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What is the hotel experience like now and after COVID-19?

The COVID-19 pandemic has substantially changed our lives for the past months. During the lockdown, we all drastically missed our freedom – and even more the freedom to travel. But easing around the globe is slowly beginning with the prospect of resuming, reasonable normality once again. The pandemic has affected the entire world, and every country has taken different measures to combat the effects of the pandemic. Furthermore, every country and region has adopted its own specific ways to best deal with improvement strategies after the pandemic outbreak. China is the first to open China’s tourism industry was hit the hardest by the pandemic. But now the first planes are taking off again and the hotels open their welcoming doors again. While, many guests have been enjoying themselves in China for 3 week-long stays, this is now imminent in Europe. The United States is expected to follow in a few weeks. The luxury hotels in China are already enjoying a 35% occupancy, which gives reason for a positive outlook. The up and rising trend now is domestic travel and longer stays We are all individually looking forward to a break and a change of scenery from the quarantine. The trend to guarantee the best of safety, over the next few weeks and months will be domestic travel and longer stays in one hotel instead of combining several hotels. This allows everyone to explore the beauty of once own country. Where, within your limits, you have mostly only spent weekend stays in recent years, now the opportunity has risen to experience your own country intensively in 2020. The post COVID-19 hotel experience With the joy of being able to reopen hotels, the governments have imposed policies and many safety regulations. Hotels are now complying and adapting to the regulations in place while also being concerned about offering the highest service standards and experiences. The safety regulations are different for every country, and therefore cannot be described as a general hotel experience under the situation. The only measure in place that will be standardized everywhere, is that guests are entrusted with the new regulations at check-in and must ensure compliance with a signature. Post COVID-19 in China China has seen significant changes in hotels in the last 3 weeks. While the hotel employees were fitted with full-body protective suits at the beginning of the outbreak, today the employees are just wearing a mask. Hotels measure every guest’s temperature at Check-in and must also show the green health code on their app. This app is operated by Alipay and is based on a self-declaration basis. In all hotels, the wellness areas are the most severely affected by the strictest safety restrictions. Saunas are still closed, and there are different procedures for the use of the pools. The requirements are either being enrolled on a list, that defines how long you can use the pool – or pools are controlled and supervised by tenants that ensure that every guest has a 6m2 of pool space between them available. All employees wear masks in all areas of the hotel. Guests are required to wear masks in the lobby and public areas. While in restaurants and the rooms the wearing of a mask can be excluded. In the rooms themselves, the guest feels no difference, except that from time to time it can smell of disinfectant. Post COVID-19 in Europe Europe is in a new phase with hotels re-opening. Generally, having a much more moderate process than in China. In Berlin, guests are not en-forced and required to wear a mask in hotels – but employees always wear masks. Yet, if guests prefer to wear a mask the hotels generally will provide masks. Disinfectants can be found at various locations in the hotel. Wellness areas in Europe mostly remain closed for the time being. Here, too, there will be safety procedures in re-opening with solutions very much like imposed in China. Social distancing is practiced in the restaurants and half of all tables are removed. The design aesthetics of the hotels will suffer from this in many places, but the safety of guests coming first is placed on the highest priority. In the kitchens, too, there is stricter and special safety regulation for handling food so as not to offer any source of danger. Many hotels will refrain from taking temperature measurements during check-in, if the regulations allow it. It is of great importance for the hotels to offer their valued guest an experience and environment that is as normal possible. How long will it all go on? The hardest fact about this pandemic is, there is no predicting when and whether it will end. But fears and worries won‘t get us anywhere – optimism must prevail. We have to get back to our lives before this outbreak, prehaps now with more gatitude and willingness, to enjoy and create special moments and allow our passions to soar once again. We may still see setbacks here and there, and probably we will experience life differently than before the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet, travelling will still be an important part of our lives. We are in contact with authorities from various countries every day – if you have a question about the feasibility or safety of a trip, you can contact us and we are available to advise and help. Guido Graf is Founder of Privateupgrades. Privateupgrades is a global luxury travel club with over 20 years of experience in luxury hotels, ensuring exclusive VIP privileges like upgrades, free breakfast, free nights, rate discounts, free airport transfers, free massages and much more. If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.

Guido Graf

Guido Graf, born in Vienna, is a respected businessman and pioneer in the European luxury travel industry. After studying in Switzerland, he founded Deluxetargets in 2001, one of the most esteemed companies for luxury travel in Europe. In 2017, he recognized the growing importance of the digital market and launched PrivateUpgrades, an online platform providing access to over 2000 luxury hotels with exclusive VIP benefits. Graf is widely acknowledged as an expert in luxury hotels and continually sets new standards for exceptional travel experiences. Moreover, since 2008, he is the exclusive representative for Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic in Switzerland. Graf also sits on advisory boards of several renowned luxury hotel brands and has held a consulting role in several significant hotel openings such as the Royal Atlantis in Dubai. His innovative spirit and entrepreneurial foresight make him a leading figure in the luxury travel industry.

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  1. Many cou tries require “health certificate” when entering their border (e.g. at their airport if by plane). What is this actuallt, and s there guidance as to how to obtain it in a country?

    1. Hello Dhira. Some countries insist on a Corona test upon entry. However, the test is not cheap and the evaluation takes a few hours to a week. I assume that this requirement will not be up to date for long. Austria, which was one of the initiators of these “tests on entry”, announced today that a corona test is no longer necessary for entry. In China, an app is considered a health certificate, but it is only based on your own information. Let’s hope we’ll see normalcy again soon.

  2. The impact of Covid-19 to hotels and other travel-related industries can be felt in all levels, by employees, owners, and guests. It’s sad that we can’t enjoy the luxurious vibe of staying in a hotel during this pandemic and I truly miss waking up from a really comfy bed and heading straight to the buffet area for breakfast. This pandemic changed the world but I hope in the future we can go back to some semblance of the old normal but with more care than abandon.

    1. The staff of the hotels miss the guests! Such a profession only makes you happy if you have passion and can provide high-quality service. The people in the hotels do everything they can to make guests happy again and to return to a normal hotel routine. So a perfect time for a hotel experience!

  3. The big difference with China and elsewhere like here in the UK, or at least one of the big differences, is that the majority are wearing masks. Surely that’s got to help at least somewhat providing the masks have a few layers and people are using them appropriately. If or when hopefully I travel again, I’d be much more confident if I knew everyone was wearing a mask on the transport and within the hotels themselves in public areas. Compliance with a signature, good idea. That’s part of the worry with things like this in that you’re having to trust others to do the right thing and be cautious. It’s very well telling someone what the suggested rules are but it’s another having everyone actually pay heed to them.

    I agree on doing away with temperature checks if the government allows it, not just to keep the hotel experience as close to normal but because it seems fairly pointless when a good proportion of those with the virus are asymptomatic, or show some symptoms but not a raging fever.

    It’ll be interesting to see how things are in practice when we holiday again, and you’re right, we need to take an optimistic approach because the fear and pessimism won’t drive things forward the way they need to go.

    1. Thanks for your comment Charlie. The hotels are currently in conflict – on the one hand regulations come from the government and on the other hand every guest is different. Some guests keep their distance and wear masks, others have had enough of the pandemic and want to return to normal life. The feat for hotels is now to look after each guest individually, ensuring that the perfect hotel experience is given.

    2. I think you got it very right about the whole wearing the masks thing. It seems like that’s becoming a big issue in certain parts of the world where people refuse to wear a mask for whatever reason. It’s important to wear one out in public, that’s obvious now.

  4. Thanks for this mature and optimistic post. I like how you said that optimism will prevail. It’s nice to read about how to deal with this in a healthy way rather than to constantly hear so much bad news on a daily basis. I’m glad things are starting to move in a positive direction now.

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