Palladium Hotel Group has announced plans to reopen some of its Spanish resorts in June and Caribbean hotels in July, while Club Med intends to reopen European resorts by the beginning of July.
The brands also revealed a series of hygiene measures that were being implemented to ensure the safety of staff and guests, and which would be incorporated into the design of new-build resorts in future.
Speaking on a Travel Weekly Webcast about how to sell all-inclusive holidays, Club Med’s Northern Europe managing director, Estelle Giraudeau, said: “We reopened four of our Chinese resorts a few weeks ago and we’re happy to see that there is a strong appetite in terms of domestic travel, so we have seen some occupancy rates higher than last year.
“For Europe, we plan – and it depends not on us but on the local authorities’ decisions – to reopen on July 1, and we would even open our summer mountain resort of Les Arcs in the French Alps by the end of June. That’s the plan.
“Obviously for all the Caribbean and South American ones, it will absolutely depend on the local authorities. But we have a strong hope that we are closer and closer day after day to the end of the tunnel. It seems there is more and more hope that summer time will happen with some travel plans for our customers.”
New hygiene measures
Giraudeau outlined new hygiene measures including mobile check-in, glass screens at reception, signals on the floor to remind customers of social distancing, extended opening hours and more space between tables at restaurants, changes to kids’ club activities to allow for smaller group activities, and the wearing of face masks if required by local authorities. A guide was due to be released to customers and agents in the coming days.
Joanne Peters, senior business development manager for Palladium Hotel Group, also revealed plans for the phased reopening of the group’s properties. She said: “We’re quite lucky in the fact that we’ve got hotels in Italy, mainland Spain, the Balearics, the Canaries, Mexico, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Brazil, and at the moment we’re planning on them opening at various stages, depending on where we are with current local rules.
“We’re hoping June 12 for the Costa del Sol and Hard Rock Tenerife, Ibiza the week after on June 19, and then July 1 for our hotels in the Caribbean and Mexico so fingers crossed – they’re the plans.”
A guide has been created outlining new hygiene procedures and the hotel has created a task force to implement measures including staff training, greater distancing between tables at restaurants, more individual portions at buffet restaurants, encouraging guests to pre-book their dining times or to use complimentary room service at TRS (24 hours) and Grand Palladium (12 hours per day) for in-room dining. Guests can also use online check-in and check-out services, a live chat service with butlers at TRS resorts to reduce the need for contact with staff, and book golf buggies for transport around the resorts via an app.
Measures already in place
Peters added: “There’s a lot of things that are already in place, but it’s just a matter of reassuring customers that these things will still be there and this is what we’re doing, hence why we’ve got this document put together and a task force working on that, just to make sure everything is compliant. The idea is that we advertise this now on our website so we can eliminate any guests’ concerns or queries early on, so they’ve got peace of mind before travelling.”
Ryan Speakman of luxury long-haul agency Got 2 Go Travel said some vulnerable customers had begun asking about social distancing measures in-resort, and this would increase as they got closer to their planned departure dates.
He said: “It’s all about getting the right balance so people feel safe to go on holiday but also they’re not going to be so restricted that it’s not going to be a holiday for them, that it’s going to be a stressful thing to do.
“I think it’s just getting that message across in a balanced way that yes, you’ll be safe in resort, and I would hope by that point the risk to people when they arrive in resort will be so much reduced because of other measures in place before you board the plane, so by the time they get to the resort, that risk should be a lot smaller.”