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Will the COVID-19 test become a hotel standard?

We can see the light at the end of the tunnel and the opportunity to travel again soon. We have big hopes for the summer, with only a few more months to hang in there. We would all like to see normality restored – and finally have the opportunity to travel. Hotels and airlines are meticulously preparing to be ready for the end of the pandemic. One question remains, however… what will this time look like? All hopes are currently based on the vaccinations. The vaccination roll-out has already started in many countries. Although governments have secured large quantities of the vaccine, there are still some problems they must overcome. On the one hand, from a logistical point of view, and on the other many people are reluctant to be inoculated. There is a consensus that traveling will only be possible with a vaccination in tomorrow’s travel world. For now, only the risk groups are vaccinated, but the question remains when one will receive a vaccination for a planned trip? As every country is pursuing a different strategy, it will likely go one of two ways; either you will be required to show your vaccination certificate or present a negative PCR test. Smart testing in Dubai In the past few months, Dubai has shown how good organizations can protect visitors’ health risks. First, the Emirates Airline introduced mandatory tests for every passenger. You can now be tested quickly and easily in any hotel for the return journey in Dubai itself. Some hotels go a step further and offer guests the COVID-19 test free of charge. For example, guests can test for free at the Atlantis Palm Hotel if they stay five nights or more. Europe lags behind In Europe, the test infrastructure is far from ideal. The reason for this is that for a long time, the COVID-19 tests were only available to people who had symptoms – but not to those who travel. However, this has improved significantly in recent months. There are now test stations on many flights that guarantee a result within 5 hours. For example, two weeks ago, at Zürich airport, a COVID-19 test center was opened. The PCR test kits, which can be sent to your home and then sent to a laboratory, are possible, but the question remains: Will it be carried out properly? Badrutt’s Palace takes on a pioneering role The Badrutts Palace Hotel in St. Moritz is taking a new approach. They are one of the first hotels in Europe to require a negative PCR test from every guest at check-in. For the guests to feel safe besides, the hotel requires their staff to be tested regularly. The question now arises as to whether this approach makes sense? Will this soon be “the new normal,” or will it deter guests? The answer is two-fold, as the whole pandemic is seen from both sides. For some guests, the testing facility gives them the security of considering a hotel stay at all – others think this would go a step too far and would be an infringement of their rights. If this principle should prevail, then the hotels must guarantee a short and smooth process. Just like it is the standard for return travelers in Dubai. Hotels in the USA also prepare for the opening of borders The hotels in the USA are currently receiving almost exclusively national guests. For this reason, many luxury hotels, especially in the cities, are still closed. But behind these closed doors, the preparations are in full force. Many hotels have converted rooms adjacent to the lobby (such as the luggage storage room) into test centers. Hoteliers believe in the United States that hotel testing will become standard practice until the pandemic is contained. Even if it is not required by law, it could be a decisive competitive advantage. Better preparation is required At PrivateUpgrades, we take customer needs very seriously. In the last few months, there have been a lot of questions about the planned hotel stays. It is important to us that everyone has a pleasant stay. To ensure this, we discuss each reservation with the management of the respective hotel. On the one hand, this gives the customer a sense of security, and on the other hand, the hotel is prepared and already knows what is essential to the customer upon arrival. Even during the pandemic, our customers report excellent hotel stays – both sides have to prepare more intensively, and then nothing stands in the way of a relaxing stay. 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. In the very best hotels, I can foresee a Covid – 19 test becoming part of the check-out procedure, possibly with a transfer to a quarantine hotel if required.

    I get the impression that Dubai is leading the world in Covid precautions. As the world’s busiest airport it has a vested interest in resuming business as soon as possible.

    1. I think that you are right. Over the coming months it is inevitable that tests will become cheaper and quicker. Ultimately, the cost of a test will not be too big a percentage of a room rate for a top class hotel.

  2. I think hotels will be doing absolutely everything possible to attract visitors. Suddenly a negative Covid test before you fly home will become far more important than a minibar, huge flat screen TV and jacuzzi bath combined!!!

    1. Hello Angela. Yes, you are absolutely right. The values are shifting due to this pandemic – what we don’t yet know is what the new reality will ultimately look like. We will all travel again – just a bit different

  3. I stayed in many hotels in the U.K. last summer and almost of them had excellent Covid safety precautions in place. One-way systems and social distancing were faultless, hygiene routines were impeccable. Sadly, occupancy levels were well down but it all contributed to helping me feel very safe indeed.

    1. It’s wonderful, John, that you share your experiences here and motivate others to travel. It is indeed the case that almost all guests feel safe in the hotels and the hotels try everything possible to enable guest´s stays as normal as possible.

  4. I have been dreading any kind of air travel and have not done any since the pandemic started. But all the precautions and testing, along with the vaccines, have made it quite enticing again to travel. I wouldn’t mind going through all these if it means getting to see the world again.

  5. Hello Dane – you feel like many people who haven’t been traveling for a year – but are very longing to travel. In most holiday countries, you feel far less of the pandemic than at home. You only have to be able to represent the trip morally for yourself. But now we all hope that the situation will get better until summer and that we can all travel again soon.

  6. At the moment, it seems like PCR testing for flights – especially if you are double vaccinated, are gradually becoming less of a necessity, in Europe at least. So hopefully testing at hotels will not have to become the norm.

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