Resort-based holidays could offer better value for money this year thanks to greater privacy, increased staff-to-guest ratio and more à la carte dining, according to some of the trade’s top-selling short-haul hotels.
Representatives from Quinta do Lago in the Algarve, Sani Resort in Halkidiki, and Greek hotel group Aldemar Hotels joined a Travel Weekly webcast to explain the changes clients can expect to see once hotels reopen, as part of Travel Weekly’s Roadmap to Recovery series.
Sean Moriarty, chief executive of Quinta do Lago, said: “The entire [Algarve] region is stepping up – everyone is working together on this and stepping up their service, stepping up what they do and how they do it. There is no room for error here, and I think that’s going to be a great place for Portugal as a destination.
“For sure, it’s going to be value for money. You’re going to have service better than ever before, you’re going to have more staff, there’s going to be no queues – it’s probably going to be a greater leisure and luxury holiday than you’ve ever experienced, so I think there’s going to be huge value for money for people who travel this year.
“We’re going to try and make it as normal as possible because one way or another, for the next 18 to 24 months, we’re facing the new normal, so you’ve got to build on it and just do it differently.
“This year what’s important is that the cost is absorbed as much as possible. There’s a lot of new cost and that can’t be expected to be passed on.”
Moriarty said July bookings were around 20% of the usual level, but rise to 85% of total occupancy for golfing holidays in September and October. Some of the resort’s summer sports camps including dance and football are still scheduled to take place with greater social distancing measures, although its rugby workshop had been cancelled.
Two of the five Sani Resort hotels – Porto Sani and Sani Asteria – are set to reopen on July 1, with a maximum occupancy level of 65%.
Head of sustainability Eleni Andreadis said: “Our main challenge has been to reassure guests that the Sani experience is going to be just as good and possibly even better, because there will be an even greater sense of privacy, pretty much everything – even if it’s adapted – will be operating, and it will be a very luxurious and carefree experience.”
She added: “We have as a standard 4m apart for our sunbeds, which is double what’s actually required for Covid, but we’ll be bolstering that – we’ll have only alfresco dining, we’ll be offering à la carte in all our restaurants and outlets.”
The resort has instituted plans for testing staff and guests, deep-cleaning sunbeds and other public areas, updating its app with restaurant menus to minimise contact, reducing capacity in the spa to allow for 30 minutes’ cleaning between appointments, and moving kids’ clubs and sporting activities outdoors. The Rafa Nadal Tennis Academy, Chelsea Football Academy and Sani Adventure Park are all set to open this year with improved disinfection of equipment and social distancing, although the Bear Grylls Survival Academy will remain closed.
Aldemar Hotels is due to reopen two of its five properties next week – Knossos Royal in Crete on July 1 and Olympian Village in the mainland Peloponnese region on July 3 – with 10% of summer bookings coming from the UK.
Commercial director Mandy Kalliontzi said: “People want to feel safe but also want to feel relaxed. If a client wants to go on holiday, you don’t need to make them feel like they are in a general hospital.
“We are not changing the way our clients know us. There will always be a buffet but served in a totally different way – it will be a served buffet, which means a much bigger cost for us, no cost added for the client, but they will feel safe.”
Kalliontzi added that the sauna, hammam and gym would reopen but spa treatments would be limited to private cabins, while kids’ clubs would restart with outdoor, parent-supervised activities only, until July 15 when government regulations say indoor kids’ facilities can reopen.
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