Covid-19 effect: Luxury hotels go all out to lure local patrons amid the pandemic

It's been over a year since the Covid pandemic brought the whole world to a standstill. Today, almost everybody is struggling to accept the 'new normal' and find some sort of semblance in their lives. Now, as we slowly move out of the second Covid phase, and after being cooped up indoors for months on end, many people are itching to move out the four walls of their homes and soak in the outdoors in whatever ways they can. For the wanderlust, and those who can, are moving out of their cities, visiting different places. But, then there are those, who don't want to risk travelling and are opting for staycations in their own cities.

With research showing that 70 per cent of Indian travellers becoming more price-conscious when planning a holiday, many luxury hotels are now offering amazing discounts, complimentary salon and spa treatments, exotic gastronomical delights and everything in-between to persuade local customers to make a booking. “These thoughtful staycation experiences may be the perfect way for guests to savour some cherished downtime. The last few months have not been easy on anyone, and since there has been a pause on travel for some time now, guests have a certain post pandemic fatigue. A staycation within beautiful surrounds where they feel taken care of, can provide a much needed reprieve. Blessed with numerous al fresco areas in our restaurants and abundant gardens and green spaces, we are able to provide a restful resort like feel to guests,” claims Vijay Ramamoorthy, Director of Marketing, Four Seasons Hotel Bengaluru.

The benefits

Many people are looking for safe ways to restore some semblance of normal life. Activities that were postponed due to the lockdown are now being revived. Those who check into any of the Indian Hotel Company’s brands such as the Taj, Vivanta or Ginger can enjoy an upgradation to the next category, a complimentary breakfast, one meal, a daily hotel credit, and a 20 per cent discount on the spa and salon. “Staycationers are typically people from within the city who are looking to break monotony and experience five star hospitality. With two meals included they see value for money. Pre Covid times the similar package would have costed anywhere between 12000-15000 plus taxes. It’s now available for 40% cost,” affirms Rishabh Bhargava, commercial director, Hilton.

Four Seasons’ Tranquility Package running at the moment is an amalgam of inclusions in a luxurious room or suite, with every need taken care of. Including a sumptuous breakfast, WiFi to remain connected and a choice of lunch or dinner. “The Tranqulity Package is for those who are seeking quiet time and a change of scene from the home front. This thoughtful staycation experience may be the perfect way to savour some cherished downtime for our guests who miss their dose of travel,” states Vijay.

For Mumbai, Four Seasons is offering a basic room for Rs 6,800 per night, which includes meals and taxes. For a suite, the rate is almost double.

Hilton’s Great Small Breaks staycation package includes breakfast, dinner, WiFi, kids stay free, access to amenities (pool, gym, jacuzzi etc.), early check in (10 am onwards) and late check out (up to 6 pm) and upgrade to higher category subject to availability.

The safety measures

Before opting for staycation in Covid times, we need to be aware of their safety measures and how well they are following it. “We identified high touch points (by guests) in the room, public areas, restaurants, inside the elevator, etc. which became the bare minimum that each of our hotel should sanitise regularly. Every room is sealed after it is cleaned before the arrival. At the gym, and other amenities used by guests — we have put limit to number of guests that can use the facility at any given point in time,” informs Rishabh.

Four Seasons App and Chat allow guests to control how they engage with others — limiting face-to-face interactions while maintaining the highest levels of personal service. Guests are encouraged to use Four Seasons App and Chat, through which they will have contactless access to property teams in 100+ different languages.

Recreational activities

There are daily activities for junior guests like pizza and cupcake making or learning flower art with the Housekeeping teams, while adults can enjoy leisurely strolls in the hotel gardens or take a personalised sushi making class by Chef Yonaha at Far & East, Four Seasons.

There are many hotels, like the Four Seasons, which are also making their furry guests feels at home. Pets have their own beds provided by the hotel, with a personal bowl to make them feel welcome. Their Garden Suites have adjoining private terraces, which are like

private apartments and allow staycationing pets the free space to explore. A special a la carte Pet Menu is available for in-room orders for the furry guests.

Chefs are happy to cater to dietary requirements, when requested. “Hilton offers engagement activities for adults like cooking session and mocktail making session and for kids we have drawing material and pots to paint etc., apart from this we also have a kid’s play area, outdoor badminton court and a library,” concludes Rishabh.

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