Category Archives: Hotels & Resorts

First New Hotel Inside Grand Canyon National Park in Over 50 Years Opens to the Public

Xanterra’s $35 Million Maswik South Provides Modern Accommodations to
Travelers Looking to Experience One of the Natural Wonders of the World

After its $35 million reconstruction by Xanterra Travel Collection, Maswik South Lodge is the first new lodging inside the park in over 50-years and is just footsteps away from the Grand Canyon National Park’s South Rim (photo provided by Xanterra)

Travelers headed to Grand Canyon now have a new option for in-park accommodations. After its $35 million reconstruction by Xanterra Travel Collection, Maswik South Lodge is the first new lodging inside the park in over 50-years and is just footsteps away from the Grand Canyon National Park’s South Rim. Booking is available now for stays. Constructed in 1971, the original 90 rooms have been replaced with 120 new lodging units across four new lodging structures in the same general location.

The 4.5-acre property features two types of accommodations: 90 standard rooms and 30 kitchenettes. The rooms now include private balconies, and the buildings have elevators and interior hallway entrances. Maswik South is in close proximity to Maswik Lodge where guests can access the Maswik Food Court, Pizza Pub, Transportation & Activities Desk, and the Village Loop (Blue) park shuttle line. The new units are approximately a ten-minute walk from both South Rim itself and the Hermit’s Rest/Village Loop Shuttle Bus Transfer Station.

“Maswik South aims to prepare Grand Canyon National Park for the next 100-years,” said Marc Ducharme, General Manager, Grand Canyon South Rim. “As stewards of the parks, Xanterra is proud to offer modernized lodging that will serve millions of visitors across its lifetime and enhance the national park experience.”

The architecture nods to the original lodge constructed in 1927 by the Fred Harvey Company and the Santa Fe Railroad. The architects preserved the original stone pillars from the historic lodge buildings while the interiors offer modern furnishings. The rooms are decorated with textiles inspired by Native American artwork of the southwest. The interiors of Maswik South Lodge reflect the colors of the Grand Canyon: rusty red, sage green, tan, and ocher. Artwork in the guest rooms showcase studies of local fossils, after which each building is named, and a historic map of the Grand Canyon area.

Xanterra Travel Collection’s stewardship of national parks and long-standing commitment to conservation and sustainability informed the building’s design. Designed and constructed to the LEED Gold standard, the design includes the extensive use of sustainable building materials, high-efficiency lighting including outdoor solar lighting, efficient mechanical systems, and plumbing fixtures, use of reclaimed water (coming soon), water-efficient landscaping, and Dark Sky compliant lighting that ensures that the lodges do not interfere with the stunning view of the night sky at the Grand Canyon. Amenities include electric vehicle charging and water bottle filling stations.

Working closely with Xanterra and the NPS project teams, OZ Architecture is the architect of record for the project. Kinney Construction Services from Flagstaff, Arizona is the project’s General Contractor.

Advance reservations for the new lodging units are being taken. You can follow on Twitter and Facebook or visit the website for further updates on this project.

Xanterra operates lodges, restaurants, retail, and tours at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. To make reservations or for more information, visit grandcanyonlodges.com or call 1-888-29-PARKS (888-297-2757).

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Xanterra Offers Weeklong ‘Book Your Bucket List Sale’ for National Parks, Cruises, Tours

Take advantage of Xanterra Travel Collection’s week-long annual sale to lock in 50% off roundtrip tickets on the historic Grand Canyon Railway and 20% off in-park lodging at the Grand Canyon’s crown jewel, the El Tovar on the Grand Canyon’s South Rim © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Greenwood Village, CO – Carpe Diem X 7. Xanterra Travel Collection, an award-winning globally diversified travel company offering unforgettable experiences in some of the most Beautiful Places on Earth®, announced its highly anticipated annual “Book Your Bucket List Sale” from Tuesday, Nov. 23 – Tuesday, Nov. 30. This year’s sale will last a full week beginning the Tuesday before Black Friday and running through Cyber Monday and Travel Tuesday. Xanterra owns or operates the lodges in Yellowstone, Zion, Glacier, Death Valley and Grand Canyon South Rim; Windstar Cruises, The Grand Canyon Railway & Hotel, The Oasis at Death Valley, Holiday Vacations, Country Walkers and VBT Bicycling Tours. The affiliated legendary Five-Star, Five-Diamond Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs and the longest-running Five-Star award-winning Sea Island Resort in Georgia are also participating in the sale.

And now, for the first time, Xanterra is offering an unparalleled gift of discovery and wanderlust with Xanterra Travel Collection Gift Cards. Redeemable across all Xanterra Travel Collection properties and brands for accommodations, tours, experiences, and retail purchases, recipients can choose their adventure with this gift of A World of Unforgettable Experiences. All new and available starting Nov. 16 at Xanterra.com/GiftCard.

Preview and plan now. Then book during the Book Your Bucket List one-week sale (Tuesday, Nov. 23 through Tuesday, Nov. 30) at Xanterra.com/BucketListSale. Highlights include:

National Parks

The Oasis at Death Valley – 30% off hotel stays at the beautifully renovated historic AAA Four-Diamond Inn at Death Valley and newly revitalized, family-friendly Ranch at Death Valley. Valid for select overnight stays between Dec. 2021 and Feb. 2022.

Historic Grand Canyon Railway & Hotel – 50% off roundtrip train tickets on an entertaining journey to the Grand Canyon’s fabled South Rim when booking a two-night Getaway Package over select dates between Dec. 1, 2021 and March 10, 2022.

Grand Canyon South Rim – 20% off in-park lodging at Kachina Lodge, Bright Angel Lodge, Maswik Lodge, and the crown jewel, El Tovar, during select dates Dec. 1, 2021 to March 3, 2022. Discover the “secret season” at the Grand Canyon with fewer crowds. The lodges are either in or within walking distance to the Historic District and rim of the Grand Canyon which includes Lookout Studio and Hopi House.

The Grand Hotel – 30% off at the only AAA Three-Diamond hotel near the Grand Canyon in Tusayan (just one mile from the South Rim entrance) on select dates between Dec. 2021 and March 2022.

Zion Lodge – 30% off overnight stays inside the park at Zion National Park Lodge on select dates between Dec. 2021 and Feb. 2022.

Cedar Creek Lodge, at the gateway to Glacier National Park – 30% off room rates on select dates from Dec. 2021 through April 2022.

Lake Yellowstone Hotel – Save 25% off hotel stays at the charming and historic Lake Yellowstone Hotel, located inside the park on select dates during May 2022.

​​Luxury Hotels

The Broadmoor – Rates as low as $249 per night for select dates, up to 25% off published suite rates, and 10% off the all-inclusive Wilderness Properties (The Ranch at Emerald Valley and Cloud Camp).

Sea Island – In honor of its Quarter Century Club (team members with at least 25 years of service to the resort), book a stay in December, January, or February and receive the third night for only $25. Plus, receive a $250 resort credit per stay at The Cloister and The Lodge. In addition, Sea Island will donate $25 per stay to the Sea Island Legacy Fund, which assists team members experiencing economic hardship.

Guided Travel/Tours

Bicycling Tours – Receive $200 off any spring VBT Bicycling Tours Guided Italy tour departing between April 1, 2022 and June 30, 2022.

Walking Adventures – Receive $200 off any spring Country Walkers Guided Italy tour departing between April 1, 2022 and June 30, 2022.

Holiday Vacations – Save $250 per person on the Holland in Bloom featuring the Floriade tour departing on April 15, 2022.


Cruising

Windstar Cruises – Save on 2022 yacht-style cruises with fewer than 350 guests. Enjoy a $100 onboard credit per guest to use on shore excursions, spa treatments, alcoholic beverages and more. Low fares start from $1,399 per guest. Yacht Club Members receive a double Alumni discount on all voyages departing on or before March 31, 2022.

For a complete list and to take advantage of Xanterra and its affiliates’ Book Your Bucket List offers, visit Xanterra.com/BucketListSale. For the newly available gift cards, visit Xanterra.com/GiftCard.

Known for its “Legendary Hospitality with a Softer Footprint,” Xanterra Travel Collection provides a world of unforgettable experiences through its operations in national parks, including lodges, restaurants, tours, and activities, as well as through its ownership of resorts, a cruise line, a railway, and tour companies. Xanterra has operations in Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Zion, Glacier, and Rocky Mountain National Parks, and Mount Rushmore National Memorial. Xanterra Travel Collection also owns and operates the Grand Canyon Railway & Hotel in Williams, Ariz., The Grand Hotel in Tusayan, Ariz., The Oasis at Death Valley in Death Valley Calif., Windstar Cruises, Holiday Vacations, VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations, and Country Walkers. Xanterra is also affiliated with two Forbes Five-Star Resorts, The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, CO and Sea Island on the coast of Georgia.

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8 Fall Vacations for Foliage, Fewer Crowds & Stunning Scenery

Ziplining at the Red Reflet Ranch, Ten Sleep, Wyoming, just one of the activities at the all-inclusive guest ranch (c) Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Cool weather, brightly colored foliage, and destinations largely free from crowds make fall the perfect time to travel. Here are eight vacation ideas for the months ahead, ranging from the mountains of Montana to the Natchez Trace and even the Galapagos Islands

1. Pacific Coast Cycling: The Pacific Coast Route is one of America’s premier cycling routes and autumn is an optimal time to avoid heavy tourist traffic. Pedal south through the lush forests of western Washington before following the Columbia River to the Oregon coast, then enter California and encounter massive redwoods coastal headlands and sandy beaches with bike paths. Ride the route on your own with maps from Adventure Cycling Association, or join other on a tour.
 
2. Fall Under the Big Sky: A visit to Big Sky, Montana, and stay at The Wilson Hotel offers the opportunity for fall adventures in Yellowstone country, as elk bugle and pockets of aspen trees turn golden against the backdrop of the green forest. Hike and mountain bike trails surrounding town, fish the famed Gallatin River or take one last tour of Yellowstone National Park’s natural wonders and wildlife before roads close for the season.
 
3. Traffic-Free Natchez Trace: The Natchez Trace is a historic travel corridor through Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi used by American Indians, settlers, soldiers and future presidents. And with no commercial traffic, the Natchez Trace Parkway is a cyclist’s dream come true. Join Cycle of Life Adventures for a fall tour to enjoy the changing colors of maple, hickory, oak and other hardwood trees, milder temperatures and overnight accommodations in small towns along the parkway.
 
4. National Parks RV Trip: National parks saw record crowds over the summer, but now that fall is here it’s a great time to visit for fewer crowds, less traffic and pleasant temperatures. Blacksford rents fully stocked Mercedes-Benz Sprinter overland adventure vehicles from Winnebago with an all-inclusive pricing model that includes unlimited miles, no generator fees, bedding, kitchen and bath supplies, free Wi-Fi, a free annual pass to the national parks and 24-hour roadside assistance.
 
5. Arizona + Black Canyon Mountain Biking: Explore all the Sonoran Desert has to offer with the Best of Phoenix and Black Canyon Trail Mountain Biking Tour from Escape Adventures. This trip is ideal for close groups of biking friends looking for a warm fall or winter excursion. Highlights include exploring the 21,099-acre McDowell Mountain regional park, riding conservancy lands and ripping more than 40-miles of fast and flowy singletrack.
 
6. Jackson Hole Glamping: Wyoming’s Fireside Resort offers 25 pint-sized, luxuriously outfitted tiny house rental units designed by Wheelhaus. The resort is located a short distance from Grand Teton National Park and the Jackson Hole ski slopes, making it the perfect place to post up for a fall getaway or winter ski trip.
 
7. Play Cowboy at a Dude Ranch: Red Reflet Ranch is a 28,000-acre luxury resort and working ranch on the west slope of the Bighorn Mountains, just three hours from Yellowstone National Park. Guests stay in private chalets and enjoy family-friendly activities like horseback riding, ATVing, ziplining, swimming, hiking, fishing, shooting and feasting on farm-to-table cuisine.
 
8. Autumn Galapagos Adventure: Fall is one of the best times of year to visit Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands, particularly when it comes to wildlife and weather. The Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel has joined forces with Scalesia Galapagos Lodge to offer a new weeklong program that includes day trips aboard Yacht Sea Lion, glamping in luxury tents on Isabela Island and visits to remote and mysterious places that illustrate the incredible diversity of the archipelago.

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Hotel Association Launches ‘Safe Stay’ with Event in Hawaii

HONOLULU– To highlight American Hotel & Lodging Association’s commitment to hosting guests in a safe and clean environment, the organization is partnering with states and elected officials to launch a series of “Safe Stay” events across the country to increase awareness among travelers about the industry’s health and safety protocols. An event in Hawaii on May 5 was the first in this series.

With projections showing Hawaii is expected to be in the top five states with the highest number of hotel job losses for 2021, American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) president and CEO, Chip Rogers and Hawaii Lieutenant Governor Josh Green joined in the event on May 5 to underscore efforts to bring hotel employees back as hotels prepare for summer travel.

In Hawaii, the total projected job loss for the year amounts to an estimated 20,029 jobs. Industry analysts estimate that hotel employment is unlikely to reach pre-pandemic levels until at least 2023, and recovery for the industry is not projected until 2024.

When selecting a hotel, enhanced cleaning and hygiene practices continue to rank as a guests’ number two priority, just behind price. At the onset of the pandemic, the hotel industry launched “Safe Stay,” an initiative focused on enhanced hotel cleaning practices, social interactions, and workplace protocols to meet the new health and safety challenges and expectations presented by COVID-19. These industry-wide guidelines were designed to prepare America’s hotels to safely welcome back guests and employees. 

Further, nearly half of consumers view vaccine distribution as a key to travel. As more Americans are vaccinated, the hotel industry is committed to promoting safe travel while also creating a standardized safety experience nationwide through the Safe Stay initiative.

With vaccinations and testing become more widespread, and infection and hospital rates declining, hotels are seeing an uptick in leisure travel, with 61% of Americans expected to travel for leisure this summer according to a poll conducted by Morning Consult and commissioned by AHLA.

But while leisure travel outlook continues to grow, the hotel industry is still hurting from this pandemic. Business travel is down 85% from pre-pandemic levels and is not expected to fully return until 2024. Unlike leisure travel, which can often be booked or changed at the last minute, meetings and events are scheduled months, if not years, in advance.

“Tourism is an important industry that brings thousands of jobs to Hawaii, supports the livelihood of many residents and provides resources for hospitals, schools and cultural and environmental stewardship,” saidLieutenant Governor Josh Green. “As we continue the COVID-19 vaccination rollout and maintain public health best practices, we are optimistic Hawaii can safely reopen for summer travel with the support of our hospitality industry.”

The event followed the introduction of the Save Hotel Jobs Act, introduced by U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and U.S. Representative Charlie Crist (D-Fla.), which will provide targeted relief to the ailing hotel industry until travel returns to pre-pandemic levels. While many other hard-hit industries have received targeted federal relief, the hotel industry has not. In fact, hotels are the only major hospitality and leisure segment yet to receive direct aid. 

“While leisure travel will start returning this year as more and more people are vaccinated, business and group travel will take significantly longer to recover and is a major source of employment for the hotel industry. We remain optimistic, but the road to recovery for the hotel industry is long and we need support, especially in states like Hawaii. The Save Hotel Jobs Act will help support the hotel industry with targeted relief in order to stem permanent losses and keep hotel workers employed,” said Chip Rogers, president and CEO of AHLA. “As we begin to welcome back travelers, Safe Stay’s rigorous health and safety protocols, which were designed in accordance with CDC guidelines and reviewed by the CDC, will continue to help create peace of mind.”

The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) is the main national association representing all segments of the U.S. lodging industry. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., AHLA focuses on strategic advocacy, communications support and workforce development programs to move the industry forward. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, hospitality was the first industry impacted and it will be among the last to recover. That is why AHLA is committed to promoting safe travel while also creating a standardized safety experience nationwide through the Safe Stay initiative. With an enhanced set of health and safety protocols designed to provide a safe and clean environment for all hotel guests and employees, hotels across America are ready to welcome back travelers when they are ready to travel. Learn more at www.ahla.com.

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Hospitality Industry Calls on Congress to Pass Save Hotel Jobs Act

Citing a loss of 3.1 million leisure and hospitality jobs lost during the coronavirus pandemic and with hotels expected to end 2021 down 500,000 jobs, the hotel industry is calling on to Congress to pass the Save Hotel Jobs Act © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Download Fact Sheet on 2021 State Job Loss Here

The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) released new data showcasing the ongoing devastating impact of COVID-19 on hotel industry employment, including projected hotel job loss through the end of 2021. Without targeted relief from Congress, nationwide, hotels are expected to end 2021 down 500,000 jobs. Hotels are the only major hospitality and leisure segment yet to receive direct aid.

The top five states projected to end 2021 down the highest number of jobs include:

  1. California: 67,169 jobs lost
  2. Florida: 39,560 jobs lost
  3. New York: 38,028 jobs lost
  4. Nevada: 22,282 jobs lost
  5. Hawaii: 20,029 jobs lost

The release of this data follows the introduction of the Save Hotel Jobs Act, legislation to provide targeted federal relief to the ailing hotel industry workforce including up to three months of full payroll support. AHLA and UNITE HERE, the largest hospitality workers union in North America, joined forces last week to call on Congress to pass the Save Hotel Jobs Act. The bill, introduced by U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and U.S. Representative Charlie Crist (D-Fla.), provides a lifeline to hotel workers, providing the assistance they need to survive until travel returns to pre-pandemic levels.

Unfortunately, the road to recovery for the hotel industry is long, the AHLA stated. The recent uptick in leisure travel for spring and summer is encouraging for hotels, however, business travel—the largest source of hotel revenue—is down 85% and is not expected to begin its slow return until the second half of this year. Full recovery is not expected until 2024. 

“While many other hard-hit industries have received targeted federal relief, the hotel industry has not. The Save Hotel Jobs Act will provide critical support to hotels and their workers during this crucial period,” said Chip Rogers, president and CEO of AHLA. “We need Congress to pass the Save Hotel Jobs Act to help hotels retain and rehire employees until travel demand, especially business travel, begins to come back.”

No industry has been more affected by the pandemic than hospitality, the AHLA stated. Leisure and hospitality has lost 3.1 million jobs during the pandemic that have yet to return, representing more than a third of all unemployed persons in the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Even more stark, the unemployment rate in the accommodation sector specifically remains 330% higher than the rest of the economy.

Empty or permanently closed hotels have also had a ripple effect on communities throughout the country, hurting a wide range of businesses that rely on the presence of hotel guests, such as restaurants and retail, hotel supply companies and construction. For every 10 people directly employed on a hotel property, hotels support an additional 26 jobs in the community, from restaurants and retail to hotel supply companies and construction, according to a study by Oxford Economics. With hotels expected to end 2021 down 500,000 jobs, based on the pre-pandemic ratio, an additional 1.3 million hotel-supported jobs are in jeopardy this year without additional support from Congress.

This crisis has been especially devastating in urban areas, hurting minority communities, the AHLA stated. Urban hotels, which are more reliant on business and group travel and more likely to host larger events, ended January down 66% in room revenue compared to last year. According to recent reports, New York City has seen one-third of its hotel rooms—more than 42,000—wiped out by the COVID-19 pandemic, with nearly 200 hotels closing permanently in the city.

Read more about the Save Hotel Jobs Act here.

The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) is the main national association representing all segments of the U.S. lodging industry. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., AHLA focuses on strategic advocacy, communications support and workforce development programs to move the industry forward. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the hospitality industry was the first industry impacted, and it will be among the last to recover. That is why AHLA is committed to promoting safe travel while also creating a standardized safety experience nationwide through the Safe Stay initiative. With an enhanced set of health and safety protocols designed to provide a safe and clean environment for all hotel guests and employees, hotels across America are ready to welcome back travelers when they are ready to travel.

Learn more at www.ahla.com.  

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Travel Industry Sees Passage of Biden’s American Rescue Plan as Critical

The U.S. Travel Association and American Hotel and Lodging Association joined the growing list of business leaders and economists who see President Biden’s American Rescue Plan as critical to addressing the economic crisis caused by the pandemic (c) Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

The U.S. Travel Association and American Hotel and Lodging Association joined the growing list of business leaders and economists who see President Biden’s American Rescue Plan as critical to addressing the economic crisis caused by the pandemic.
 
The travel industry supports 15.8 million or nearly 1 in 10 American jobs. In a report, the U.S. Travel Association noted in a report that COVID-19 has devastated the travel industry more than any other sector of the economy. In order to get Americans back to work and safely resume travel, the U.S. Travel Association President and CEO said that there has to be immediate action to pass the American Rescue Act.
 
Robert Dow, U.S. Travel Association President and CEO praised the American Rescue Plan in a speech yesterday, saying “We are encouraged by the measures to provide additional grants and loans to small businesses in the hardest-hit industries, which include travel. The Paycheck Protection Program is set to expire in March, but the economic hardships of the pandemic will persist, so it is important that struggling businesses continue to receive aid to maintain operations and keep workers on payrolls.”
 
Dow added “there are important components contained in President Biden’s American Rescue Plan to help us rebuild, such as providing grants for the hardest hit industries, including travel. Also included in the President’s proposal is additional funding for vaccine distribution which we know is vital to helping travel businesses more robustly reopen.”
 
And, the market data analyst, STR, recently said that the American Rescue Plan’s proposal for widespread vaccinations would help get the industry back on track “these opening months of the year are going to resemble some of the :slowest of 2020, but we are optimistic that hotel demand will improve as vaccine distribution becomes more widespread and travel confidence grows,” said Amanda Hite, president of STR. “While the early indicators should be visible in Q2, we expect Q3 to be the point where leisure travel shifts into high gear and corporate and group business show more progressive improvement. That will feed into a 2022 that shows a higher level of recovery.”

Meanwhile, the American Hotel & Lodging Association released AHLA’s State of the Hotel Industry 2021” outlining the forecasted state of the hotel industry in 2021 and into the immediate future. The report examines the high-level economics of the hotel industry’s recovery, the specific impact on and eventual return of business travel, and consumer travel sentiments. 

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Hospitality Industry Links Travel Demand for 2021 with COVID Vaccine Distribution

56% Expect to Travel for Leisure; Business Travel Not Expected to Return Until 2024; Consumer Comfort with Travel Linked to Vaccine Distribution

The hospitality industry sees the outlook for travel demand as linked to the availability of COVID vaccination (c) Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

WASHINGTON – The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) released “AHLA’s State of the Hotel Industry 2021” outlining the forecasted state of the hotel industry in 2021 and into the immediate future. The bottom line is that the industry’s recovery is linked to the availability of COVID vaccinations.

The pandemic has been devastating to the hospitality industry workforce, which is down nearly 4 million jobs compared to the same time in 2019. While some 200,000 jobs are expected to be filled this year, overall, the accommodations sector faces an 18.9% unemployment rate, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In addition, half of U.S. hotel rooms are projected to remain empty in 2021.

Business travel, which comprises the largest source of hotel revenue, remains nearly nonexistent, but it is expected to begin a slow return in the second half of 2021. Among frequent business travelers who are currently employed, 29% expect to attend their first business conference in the first half of 2021, 36% in the second half of the year and 20% more than a year from now. Business travel is not expected to return to 2019 levels until at least 2023 or 2024.  

Leisure travel is expected to return first, with consumers optimistic about national distribution of a vaccine and with that an ability to travel again in 2021. The report found that heading into 2021, consumers are optimistic about travel, with 56% of Americans saying they are likely to travel for leisure or vacation in 2021. While 34% of adults are already comfortable staying in a hotel, 48% say their comfort is tied to vaccination in some way. 

The top findings from this report include:

  1. Hotels will add 200,000 direct hotel operations jobs in 2021 but will remain nearly 500,000 jobs below the industry’s pre-pandemic employment level of 2.3 million employees. 
  2. Half of U.S. hotel rooms are projected to remain empty.
  3. Business travel is forecasted to be down 85% compared to 2019 through April 2021, and then only begin ticking up slightly. 
  4. 56% of consumers say they expect to travel for leisure, roughly the same amount as in an average year.  
  5. Nearly half of consumers see vaccine distribution as key to travel.
  6. When selecting a hotel, enhanced cleaning and hygiene practices rank as guests’ number two priority, behind price. 

“COVID-19 has wiped out 10 years of hotel job growth. Yet the hallmark of hospitality is endless optimism, and I am confident in the future of our industry,” said Chip Rogers, president and CEO of AHLA.

“Despite the challenges facing the hotel industry, we are resilient. Hotels across the country are focused on creating an environment ready for guests when travel begins to return. AHLA is eager to work with the new Administration and Congress on policies that will ultimately help bring back travel, from helping small business hoteliers keep their doors open to ramping up vaccine distribution and testing. Together, we can bring back jobs and reignite a continued investment in the communities we serve,” said Rogers.

The resurgence of COVID-19, the emergence of new strains, and a slow vaccine rollout have added to the challenges the hotel industry faces this year. With travel demand continuing to lag normal levels, national and state projections for 2021 show a slow rebound for the industry and then accelerating in 2022. 

The hotel industry experienced the most devastating year on record in 2020, resulting in historically low occupancy, massive job loss, and hotel closures across the country. Hotels were one of the first industries affected by the pandemic after travel was forced to a virtual halt in early 2020, and it will be one of the last to recover. The impact of COVID-19 on the travel industry so far has been nine times that of 9/11.

Download the full report here.

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Club Med Responds to 2020 Challenges, Trends with Innovation

Club Med Sandpiper Bay, Florida, a pioneer in all-inclusive resorts, is introducing innovations in response to travel trends that have emerged out of the 2020 pandemic (c) Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

MIAMI– An unprecedented 2020 was challenging for the travel industry and also provided valuable insight into travel trends for the year ahead and beyond. Club Med, a pioneer of the all-inclusive resort concept, is innovating products to align with anticipated trends for 2021, some of which will have lasting impact far into the future. These include working remotely with extended stays (workation); a demand for sustainable/responsible travel; flexible booking options.

“As the leader in all-inclusive vacations, Club Med continues to innovate through this challenging time by offering our guests the best in flexibility and safety,” says Carolyne Doyon, CEO and President of Club Med North America. “We’re utilizing our thoughtful and strategic analysis of 2020 learnings and 2021 market trends to deliver on travelers’ evolving wants and needs.” 

A projected return to travel

Americans have started seeing the “light at the end of the tunnel” when it comes to travel. A recent Skift Research study reported that beginning in September 2020, for the first time during the pandemic, more Americans planned to increase their travel spend over the next 12 months. The most popular destinations include beaches and coastal drive-to markets.

While domestic travel continues to be preferred by the majority of travelers, a recent study conducted by Club Med found that 56% of travelers are looking to travel by Spring/Summer 2021 with most looking forward to returning to Turks and Caicos (47%) and Mexico (31%). Club Med has also seen significant interest in travelers who are booking for the 2021 holiday season. Considered “revenge bookings,” the trend indicates a strong interest in families getting together after canceled plans this last holiday season, with advance bookings for holidays at a 17% increase versus 2019.

As Club Med anticipates seeing a return to travel to the Caribbean islands and Mexico, resorts such as Club Med Cancún, Club Med Punta CanaClub Med Michès Playa Esmeralda and the adults-exclusive Club Med Turkoiseare poised to provide travelers, whether families, couples or singles, a restorative and safe experience to escape to in 2021. Domestically, Club Med Sandpiper Bay remains the brand’s top-selling resort for those looking for an escape closer to home.

Increased interest in international travel

The pandemic spurred increased domestic travel with Americans looking for shorter escapes closer to home. Through data compiled from recent sales, Club Med Sandpiper Bay in Florida saw a substantial increase in bookings in 2020 from travelers in drive-market regions. From June to December 2020, the resort reported 40% of travelers were from Florida.

However, according toThe New York Times, while interest in domestic travel is likely to continue through 2021, interest ininternational travel has increased since the news of the vaccine. Club Med is well equipped to meet this demand for years to come through the consistent growth of their international portfolio, marking three to five new resort openings or renovations per year, including a new Alpine ski resort annually. Each resort is constructed with a low-density layout – which is defined by low-rise buildings that are spread out across 50+ acres and respectfully integrated in their surrounding natural environments – leaving plenty of space for guests to roam freely and comfortably.

Exemplifying their eco-friendly positioning,Club Med is set to open their eco-certified Seychelles (Indian Ocean) resort in March 2021. This will be its newest Exclusive Collection luxury resort, respectfully integrated along a preserved Marine National Park. In harmony with nature, the resort will offer nature conservation experiences, like marine conservation and turtle nesting. Club Med Québec Charlevoix is also opening in December 2021, with bookings already well underway. Located just outside Québec City in Le Massif de Charlevoix region, the all-inclusive resort is Club Med’s first four-season mountain property with unparalleled waterfront views of the Saint Lawrence River, amazing year-round outdoor activity options, full ski-in/ski-out access, and spacious accommodations. Club Med anticipates seeing a high level of bookings from Americans, as the resort is easy for them to get to and more cost-effective than a do-it-yourself ski vacation – for example, a 7-night do-it-yourself ski vacation for a family of 4 to Whistler would cost approx. $9,900; while at Club Med Québec Charlevoix, a similar vacation would cost $4,500.

Working remotely with extended stays

Travelers have shown an appetite for escaping the pandemic restrictions at home and extending their stays at all-inclusive resorts where they can work or study remotely while also relaxing. In June 2020 Club Med Sandpiper Bay in Florida reported a 9% increase in bookings for “short week” getaways – meaning a 4 to 5-night reservation during the week rather than the traditional long weekend getaway.  According to the Skift Megatrends report, the pandemic and the rise of remote work will likely further blur the lines between business and leisure travel. A significant hike in the length of stay in vacation rentals highlights how travelers have been looking at other places to stay and work during the pandemic. Club Med is adapting to this trend by setting up Workation, a hybrid stay between working remotely and a vacation with the all-inclusive service à la Club Med. This remote work and learn option has been available at Club Med Sandpiper Bay since October 2020, delivering adults and children the tools they need to work remotely, including: premium wi-fi, dedicated workspaces (or free to roam and setup beachside!) and printer access. Club Med is looking to launch the concept in additional resorts soon.

Low-density resorts with safety protocols

Travelers will continue taking increased precautions to protect themselves from COVID-19 and expect the travel industry to provide them with peace of mind by offering increased safety precautions. Worldwide, Club Med’s Safe Togetherprogram has established a range of enhanced health and safety protocols that include protective face coverings for staff, hand sanitizer available throughout the resort, deep cleaning and frequent sanitizing of surfaces and facilities, social distancing, capped resort capacity, increased amount ofalready-existent single plated foods in main dining area buffets, and temperature checks on arrival and periodically during the stay. All Club Med properties in Florida, the Caribbean, and Mexico are POSI-Check certified, receivingrecognition from Cristal for the Prevention of the Spread of Infection.

Travelers will also continue seeking destinations surrounded by nature, offering a variety of safe outdoor experiences. All of Club Med’s global resorts, including those in Florida, the Caribbean, and Mexico, meet this demand as they are low in density, spread across 50 acres of land and wide stretches of beaches, creating a sense of privacy and freedom. Each resort features multiple low-rise buildings that are only three stories high, sitting just below the treetops. To further accommodate social distancing practices, dining tables and lounge chairs throughout the resorts are more spaced out with an increased amount of outdoor seating, and activities and entertainment are also predominantly outdoors.

Contactless technology

Travel in 2021 will be more touchless than ever. A recent Booking.com study showed 64% of travelers agree that technology will be important in controlling health risks when traveling and 63% say that accommodations will need to use the latest technologies to make travelers feel safe. Club Med’s Easy Arrivalcontactless check-in/check-out prepares guests to fully enjoy vacations immediately. From signing up children for childcare services to booking ski equipment ahead of time at Club Med’s ski properties, everything will be ready for guests as soon as they arrive at the resort. The My Club Med app also allows guests to enjoy a seamless experience from the start of their trip to the end, with options to create a personalized itinerary, preview the daily activity schedules and, at select resorts, guests can book spa appointments and order room service. Coming soon, in order to abide by the CDC’s new requirements for entry into the United States, travelers will also be able to schedule their PCR/Antigen testing.

Wellness seekers

Skift predicts travelers will continue seeking outdoor and wellness-centric destinations. An unspoiled paradise hidden in the heart of a Dominican palm grove, Club Med Michès Playa Esmeralda is the first and only resort in Michès, offering guests a sense of intimacy and personalization. Set upon 93 acres with a 2,000-foot stretch of untouched beach, the resort’s architecture seamlessly and respectfully blends into its surroundings, featuring four boutique villages with distinct concepts designed to deliver tailored experiences for various segments. This ‘resort within a resort’ concept includes: 

·       Explorer Cove, a dedicated section designed for families with activities and kids clubs nearby

·       Caribbean Paradise, the alluring heart of the resort surrounded by lush tropical gardens and colorful décor designed for both families, couples and singles alike

·       Emerald Jungle, designed for wellness seekers with a natural Zen pool, spa, wellness bar and treetop wellness canopy

·       Archipelago, created exclusively for adults featuring floor-level oceanfront suites with private pools, outdoor showers and infinite views of the ocean just steps away

Sustainability
The pandemic has made many people aware of impacts on the environment and local communities. A Booking.comstudy found that more than 69% of travelers expect the travel industry to offer more sustainable options. Avid globetrotters are quickly getting behind the ‘go green’ initiative in tourism decisions and Club Med is proudly supporting the cause. In 2018, Club Med launched its Bye-Bye Plastics program, and is on track to ban single-use plastic products from bars, restaurants and rooms by 2021.

Tourism has a growing impact on the environment, which is why Club Med has always devoted itself to sustainable practices. Club Med’s Happy to Careprogram features a range of sustainable commitments based on values and practices which reflect sustainable development.

Club Med’s newest Exclusive Collection resort, Club Med Michès Playa Esmeralda, acts as the catalyst for Club Med’s environment-friendly positioning. Devoting its design, activities and elements to the surrounding region, the resort pays homage to the Dominican Republic’s ecological essence so guests who visit the resort can understand the natural beauty that first attracted many locals to the destination. The resort’s eco-chic concept is based on five core pillars: agriculture, immersion, waste management, energy and people. 

Sustainability is at the heart of the resort with special programs and initiatives, including:  

·       No single-use plastics in the resort 

·       Locally sourced coffee and cacao products in the resort’s Coffee House, in partnership with local farmers 

·       Employee uniforms are created out of recycled plastic bottles (currently more than 200,000+ bottles have been recycled for this initiative) 

·       Programs have been implemented to provide more than 900 locals with language, vocational, and hospitality skill trainings 

·       Strict eco-friendly certifications from the best in the industry: BREEAM certification for the construction process, and Green Globe certification for the operations 

·       Solar panel project – an estimated 45,000 square feet of solar panels are being installed in the resort to generate renewable energy  

·       Programs to stimulate the local economy are underway via various farming development projects to increase the efficiency, quality and demand for local farmers 

·       In-resort plant nursery currently houses 30,000+ new plants, and more than 2,000 trees were preserved or re-planted during the construction process  

·       Family environmental workshops offer interactive, fun and educational sessions for parents and children to learn about the environment together and participate in hands-on gardening activities

Flexible travel options

According to the United States Tour Operators Association, the most frequently asked question by travelers who made new bookings this fall was regarding cancellation or refund policies. Flexible booking policies are anticipated to continue into 2021 and beyond. To ensure added flexibility and peace of mind for travelers, Club Med offers:

·       Free Cancellation Policy: For new bookings made on or after May 18, 2020, guests can receive a full refund should they need to cancel their stay (up to 15 days prior to the anticipated travel date) for stays on or prior to December 16, 2021.

·       Emergency Assistance Program: All guests traveling before December 31, 2022 will receive coverage for emergency medical expenses during their stay, including those related to COVID-19.   

·       PCR + Rapid Antigen Testing: As required for re-entry into the United States from international destinations, Club Med offers complimentary Rapid Antigen COVID-19 tests either on-site or off-site (dependent on the resort). PCR testing is also available at an additional cost.

Club Med, founded in 1950 by Gérard Blitz, is the pioneer of the all-inclusive concept, offering approximately 70 premium resorts in stunning locations around the world including North and South America, Caribbean, Asia, Africa, Europe and the Mediterranean. Each Club Med resort features authentic local style and comfortably upscale accommodations, superior sports programming and activities, enriching children’s programs, gourmet dining, and warm and friendly service by its world-renown staff with legendary hospitality skills, an all-encompassing energy and diverse backgrounds. 

Club Med operates in more than 30 countries and continues to maintain its authentic Club Med spirit with an international staff of more than 23,000 employees from more than 110 different nationalities. Led by its pioneering spirit, Club Med continues to grow and adapt to each market with three to five new resort openings or renovations per year, including a new Alpine ski resort annually. 

For more information, visit www.clubmed.us, call 1-800-Club-Med (1-800-258-2633), or contact a preferred travel professional. For an inside look at Club Med, follow Club Med on FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube

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Hotel Industry Offers to Provide 50,000 Sites to Administer COVID-19 Vaccine

America’s hotel industry is offering to provide sites to administer the COVID-19 vaccine © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

America’s hotel industry is offering to provide up to 50,000 sites to assist in the rapid administration of the COVID-19 vaccine, in partnership with public health departments.

In a letter to the Biden Transition Team, Chip Rogers, President and CEO, American Hotel & Lodging Association, writes, “America’s hotels stand ready to work alongside America’s governors as states continue to move forward in administrating the COVID-19 vaccine. By quickly mobilizing an existing network of sites, hotels can help strengthen the delivery and distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine in communities across the country to better streamline and build on current state efforts.”

The AHLA has a “Hospitality for Hope” initiative which has infrastructure in place to support public health agencies and private sector partners through a network of 20,000 hotels that could be used as locations to administer the vaccine.

In the letter, which is also sent to Governor Andrew Cuomo, Chair, National Governors Association;
Governor Asa Hutchinson, Vice Chair National Governors Association; Moncef Slaoui, Operation Warp Speed; Dr. Robert R. Redfield, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Alex Azar, Secretary of Health & Human Services; and the US Conference of Mayors, Rogers writes:

“As you know, administering the vaccine on a national level will be a significant undertaking requiring innovative solutions and collaboration. To aide in the distribution, the hotel industry is asking that hotels be considered as an option for vaccine administration sites in partnership with public health departments. 

“Hotels have existing infrastructure and operational capabilities to serve as vaccine administration sites and capacity to assist. The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) under its “Hospitality for Hope” initiative has the infrastructure in place to support public health agencies and private sector partners through a network of more than 20,000 hotels which could be quickly ready serve as locations to administer the COVID-19 vaccine. Through this program, the hotel industry has already successfully partnered with federal and local governments to provide assistance to those in need, including frontline and emergency workers as well as state and municipal public health departments. 

“The hotel industry is ready to step in and assist our community and alleviate the current burdens on our health systems in a time of national need and has the following capabilities:

  • Geographic reach: With more than 50,000 hotels in every state, including properties located in cities, suburbs, and rural communities, hotels have the geographic reach to support a wide distribution of the vaccine.
  • Available Capacity and Operate 24/7: Hotels have private rooms, meeting rooms, conference and ball rooms as well as outside areas, hotels are equipped for 24-hour operations to allow for round-the-clock vaccination administration. This will also ensure there is adequate space to maintain physical distancing, capacity limits and other safety protocols. Further, as hotels are currently running at less than 50 percent occupancy rates, families or individuals who might be traveling to receive the vaccine will have access to comfortable and flexible lodging options should they need
  • Comprehensive cleanliness protocols: The industry has also adopted AHLA’s Safe Stay, an enhanced cleaning initiative that builds on the hotel industry’s long-standing commitment and operations procedures to ensure the safety of guests during the ongoing public health crisis.
  • Infrastructure: Hotels also offer ample parking and are often accessible from major transportation networks, including highways and public transportation routes. Hotels also have outdoor capabilities that can provide safe, weather-proof vaccination services where parking lots could be utilized for vaccination administration, similar to drive-thru testing sites.
  • Refrigeration Capabilities: With many hotels being temperature controlled and the majority of hotels having refrigeration capabilities to store vaccines, issues concerning vaccine storage will be limited or can be quickly addressed to meet the requirements necessary for safe and effective vaccine storage.

“Since the start of the pandemic, our industry has been on the frontlines to support national public health and safety priorities. AHLA launched the ‘Hospitality for Hope’ initiative in early 2020, identifying more than 20,000 hotels willing to provide temporary housing for emergency and healthcare workers during the COVID-19 public health crisis. The initiative identified a total combined 2.3 million rooms located in close proximity to established healthcare facilities for frontline workers to use as they worked around the clock to save lives and provide lodging for those exposed to COVID to quarantine safely. Additionally, as part of this effort, hotels are supporting the national guard by providing lodging to those who Washington D.C. and surrounding region to provide additional security around the inauguration. 

“With the next phases of vaccination distribution underway, hotels have the unique capability to help provide additional locations to assist with the administration of the vaccine. As an industry, we have always stepped up to help our neighbors and communities in a time of need, including early-on in the pandemic through Hospitality for Hope. The industry looks forward to continuing this work in partnership with the public and private sector to support this next phase of recovery.”


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Belmond Unveils Calendar of ‘Festive Invitations’ Virtual Workshops, Events Celebrating Timeless Traditions

A treasured Thanksgiving past-time, Michelle Weaver, Executive Chef at Belmond Charleston Place, will share a special Southern tradition with her Grandma’s favorite ‘sweet potato biscuits’ recipe – filling the home with the nostalgic and comforting scent of freshly baked bread. The live bake-along will also include the sommelier’s perfect wine pairing for this year’s more intimate Thanksgiving occasion.

This holiday season, the luxury travel company Belmond is presenting ‘Festive Invitations,’ a calendar of virtual workshops and events celebrating timeless traditions that bring us together in a year like no other. From a fragrant winter wreath workshop to the ritual of baking Thanksgiving recipes passed down through generations or mastering the art of hand-crafted Christmas crackers to an uplifting musical season finale – join live via Belmond’s Instagram throughout November and December.

DECORATIONS TO DELIGHT – NOVEMBER 20 at 12PM EST / 5PM GMT

Celebrating a magical winter tradition, celebrity florist and a Belmond Good Living Experience Maker, Simon Lycett will share the steps to create a fragrant winter wreath. Materials for the workshop can be gathered and foraged such as scented pines and berries. The mindful process of creating art using nature’s ingredients is a reminder of the life-enhancing joy of connecting with nature, something the world needs now more than ever.

TREASURED HOMEBAKING – NOVEMBER 24 at 12PM EST / 5PM GMT

A treasured Thanksgiving past-time, Michelle Weaver, Executive Chef at Belmond Charleston Place, will share a special Southern tradition with her Grandma’s favorite ‘sweet potato biscuits’ recipe – filling the home with the nostalgic and comforting scent of freshly baked bread. The live bake-along will also include the sommelier’s perfect wine pairing for this year’s more intimate Thanksgiving occasion.

HANDMADE WITH LOVE – DECEMBER 17 at 1PM EST / 6PM GMT

A time-honored British tradition, the crackle and pop of a Christmas cracker is an uplifting festive ritual made for sharing and the anticipation of the gift within. Luxury event designer, Fiona Leahy will host a festive workshop to create the most elegant handcrafted crackers. As a beautiful table setting or gift to share, the crackers can be filled with specially selected and personalized gifts and handwritten messages with promises of brighter times ahead.

MUSICAL FINALE – DECEMBER 22 at 1PM EST / 6PM GMT

Ending the year with an invitation to sing-along with internationally acclaimed singer and pianist, Joe Stilgoe will perform songs from his Christmas album. A musical evening full of sparkle and cheer to stir the soul and lift spirits, we say goodbye to 2020 and look forward to the future.

For shopping and material lists to prepare for each session, visit www.belmond.com/care-package.

“While the season’s festivities may be a bit different this year, Belmond wishes to savor the moments that really matter and make promises for brighter tomorrows.”

Belmond Ltd., part of one of the world’s leading luxury groups, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, has been a pioneer of luxury travel for more than 40 years, building a passion for authentic escapes into a portfolio of one-of-a-kind experiences in some of the world’s most inspiring and enriching destinations.

Since the acquisition of the iconic Hotel Cipriani in Venice in 1976, it has built a portfolio of 46 properties extending across 24 countries, encompassing three luxury safari lodges, two river cruises, seven luxury trains, including the iconic Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, and the legendary ‘21’ restaurant in New York. From historic city landmarks like Belmond Cadogan Hotel and Belmond Copacabana Palace to hidden retreats at Belmond Cap Juluca and Belmond La Résidence d’Angkor, each property has its own timeless story to tell. See www.belmond.com.

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