The hospitality industry came to a standstill during the lockdown period in India and across the globe. With the government unlocking the businesses in a phased manner, hotels across the nation is now opened to serve guests. With a little or no movement of travellers, hoteliers are now looking at innovative measures to attract guests to various hotels and resorts. Currently, the trend which has picked up are the workations and staycation packages, which hoteliers are looking as a temporary or a short-term remedy to restore business. Kerala hoteliers have received warm response from their patrons for these latest packages.
Speaking about the trend, Raja Gopal Iyer, Corporate Director, Uday Samudra Resorts, Kovalam, said, “Workation and staycation as concepts are well received and we did have lot of enquiries come in with few taking it up as well. The dip in salary and unpredictable future might be the dampers here. Like they say, ‘Adversity brings the best out of you’, these sort of packages have been thought of during the pandemic for people who wish they had better privacy and luxury to work out of, or for somebody who wishes they sat out in a different safe place than home to bring out the best in them at work, this is something we can definitely look as an add-on amenity, once we resume normal business but definitely the void can’t be filled with this.”
Few hoteliers have gone a step ahead to blend workations and staycations with wellness tourism. With health and wellness being at the core, few hotels have introduced work and yoga packages. “Key features of Niramayam Healthy Work Station package is to help the people working to correct their lifestyle, treat the body, mind and soul, boost immunity without loss of pay and without compromising on their work schedule. We provide a hygienic, safe, sanitised and silent environment with yoga and meditation to make them healthy and wealthy,” O M Rakesh, MD, Niramayam Ayurveda Resort, said.
Echoing similar opinion, Anish Verghese, MD, Beyond Era, Munnar, added, “We have announced Workation packages where we provide guests with all facilities for a working online. Hope we would have more people would be using as this helps them avoid the monotony of working from their homes. We offer long stay workation packages that include uninterrupted internet connectivity with homely food and a silent place to work. We in addition also have stress relief packages that includes Yoga, one to one consulting and other rejuvenation therapies.”
These new segments are short term filler businesses for most of the hotels with only 10 per cent of the total revenue being contributed from this segment. “There will not be any permanent changes, all the changes are temporary in the hospitality industry. But this pandemic has definitely proven that traditional health care system like Ayurveda has enough potential to prevent such diseases,” Rakesh said.
Kerala being one of the top destinations for eco-tourism, the destination is on most of the traveller’s radar. In terms of instilling confidence amongst traveler and the trends, Verghese added, “Hygiene levels would be one of the most important factors. Sanitising & social distancing would become a part of our daily activities. In the long run things will be back to normal while taking care of hygiene. The demand for unexplored and smaller accommodation units would gain popularity where the interactions with strangers would be minimal. Villages and nature friendly would see higher demand in the new normal.”
Every hotel is now looking to offer utmost flexibility in terms of bookings, modification and cancellations. Iyer said, “Flexibility is one of the most important aspects when booking hotels. New policies that adapt to unforeseen changes, like business meetings that may unexpectedly change or vacations that will need to be delayed due to sudden travel restrictions being imposed, will need to be developed. By offering flexibility to the customer, hotels can give a degree of confidence to their customers who are undoubtedly worried when booking accommodations due to the inherent insecurity of possible isolation situations, closing of borders, and flight cancellations.”