And we’re all getting used to comparatively unused words becoming part of everyday conversation – stockpiling, screening, panic, self-isolation, sanitiser, postponed, suspended. Cancelled.
And, sadly, our own hospitality sector is one that will be suffering more than many, as the very people we depend on are becoming wary of – or even being actively discouraged from, by the authorities – moving and mixing. Some parts of the travel industry are already announcing falls in bookings of as much as 50%, and confusion abounds around when insurance kicks in for cancelled trips. Some airlines are teetering on going bust and governments are looking to mitigate the economic impact without yet knowing how this is going to pan out.
Let’s all hope and pray the danger to health is over-estimated, that extreme measures to limit interaction are successful, that life continues as little changed as possible. Especially since we seem to be in some kind of sensationalist stage, when the verified statistics are showing us something completely different and the UK Government’s description is a very measured ‘containment’.
But on a day when even the UK Health Minister has tested positive for the virus, many world footballers are confirmed to self-isolation in hotels, and toilet rolls and hand sanitisers in supermarkets are a distant memory, it strikes me there’s one thing we in the serviced apartment sector can be justly proud of.
And that’s making it possible for those who do have to travel, or who find themselves stuck away from home for reasons of quarantine, will find a truly comfortable solution for that stay.
With standards of hygiene as rigorous as any top hotel, but without the need to leave the room daily and mix with others, either to eat or to vacate the room while Housekeeping sweeps through, serviced apartments offer both privacy and the freedom to live in comfort.
Guests with in-apartment kitchens can manage their own food and drink, sending out for groceries or bringing their own supplies if they don’t want to risk coming into contact with the virus, making sure that way they have some control over their own health and wellbeing – but with help on hand if they need to call for in-house services.
They are free to keep their surroundings, their clothes, linens and kitchen equipment, as clean and disinfected as they might at home, without anyone else coming into their space unless they invite them.
And they have the chance to relax in the additional space an apartment offers over most hotel rooms.
We are proud that our own ISAAP Accredited ASAP Members offer the very best of both hotel and homestay options – the freedom to hunker down and have some control over who enters the space, alongside the knowledge that the generous, home-like space is as clean and well-appointed as it can be at the start of a stay.
And that if you do need someone to clean during the stay, that, too, is on hand, alongside maintenance, advice and hotel-like facilities.
I hope it doesn’t seem frivolous to suggest this in the face of likely deaths and repercussions of this virus; that’s the last thing I want, and like everybody else, I wish all the very best to anyone already affected or who will fall foul of this situation.
But I think it’s got to be a good message for the consumer and the corporate travel buyer.