How to escape the troubled times
For context, this was written whilst travel was still a regular activity. How quickly it became out of date!
In these uncertain times we are all facing, it is difficult for anybody to know what to do with their travel plans. Most overseas holiday destinations have cancelled flights, the over 70s are advised to stay isolated, and large events, such as concerts and sporting events, are all cancelled for the time-being.
We have had our fair share of cancelled bookings already, but on the most part people are still travelling or rearranging dates. The knock-on effect of this is that we will soon have a congestion of rescheduled events and a 'bounce' of rearranged bookings later in the year.
My first thoughts during this crisis was to get on with promoting the hotel, keep the visitors coming, and show we are definitely 'open for business'. After all, many other local businesses also rely on the visitors we attract to the area and the wider economy.
The irony is that if we promote high visitor numbers during these times, we may be making the situation worse by facilitating the spread of the virus.
Human nature dictates that as this situation continues, boredom will set in and the travel bug will need its fix. So, how do we stay safe and travel for leisure - An isocation?
I do think you can still have both if precautions are taken, and a sensible outlook observed. Firstly, the usual hand-washing and hygiene rules should be maintained, and travelling by car ensures you are only commuting with people you know. Next, choose somewhere rural to go to where there is a lower density of people, and ensure you visit wide, open spaces to maintain social distancing.
My advice would be to travel if you want to, but still be sensible by tailoring your activity accordingly. Change the 'reason for travel' - so, why not get away for some calming time, and take time out for mindfulness and well-being. Take a walk along The Cotswold Way, or a circular walk through the local countryside.
On your return, by all means get a drink from the bar. There are plenty of smaller lounges and quiet places within the building to keep yourself to yourself. Even for dinner, what could be better than a night isolated in your room, with room service just a quick call away? Pair that with a good book to read and a soak in the bath for utter bliss.
Furthermore, what would make a 14-night stay in one room (or if you’re extravagant, a suite) more tolerable? Good food? Definitely. Hot water? A given. Lovely interior decorating? Perhaps. Clean sheets and a fluffy pillow? Sure. And let’s not forget about strong internet connection and possibly a big flatscreen TV, too.
So, if you cannot go overseas to get your travel fix, an isocation could be the answer. Take the opportunity to travel for some me-time, mindfulness, wellness and a re-charge of the batteries.
Whilst we continue to welcome all guests through our doors, we understand that you may have some questions or concerns about your booking during this time of uncertainty. To accommodate those staying with us (or planning to stay with us) at this time, we've made a few adjustments to our cancellation policy, which are outlined below:
- If you have pre-paid for your room or package and booked on a non cancelled, non-refundable rate we will happily work with you to find an alternative date and rearrange your stay. We will keep this open for 12 months for now, and see how things pan-out.
- If you have booked what we call a Best Available Rate, this can be cancelled up to 48 hours prior to arrival without charge. So for now, you can wait and see and make a decision nearer the time, or simply cancel through the medium in which you booked. The savvy out there are actually making reservations now while rates are lower.
- If you have booked a non-refundable rate and your local government has imposed a travel ban, as a business we do not have insurance to cover your travel restriction. Again, we are happy to move the date way into the future for you, but if cancelling altogether is the only option, you will need to refer to your own travel insurance policy to make a claim. In this case, we would be happy to help with copies of bookings and invoices to aid this.
-There have been many reports at the moment about online travel agents forcing hotels into giving refunds, and then keeping fees and taxes for themselves. This only reinforces our message that to book direct with the hotel gives the most flexibility. If you go through an agent, you are beholden to their terms.
By booking direct, all the monies for the booking goes to the local economy, and we will treat you with fairness and kindness in the event of having to cancel. Use a credit card for extra protection, and remember most bank accounts automatically give travel insurance with their products, too.
Our general cancellation terms are right up to 48 hours prior to arrival. Even if things go wrong after that, we are more than happy to work with you and rearrange your stay. It's much easier to do that directly with us than with an offshore multinational.
Lastly, rest assured that as we work in a food preparation environment, we are already well-versed in hand hygiene and sanitisation. Being clean is not a new thing to us.
If you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to call one of the team.
General Manager 16th March 2020
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