How to Support the Travel Industry (No Travel Required)
Image Source: Getty via Inc.com
I’ve always loved to travel. Whether boarding a plane to an exotic locale, or driving up and down the coast to visit my favorite spots here in New England, I love the feeling of hitting the road and exploring a new place. Hotels in particular hold a special place in my heart. While many people first choose a destination and then pick their hotel, I often plan trips the other way around – I love finding a charming historic hotel or a modern new resort with luxe amenities, and planning my travel accordingly. So while so many industries are currently being affected by the pandemic ravaging the world right now, the impact on the travel industry especially tugs at my heartstrings.
And honestly, it’s a depressing view at the moment. Airplanes are grounded, hotels are sitting closed or virtually empty, cruise ships are docked, and rental cars are sitting idle. With most of the country sitting at home under quarantine and non-essential travel banned, without a clear end in sight, many may be wondering how the travel industry will bounce back from this.
That said, while it surely won’t be an easy road, I remain hopeful. I’ve enjoyed seeing how hotels and other travel companies are staying connected to travelers, while also doing their part to help during this health crisis. For example, some hotels are converting empty rooms into makeshift hospital wards or quarantine spaces for those recovering. Others are offering up free or significantly discounted rooms for doctors, nurses and first responders who are unable to return home to their families for fear of spreading illness.
Hotels across the country are lighting up their windows at night to share messages of hope and support for the local community. Others are simply trying to keep their audience connected on social media and through email, even if there isn’t really much news to share. With many homebound folks turning to increased cooking, baking and mixing their own cocktails, I’ve seen hotels share beloved recipes. The Boston Harbor Hotel recently shared instructions for how to mix their popular Irish Rose cocktail. And DoubleTree by Hilton even revealed the recipe for their iconic chocolate chip cookies.
For all the hotels and travel companies are doing, it also begs the question of how can we, as travelers, help them? And while many of us are stuck at home right now, there are things all of us can be doing to help the industry bounce back as quickly as possible.
Book a trip. Most hotels, airlines, cruise lines and other travel companies are offering very flexible cancellation/date-change policies right now. If you’re financially able, consider booking a getaway for fall or beyond. Many flights are inexpensive right now, and many hotels are offering incentives like free upgrades or amenities for those who book during this time. Don’t feel comfortable flying? Book at a local hotel, or one within driving distance, even if just for an overnight or weekend getaway. There’s nothing wrong with a little “staycation” every now and again!
Push instead of cancel. If you have a trip booked while stay-at-home orders remain in place, consider pushing your trip to later in the year instead of cancelling. This will allow the hotel to hold onto your deposit, and also help create demand for when things reopen, helping them to bring back furloughed workers as quickly as possible.
Buy a gift card. Many hotel gift cards can not only be used for overnight stays, but can also be put toward meals, spa treatments or other activities. Consider purchasing a gift card for your favorite hotel now, for use when you’re able to travel again.
Leave a review. Think back about what you loved most about your last few trips, and let people know! Leave a positive review on Tripadvisor or Yelp to help encourage others to book at the places you love.
Connect on social media. Social media is a two-way street, and it can go a long way if you routinely engage with the content being put out by your favorite travel brands. “Like” or “follow” their pages, comment on their posts or share with your followers. Post photos from recent trips and make sure to tag your favorite spots to show them some love (and give them additional content to share, even while they may be closed).
These are just a few ideas for how we can help the travel industry during this difficult time. In the meantime, I’m dreaming of the day when we can all start traveling again, and just might use this time at home to plan my next trip!
Posted by Colleen