends
As the hotel industry faces heat in terms of muted bookings, several well known hospitality brands in the country are preparing for the future. While industry insiders are not fully optimistic about the revival in industry this year, this has not stopped new launches and interesting offers to entice travellers to plan and even gift trips to their loved ones.
According to Vikram Lalvani, Chief of Revenue, Sales and Destinations, Sterling Holiday Resorts Ltd, “At Sterling we believe holidays are not just earned but also gifted. To help spread the joyfulness of a break from the impending lockdowns across the country, Sterling announced, Sterling ‘Spark Joy’ . A product that brings back the trend of gifting a holiday and makes it easy for anyone to Spark Joy in their loved ones by gifting them a ‘Sterling Spark Joy’ gift card. With an easy to buy and easy to redeem process on our website, one can choose any unique occasion to gift someone a holiday. The receiver can redeem the value of the e-gift card anytime while booking their holiday.”
COVID-10 second wave: Safety comes first for hotel guests
Consider how Sterling Holiday Resorts Ltd teamed up with Apollo Clinics to ensuresafety protocols at its resorts across the country. The program rolls out sanitisation and hygiene guidelines and processes for guests, employees and vendors, with a set of protocols applicable across both guest facing and back of the house services and facilities at all Sterling Resorts.
New sets of games and indoor holiday activities have been designed in rooms of guests and in designated areas within its resorts, thereby conforming to the norms of social distancing, safety and hygiene. Additionally, for weddings and conferences, a range of spacious venue options are provided to ensure social distancing between sessions, in the resort’s large lawns and pre-function areas.
Highlighting its significance, Vikram Lalvani, Chief of Revenue, Sales and Destinations, Sterling Holiday Resorts Ltd informs Financial Express Online, “ Sterling CARES is a 360-degree comprehensive sanitisation program to ensure the highest level of safety and hygiene at our resorts. Apollo is Asia’s foremost healthcare provider. The programme is in line with the latest guidelines recommended by the Government and institutions like WHO, ICMR and FSSAI – to ensure the guests have a safe and fun-filled holiday.”
He further elaborates on the Sterling ‘CARES’ safety protocols, which begins right from a guest’s pre-arrival to check-out, thereby using minimal paperwork and sanitisation of the high-contact areas every 2 hours, “Most Sterling properties are spread out over acres of land and the accommodation is dispersed providing plenty of space for guests to enjoy natural social distancing during their stay. Sterling has put together a whole set of social distancing measures with minimal human intervention in food and beverage, including contact-less dining experiences – with QR code menus, buffets served by staff and takeaway options in addition to the traditional a-la carte offerings.”
No doubt, travel across India has been hard hit during the second wave of COVID-19 as travellers are turning more cautious about stepping out of their homes. Once the situation slowly hobbles back to normalcy, there will still be a huge learning curve for the country’s travel and hospitality industry.
According to Nikhil Kapur, Founder and Director at Atmantan Wellness, “The hospitality sector will take time to revive as people will choose their destinations mindfully. But the wellness sector is poised for revival and one can expect one of the biggest changes to come from the exponential growth due to digital services and how the hospitality industry takes this forward.”
What is also likely to drive both the travel and hospitality industry is its ability to reinvent itself and prioritize safety protocols, enabling all who love to travel to find the courage and conviction to do so and yet without compromising on safety.
As everyone thought the worst was over, the situation changed drastically and became deadlier. Even as the country geared up to battle the second wave, the basic safety measures such as social distancing, wearing masks and stepping out only for essential requirements aren’t being followed. All of these have also contributed to the worsening situation that emerged during the second wave.