Weighing in on the post-pandemic scenario of luxury hospitality

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By Shruti Shibulal

New Delhi– Mindful travel, that is, meaningful connections enhanced by personalisation, wellness treatments and a lean, contactless hospitality model will set the stage for environment and health conscious travellers in the new world.

The unfolding pandemic, specifically the tenacity of the second wave, has fundamentally altered our relationship with space and human interaction. Luxury travel, as one of the world’s most experiential industries, stands to be permanently transformed by an emerging redefinition of retreat: one that prioritises the restorative rather than the indulgent.

Bespoke Experiences

Customisation is among the most long standing attributes of all luxury experiences. However, for the well-informed and highly selective post pandemic traveller, a one-of-a-kind offering is not about novelty but rather about crafting a memorable, even altruistic exchange. This includes establishing a connection with local history, landscape and culture.

This offers hoteliers the option to reinvent experiences across the board. Bespoke dining options could include harvesting fresh produce on the property and learning how to prepare traditional meals with local chefs. Volunteering opportunities, such as tree planting, could pair with outdoor experiences. Spa facilities, similarly, might offer consultative sessions and multi-sensory, traditional treatments that benefit each guest through the duration of their stay.

Health and Wellness Treatments

With a heightened awareness of mental and physical health, luxury tourism will see an uptick in wellness travel. Individualised and curative treatment plans will be increasingly popular among those who seek both retreat and integrated healing.

Nature-centric experiences such as outdoor yoga, treks, dives and more will feature heavily into meditative as well as physical routines that are immersed in the local landscape.

India, particularly, will see a rise in demand for Ayurveda focused facilities with personalised and long-stay treatment plans that include curative treatments, tailored meals and exercise plans to guide sustainable lifestyle changes for holistic and long term well being.

Tech-Savvy Operations

The preference for seclusion and the need to responsibly navigate space will give rise to a leaner and more tech-savvy operating model among travel ventures. Both in terms of internal operations and client facing services, travel businesses will need to reconfigure process and culture to balance the warmth of hospitality with the efficiency of tech-enabled features.

A positive by-product of this trend will include human capital building and organisational agility. Tech driven operations increase information symmetry – giving more and equal access to employees across departments. In addition to the skill-building required to train teams to utilise tech tools, the ease of communication also catalyses internal knowledge sharing; thus, making the entire organisation more flexible, efficient and resilient to change.

The pandemic makes foundational changes eminent for industries across the globe. Its impact on luxury tourism – a sector that is intensively interactive and human-centric – remains among the most significant. As an impending beneficiary of pent-up demand and fresh consumer preferences, the already inventive market for luxury travel will adapt to become more individualised and comprehensively sustainable. (IANS)

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