While COVID-19 has impacted the travel industry, brand-new innovations are paving the path for future travel. As Inspiration Cruises & Tours stays in touch with our vast network of industry contacts, we are encouraged by the strategic precautions they are implementing. Every sector that serves tourism—including airlines, cruise lines, hotels and public transportation—is being infused with new health standards and technologies, in addition to the stringent regulations already in place. All of this strongly suggests that future travel will be safer and more secure than ever.
Major airlines are updating their boarding and seating procedures to ensure passenger safety. Prepare to see both passengers and crew wearing masks as air travel resumes. Airplanes are also equipped with robust air filtration systems called High-Efficiency Particle Filters (HEPA), which are the same filtration systems hospitals and health care facilities use.
At first, middle seats may be blocked or unavailable. Expect deep sanitization every 24 hours and surface cleaning after every flight. At the airport, places like ticket counters, baggage drops and gate areas will have six-feet-apart reminders and hand sanitizing stations everywhere. Below are links to specific airlines if you want to learn more:
Initially, reduced passenger counts will help maintain social distancing on ships. Cruise lines already have extensive boarding and cleaning protocols to protect every traveler, crew member and shoreside staff. They are hypervigilant and acutely focused on cleaning, with hand sanitizing stations throughout. Travelers can expect this to increase (perhaps even to include sterilization robots!).
Self-serve buffets and beverage stations may become a thing of the past to minimize shared utensils and surfaces. Cruise companies may also begin sanitizing luggage and scanning passengers’ temperature prior to boarding. For instance, Norwegian Cruise Line announced it may deny boarding to guests who have “traveled from, visited or transited high-risk areas” and has modified its own cruise itineraries to avoid areas of concern. You can read more about specific cruise line updates here:
Hotels are taking similar steps to what we’ve seen across other industries, including increased cleaning frequency and reduced overall capacity, following guidelines introduced by the American Hotel & Lodging Association. Major hotel companies like Hilton, IHG and Marriott have begun executing these recommendations. For instance, Marriott announced it has begun implementing electrostatic spraying, an advanced cleaning method that covers surfaces more effectively than traditional methods. It is also adding front-desk partitions and distancing floor markers for the safety of its associates.
Virtual check-ins and check-outs will become more common, as well as electronic room keys that require visitors to download the hotel app. Elevator and dining instructions are being updated to adhere to new social distancing guidelines. Self-serve breakfast buffets are likely to be phased out. Some larger hotels and resorts may begin requiring temperature checks when guests arrive.
This blog post takes a look at some ways hotels will begin innovating and adapting to ensure guest safety.
After thinking about these changes, it’s worth noting a couple of things:
- While these adjustments may feel strange at first, we expect travelers to soon come to expect and appreciate them for the added security and health benefits.
- Inspiration has always been vigilant for the health and safety of our passengers. We will continue to work with our travel partners to ensure every precaution is enacted.
- We will travel again!
Every sector of the industry is diligently working to make sure that travel resumes as soon as possible—safer than ever.