As the coronavirus continues to take its toll around the world, we’ve had some time to ask ourselves “What will happen next?”. One month into our lockdown here in France with another month to go, we have some ideas as to what our post-coronavirus world could look like. Here are our predictions for what we can expect when we finally emerge from the lockdown and have the virus ‘under control.’
1. The Return of Domestic Travel
There’s no question that once the lockdown is lifted, people will want to get out of their homes. We expect that people will start by traveling domestically around their own country, since it is very likely that international travel bans will still remain in place potentially until the end of this summer or longer.
Here in France, we are beginning to see an uptick in domestic travel inquiries as our clients are anticipating the lockdown to slowly end starting from May 11th. We hope the same is happening in other countries as they plan their next steps.
2. Protective Measures Continues
Until a viable vaccine or a treatment is developed and distributed, we expect certain types of protective measures to continue and become a norm in our daily lives. Much like parts of Asia where life is slowly returning back to “normal”, we see social distancing, wearing masks, cleaning hands and temperature checks remain a part of their daily lives to help monitor and reduce the transmission of the virus.
These protective measures will impact our travel and hospitality industry in many different ways such as requiring a minimum of 1-meter spacing between diners in a restaurant, changing the queuing methods at famous monuments, and limiting the size of tour groups and group activities.
3. Screening & Testing
Once international travel bans are lifted and borders are re-opened (we hope by this fall), we expect screening and testing for the virus to become an additional step in the airport check-in and arrival procedures. Screening measures such as temperature checks and wearing masks are already in place in Asia and will most likely be rolled out everywhere else in the world.
With these control points and measures in place at most international airports, this could mean longer lines at departures and arrivals at the airports. The 14-day quarantine requirements may continue in certain countries, upon arrival into a new country and upon return from international travel. If rapid testing for the virus becomes more accurate and accessible, we can expect to see travelers be required to be tested right before departure or show proof that they have immunity in order to travel more freely.
4. A New Hospitality Standard
There’s no question that all of us will need to offer a new level of hospitality for our clients. The challenge we will all face is, how can we keep our clients safe from the virus during their trip or stay with us? For sure, all types of accommodations will be held to a higher standard of cleaning than ever before. Every surface and textile will not only have to be wiped down and replaced after each stay, but also completely disinfected to ensure that the next guest who may arrive that same day, will have a virus-free stay.
Guests may even prefer a contact-less check-in, where they would rather not be welcomed by another person. Welcome gifts could even include face masks and hand sanitizers and concierge services could expand to include medical consultations, in-stay emergency care, or even private COVID-19 treatments. Hospitality services will continue to move online where possible and customer service response times will have to become faster than before.
5. Flexible Cancellation Policy
For as long as the vaccine is not available, we unfortunately will continue to be at risk of another outbreak. For the travel industry, this means that we must be prepared to face another shutdown, lockdown or travel ban. Facing such uncertainties will be a temporary norm until a vaccine is rolled out. We will have to be ready to extend our flexible cancellation policy and offer free rescheduling or full refunds for any coronavirus related cancellations.
Keep in mind that these predictions are simply our own personal opinions of what we think will come next. If you have some other ideas of what the post-coronavirus future may look, we would love to hear them!
In the meantime, as this global lockdown continues, we hope that you and your loved ones remain safe, strong, and calm. When this is all over, we hope to welcome you or your guests at one of our properties around the world.
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At Prestigious, we curate exceptional homes, villas and chalets around the world so that our clients can experience a stay unlike any other. With over 500 properties across 27 destinations around the world, we are always expanding our property and service offerings into new destinations.
During this pandemic, the Prestigious team is working from home in France, sharing our experience, curating our dream destinations and answering any questions that you may have.