Travel: Expanding Vistas

Having not ventured far from home recently, we’re longing for adventures. But with restrictions and uncertainty still very much a part of our lives, what can we expect when it comes to travelling post-pandemic? We asked four experts for their view on what 2021 might hold. Time to start daydreaming…

Mark Duguid, Managing director, Carrier Luxury Holidays

Spontaneity and last-minute bookings
We’ve seen a surge in clients choosing to book a spontaneous trip. As uncertainty remains along with constant changes to travel restrictions, we expect this to continue. People have had plenty of time to dream about a holiday and are just waiting until the right moment to take an impulse break. At Carrier our contacts and relationships mean we can often find last minute availability and facilitate some extraordinary opportunities.

Private airport experiences
Over the last few months, we’ve seen an up-tick in clients requesting everything from private jets and helicopter transfers to security fast-track, private departure lounges and the option to board first or last. They want the confidence to know their personal space will be respected at all times and they want to reduce the number of touch points with people. Recognising this demand, we’ve built these experiences into our latest campaign, Blue Skies Ahead, with an aim to ease our clients’ concerns with more time-efficient, luxurious and safer options.

Humans will become the new luxury
Throughout this crisis, the human touch has proved invaluable. And in-line with this, people want to have a real person at the other end of the phone, providing guidance and reassurance and handling complex renegotiations, all the while ensuring that their funds are protected and their best interests are prioritised. Any luxury brand worth their salt knows that real luxury is about people, service excellence and trust.

Arnaud Zannier, Founder and CEO, Zannier Hotels

Fewer, longer holidays
With the challenges of quarantine, travel continues to be complex. Short hops are likely to be out for now and I think travellers will instead opt for longer, more experiential adventures. Those who were taking seven or eight city breaks a year are thinking they’re not sure they want to be flying as frequently. People still want to travel, but they really want to take their time when they’re there. There is also the environmental impact: the quiet skies during lockdown made us take stock of the world around us and realise the damage we’re doing to the planet by constantly jumping on a plane.

Remote, wilderness experiences
People are leaning towards more remote-based experiences. They will be more careful about choosing their destination, maybe going for ones that aren’t too crowded and opting for smaller hotels. We’re receiving a lot of demand for our lodges in Namibia – the vast, beautiful landscapes coupled with a very limited number of rooms and unique, bucket-list experiences are exactly what people are looking for. Our newest property in Vietnam, Zannier Hotels Bãi San Hô, also ticks all the boxes. It’s situated within 98 hectares of paddy-fields and hilltops and overlooks an untouched, private one-kilometre beach. With just a handful of small fishing villages nearby, guests really will have the chance to completely disconnect from everyday life.

Travel with a conscience
This period has really given us the opportunity to make long-lasting environmental and philanthropical changes. A lot of travellers want to have a positive impact on not just the planet, but also local communities. It’s a very important subject for the millennial generation in particular, and it’s vital that we all do our bit to create a better planet. We’ve used this time to seriously look at what we’re doing for local communities and how our properties can make a positive impact on their surroundings. At Zannier Hotels Bãi San Hô, for instance, we have been teaching English in the nearby villages and in Namibia, with the increase in poaching due to the lack of tourists, our conservation efforts by N/a’an ku sê at the Zannier Reserve have been particularly important.

Gordon Campbell Gray, Founder, The Wee Hotel Company

Small, local, and sustainable
Now, more than ever, people are looking for something that is slower, more thoughtful, and much more personal. Both The Pierhouse and The Three Chimneys use ingredients sourced nearby or made in-house, waste is minimised and the environment is considered. They celebrate the finest Scotland has to offer and provide a real sense of place. When you live in a country like Scotland where the local produce is so spectacular, it seems so pointless and upsetting to fly food in. At The Pierhouse when the chef needs lobster, he goes to the end of the jetty, which is just outside, and picks up a creel. I feel this is real luxury in today’s world.

Staying in the UK
Passport-free holidays became the norm in 2020 and I expect this will continue into 2021 and beyond, as we grow to appreciate the wonders on our doorsteps. We have all been inclined to stop and look at what is right in front of us and luckily the UK has plenty of culture, coastline, conservation parks and countryside to discover. Over the years, I’ve been lucky enough to travel the world, but, at the end of the day, few places can rival the sheer magnificence of Scotland. I am optimistic that we have seen, if not the end, then certainly the cutting back of what I call ‘wanton travel’ – a weekend in Prague followed by a weekend in Barcelona, for example – and that people will see the magic of holidaying and exploring in the UK while at the same time supporting local businesses.

The personal touch
I feel, and indeed hope, that there is going to be a move away from lavish excess in travel and tourism. My intention with The Wee Hotel Company is to return to good old fashioned hospitality and offer the warmest of welcomes, great comfort, utter relaxation and superb food. Our teams are completely dedicated to ensuring that a stay is truly special and memorable. There is indeed a huge welcome on the mat!

Cinthya Alva Flores, Wellness director, Chablé Maroma

Immune boosting treatments
Now, more than ever, people around the world are acutely aware of the importance of good health and are looking at their general wellbeing with greater interest. They want to stay healthy, with prevention being key. There will be a shift away from lighter pampering treatments to a more evidence-based medical treatments and alternative therapies. At Chablé Hotels we can develop tailored wellness programmes, as well as those that focus on helping find mindfulness, balance and mental peace.

Back to nature
During lockdown, people discovered a newfound appreciation for the rhythm of the natural world and its ability to soothe, calm and revitalise our minds. During these uncertain times, it has offered us the kind of certainty we are craving – the grass keeps growing and the flowers continue to bloom. Both Chablé Yucatán and Chablé Maroma allow guests to immerse themselves into nature, whether it’s the Mayan forest or the white sand beach. From the tropical gardens filled with ancient trees and the indoor-outdoor living to the alfresco fitness classes and forest walks, everything has been designed in harmony with nature and to help our guests feel happy and balanced.

Wellness for the whole family
As wellness becomes more mainstream, its audience is diversifying, with tailored wellness programmes now catering towards previously overlooked groups: men, seniors and kids. Wellness is now considered a whole family affair, and post-Covid, people will want to reconnect and enjoy the company of their extended family more than ever, so will want experiences that cater towards everyone. We’re finding that more men are looking to take charge of their health and our experts can design a plan especially for their needs. Kids can also get involved with a selection of treatments especially for our youngest guests, as well as meditation, yoga and plenty of outdoor activities.