Playa Shares Details On "New Environment" That Will Welcome Post-COVID Traveller
Anna Kroupina, Open Jaw
When Playa Hotels & Resorts gets back to welcoming guests when the coronavirus crisis is over, it will be operating in a "new environment where social distancing is something that will be necessary and expected", shared Kevin Froemming, Executive Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer of Playa, in a special webinar yesterday.
Playa has formed an advisory committee that is working in tandem with travel advisors, airport authorities and others to discuss what needs to be done in order for travellers to feel comfortable in a new world acutely sensitive to health and safety.
This "new environment" may include precautions like thermal cameras, hand sanitizer stations throughout the resort, and health-focused instructional signage, says Froemming. The committee is also discussing ways to create more physical distancing opportunities for guests at the resorts' public areas, including dining venues and check-in areas.
"We're retraining staff, going through new hygiene protocols and health standards, making sure that masks and gloves are available for the appropriate staff and that what we do creates a safe environment," he added.
The resort chain hopes to reopen its doors in July, depending on the status of airline and destination lockdown policies, said Froemming.
He says that more details will be released in a webinar in the next seven to 10 days.
"Rest assured that Playa is going to be at the forefront of safety, security and communication messages to help you close business again in this difficult environment. What you can definitely tell your customers today is that we are moving forward with investments that are going to set us apart even more so in the future," Froemming said to advisors on the call.
The Trade Is Our "Fundamental Bread And Butter"
Playa's retail partners – which Froemming called its "fundamental bread and butter" -- will have an important role to play in getting the messaging back out to consumers.
"Our goal is to launch with you guys jointly and to drive a really strong message as we try to open up with our partners. What you say to your customers and which resorts you choose, you want to be sure that those resorts have gone through the proper protocols so that the guest feels safe and secure. It will make selling new business easier."
Froemming also pointed to a silver lining in the coronavirus pandemic: "Through crisis like this, the opportunity for travel agents is that people are more than ever going to be looking for experts who know the products in these destinations, who can point them to the right product."
Playa Seeing Bookings For Q4: “We Are Going To Be Okay Together”
Looking ahead to Q4, Playa is starting to see bookings coming in for the fourth quarter.
"It's not happening across all channels; some of our channels are doing better than others. When you look out into the fourth quarter, there are business opportunities out there."
According to Froemming, there are three things that need to happen before travel sales begin their climb to what they were pre-pandemic: destinations need to be open, airlines need to be flying and there needs to be guests who want to travel.
"The third point, that's where you and I come in together. That's our goal," he told advisors.
"We are going to be okay together. Every crisis that we've gone through, we've come out stronger on the other end. This one might take a little while but ultimately, the best travel agents, the best hotel companies, the best tour operator are the ones that come out of this the best, together, as partners."
Anna Kroupina Journalist
Anna is OJ's newest member and she joins the team as a writer/reporter. She co-writes the daily news and covers events. Although she's new to the industry, pursuing a career path in travel/tourism has been a goal since her first family road trip to the Florida Keys sparked a desire to discover the world and this exhilarating, fast-paced industry.