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F1S SELECTS

How Travel is Changing

and What That Means for You

F1RST Selects

How Travel is Changing and What That Means for You

(Hint: There Are Lots of Good Things Happening!)

As you already know, like so many, many things in 2020, travel is different this year. But so is the travel industry itself. Case in point: Virtuoso Travel Week, a gathering of Virtuoso members and partners from around the globe. F1S is a member of Virtuoso, the world’s leading, invitation-only travel network, and this year, instead of the in-person gathering of the past, the F1S team and advisors took to their couches (um, we mean home offices!) and computer screens for the first-ever Virtual Virtuoso Travel Week. And we’re here to tell you: It was a huge success.

“This platform provided me with the boost I needed at this stage of the pandemic.”
Rosalba Chiappetta

“It fueled my enthusiasm for the comeback of our business and industry,” says Rosalba Chiappetta, an F1S leisure advisor based in Toronto.

And she wasn’t the only one who felt that way. F1S advisors from across the U.S. and the world found the event super productive, giving them the opportunity to strategize with partners, hear updates from within the industry, and, perhaps most importantly, inspire them as they adapt to the “new world.”

Because, after all, and as we mentioned at the start, travel does look different now. But—and here’s the key–contrary to what you might have heard, many of these changes are positive. How so? One of the most visible—and crucial: The focus on health and safety.

 

“The most consistent theme of all my meetings was the dedication and time hotels are committing to health and safety.”
Colin Joyce

That includes measures like increased sanitization, contactless check-in, additional in-room dining options, and leaving a room empty for a full 24 hours between one check-out and another check-in. At Canyon Ranch in Lenox, MA, for instance, they replace the air filters in every room between guest stays, says Debbie Lopez, an F1S advisor based in New York.

Plus, hotels are serious about getting staff on board with the procedures, which can help put travelers’ minds at ease. “Almost everyone I asked, whether they closed for a period or not, had given their staff at least two to three weeks of training on updated cleanliness measures,” explains Colin Joyce, Marketing and Partnerships Coordinator at F1S.

And it’s not just hotels: Lopez notes that travelers arriving in Helsinki are given a Covid-19 test, with results coming back via an app within 6 to 7 hours. While the travelers can leave the airport, they can’t board ships or visit other places until their results are in, helping to curb the spread of the disease.

Thanks in part to these safety measures, people are getting back to traveling. But many, as can be expected, are doing so closer to home than ever before. In fact, another change many advisors noted is the increase in domestic travel.

“Everyone I spoke to seemed to be seeing an uptick in domestic travelers,” says Joyce, who noted that in some European countries, hotels are now at around 60 percent capacity, welcome news when compared to rates a few months back. “Whether the property was in the U.S., Europe, or even a tropical destination filled with foreign visitors, everyone was reporting a domestic increase. Translation: people want to travel and get away, even locally.”

 

Adds Chiappetta, “This is an encouraging sign that if locals are ready to venture in their home countries, they will be prepared to explore the world once the borders open.”

Our Favorite Hotels Within Driving Distance Of NYC

 

 

 

 

 

“If schools will be online for extended periods, then why not travel? Online classes can be done from anywhere, as long as there’s good Wi-Fi!”
Leah Winck

Also great? While in the past, many travelers with kids stuck to summer and school breaks to head out of town—even a nearby town—remote learning has given parents more freedom and flexibility on when they travel.

(We’ve got you covered there: Our story full of ideas for school year family travel will be up shortly.)  

 

For F1S clients, this travel comeback does come with one additional upside: Their travel advisor. As Chiappetta says, one of her favorite moments of the week was when the representatives from Dorchester’s Hotel Eden in Rome explained how trust is the new luxury.

 

Being able to trust the hotel where you’re staying, the airline you’re flying, and the services you’re utilizing is critical to feeling safe in this new travel world. And at F1S, our advisors make that even easier. We are in constant contact with our partners, are up-to-date on the fast-moving travel restrictions and changes hitting on an international, national and state level, and are quick to communicate that with our clients, at any time.

“A highlight was Sheila Johnson’s final thoughts on diversity, future of this business, and women making an influence."
Linda Montemarano

But one of the best changes we’ve seen? We saved that for last, because for us here at F1S it’s not a change at all: The movement towards further embracing diversity in the travel industry. Sheila Johnson, the CEO of Salamander Hotels & Resorts, gave the keynote speech at the event’s closing session, and it was as insightful as it was inspiring.

 

As a woman and minority-owned company, First in Service was built on a foundation of diversity. It’s something we are deeply committed to and passionate about—and something that we believe gives us a unique and collaborative view of the world.

As we embrace the changes in the travel industry this year and in the future, we know that our core principals of inclusivity— towards our F1S family, our clients, and our world—is one of the things that will continue to guide us forward.

 

F1S

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