With Covid-19 having had a huge impact on travel plans across the globe, you could be forgiven for thinking that most people were planning on staying at home for the foreseeable future, And, with worries over the solvency of many international airlines and hotels after the prolonged period of restrictions and closures finally comes to an end, it has left many plans for the future up in the air.
But new research by Overseas Leisure Group, a luxury travel operator in 34 countries across the globe, has shown that the travel and tourism industry might just bounce back sooner than we think – and that’s largely thanks to the fact that many of us are using the extra time at home to plan our luxury breaks for 2021.
It’s encouraging news for the bruised travel industry, and indicates the pent-up demand for hotels and resorts to open their doors in time for the summer vacation season. Whether Covid-19 will be under control remains to be seen, but it’s proof that many are eager to get back to a more normal way of living, and to get out and explore the world once again.
The nationwide survey by the leading Miami-based travel group, which has a growing global network dedicated to providing travel professionals with insider expertise for all luxury travel needs, was conducted among 500 travel enthusiasts in the United Kingdom between April 24th and April 28th, and revealed a series of positive trends in tourism for the immediate future and remainder of the year. Despite the current Coronavirus pandemic, the survey shows 80 per cent of British travellers are already making plans for their next vacation and 41 per cent would consider a vacation as early as this summer.
Amongst the wealthy, at least, it seems the current financial situation has had less impact than in amongst other groups, and their optimism towards a resurgence within the travel and tourism industry could provide a welcome boost for airlines and hotels. 87 per cent of those polled said that they would consider the travel market to be on pause rather than permanently transformed, while 42 per cent said they were ready to make a reservation now if it was risk free (no deposit / cancellation fee).
One initiative that could make that a possibility is Carefree Bookings – a response to these results that offers a convenient way of making a reservation with more than 1,000 of today’s leading destinations and experiences around the world. Without the need for a deposit and with no cancellation fee if travel plans change, it could be just the solution luxury travellers have been looking for, and could soon help to bolster the industry even sooner than we think.
The scheme’s cancellation policy is truly carefree, whereby if payment isn’t made 7 days prior to the arrival date (to guarantee the reservation), the booking is automatically cancelled with no penalty whatsoever. These no-strings-attached terms for the Carefree Bookings initiative apply to travel between June 1st and October 31st, 2020, and serve as a great incentive for those who are itching to get that sunshine break booked in but aren’t sure yet how the global landscape will develop over the coming weeks.
Some of today’s leading hotels, resorts and experiential providers participating in the Carefree Booking programme include COMO Hotels and Resorts, 1 Hotel, Auberge, Belmond, Crowne Plaza, Disney, Fairmont, Four Seasons, Hard Rock, Hyatt, InterContinental, Kimpton, Lowes, Marriott, Meridien, Peninsula, Ritz Carlton, Rosewood, St Regis, and Westin Hotels and Resorts.
So, with plenty of the biggest names in luxury travel on the list, it’s good news all round.
If you’re craving a little adventure after being stuck inside for so long, then the service offers plenty of those, too – think surf lessons in Malibu with actor John Philbin (Point Break), and private helicopter rides with Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters, amongst others. Since many of us have had to cancel travel plans, it goes without saying that the next trip should be made extra memorable – and what better way than a unique experience like one of these?
“With millions of hospitality related jobs on the line, it was deemed essential to obtain vital insight from travellers themselves. Our nationwide survey offers an excellent indication on which direction we can expect to see the UK travel market head following the current wave of Coronavirus,” says Felix Brambilla, CEO of Overseas Leisure Group.
“After more than six weeks of confinement, dreams of resuming our adventures are increasingly front-of-mind. We are seeing a higher-than-usual interest in more secluded staycations, away from the crowds, and domestic destinations where regulations are less likely to be an obstacle. Our network of travel advisors came up with Carefree Bookings as an early solution to allow travel planning again in response to these revealing survey results.”
“In these extraordinary times, we believe strong partnership is fundamental to our business acumen, therefore we are thrilled to partner with Overseas Leisure Group’s new initiative Carefree Bookings,” says Michele Bondanelli, global sales director at Luxury, Lifestyle and Leisure for Hyatt. “A large number of Hyatt hotels are participating in the program across all brands and we look forward to welcoming their guests in the days, months and years ahead.”
So, it’s good news all round for luxury travellers, and time to start planning that next big trip. Let’s hope that soon, it’ll be back to the usual dilemmas of ‘the Maldives or St. Tropez’? Because let’s face it, it’s one of the nicest problems you could possibly have.
All imagery used in this article credit: Overseas Leisure Group