DevelopmentsManagementTourism

Seclusion is sector’s new sales pitch

Accom is turning lemons into lemonade by looking to cash in on the growing demand for self-isolation.

Enterprising businesses are turning travel bans and quarantine requirements to their advantage, offering special deals for self-isolating guests.

In New Zealand, Stuff reports, North Canterbury motelier Jan Mueller is offering a special rate for anyone self-isolating at their properties of $490 a week, a hefty discount on the usual $945.

Guests unable to go outside can do their own cooking and organise food delivery from the supermarket across the road, says Jan, who is extending the deal to those affected by travel restrictions and cancellations who are  still looking to get away.

The lovely Mystery Bay Cottages on the NSW far south coast in Australia is meanwhile enticing visitors with the words: “We are the perfect spot to ‘socially distance’ yourself from the world.”

Offering ‘stay for four and pay for three’ deals, it says: “We are quiet. We are lush. We have space to breathe. Bush walks. Salty sea. Visit us and take in a huge sigh of relief. We will leave the key in the door, let yourself in and feel at home.”

For accom providers, a 14-day stay represents a solid booking at a time when cancellations have snowballed and future bookings are slim. Many operators are willing to offer significant discounts and help make arrangements for supply delivery to quarantined guests.

One Gold Coast motel operator told us this week: “Everybody is cancelling every day. All my Easter cancelled and everyone the same. Disaster.”

As the coronavirus threat escalates, Airbnb hosts across the world are beginning to advertise that their properties are well placed for self-isolation.

In Israel, for example, hosts are seizing on the opportunity to advertise their homestays to tens of thousands of locals ordered to self-quarantine.

Eliraz Zohar, head of an Airbnb Facebook group of members offering some 1,500 vacation homes across the nation, told Haaretz.com. “The idea is to put together cancellations by tourists who don’t come because of the Health Ministry restrictions, the harm to landlords, and the needs of people sent into quarantine who don’t have a place to isolate themselves properly.

“More and more people are returning from abroad, have to remain in isolation, and don’t want to stay in proximity to their healthy families.”

While Australia’s Department of Health doesn’t offer specific advice for self-isolation in guest accommodation, New Zealand’s Ministry for Health does.

“If you want or need to use short-term accommodation (such as a hotel, motel or vacation rental), you should let the proprietor know in advance that you need to self-isolate,” says the ministry.

“Owners and operators must make their own decisions about whether they will allow you to use their accommodation.

“If you own or operate rental accommodation and have been in contact with someone who needs to self-isolate, you should consider the implications. The majority of people who need to self-isolate, especially those returning from overseas, will be healthy. If they self-isolate properly and cleaners follow appropriate guidelines, there should be no risk to you or your future customers.”

Zohar says groups of travellers required to self-isolate in Israel are looking to take their lay off together.

“Recently I was contacted by five guys who came back from Spain and wanted to go into isolation together. They didn’t much care where,” he told Haaretz.com.

“They requested a large apartment somewhere between Tel Aviv and Gan Yavneh. I uploaded an announcement out to the group and I got back a lot of responses from potential hosts.”

AccomNews reported on Monday that despite local operators experiencing widespread cancellations, some are beginning to see a silver lining in travel bans, as holidaymakers due to take trips overseas are instead forced to consider getaways closer to home.

With major international airlines including Air New Zealand, Qantas and British Airways enforce a dramatic scaling-back of their operations from the end of March, the opportunity may be there to exploit the domestic situation further.

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Kate Jackson

Kate Jackson is the editor of Accomnews. You can reach her at any time with questions or submissions: editorial@accomnews.co.nz

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