With the recent announcement that accommodation establishments across the country will be allowed to open under Alert Level 3, the team at The Peninsula All-Suite Hotel, part of Dream Hotels and Resorts, are gearing up to welcome back leisure travel guests.
“Although no specific dates have been issued as yet for when accommodation stakeholders will be allowed to reopen, we are 100% travel ready and confident that we have all the necessary hygiene and social distancing regulations already in place,” says Chris Godenir, The Peninsula All-Suite Hotel, General Manager.
Godenir and his team have already been welcoming in business travellers from the 1st of June 2020 and are currently converting some of the ocean-view suites within the hotel into dedicated workspaces for remote teams looking for a change of scenery. These are to be offered at a daily rate of R600 between the hours of 08h00 and 17h00.
“The way companies do business has changed – and we wanted to create a private, self-contained space for corporates to meet and strategise during the day,” explained Godenir. “We have had to adapt as much as possible, but it inspired the Peninsula team to think outside of the box, developing new and innovative value-adds for returning guests.”
As for digital nomads suffering from cabin fever while working at home, The Peninsula team are also creating hot-desks in the downstairs lounge at R60 per person for 1.5 hours which will includes fast, unlimited Wi-Fi, and a cup of local Bootlegger coffee to kick-start your day.
In preparing for returning business guests and anticipated leisure travellers, the hotel has also installed a keyless door lock system that allows guests to check into rooms without having to go to reception.
“This phone-based, keyless entry solution will allow for off-site check-in and reduce the amount of contact points with people and surfaces. It will also allow busy travellers to completely skip the queue at reception to save on time,” Godenir explains.
Despite reports that the travel industry would only re-open in 2021, the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA) has proposed an earlier phased reopening of the sector, which sees international tourism returning to South Africa as soon as September 2020 or earlier.
“The announcement by President Ramaphosa that accommodation establishments and restaurants can open was a small win for us,” says Godenir. “But we, as an industry, still need to continue spreading the word that South Africa is travel ready and continue our efforts to lobby for an early return of inbound travel.”
According to the TBCSA, it is estimated that over 40,000 jobs have already been lost within the tourism sector. “It is vital to preserve what we have left and continue our efforts to encourage South Africans to support local businesses and tourism resources,” he adds.
Aside from the economic factors, Godenir also explains that travel is essential. “It keeps us grounded, refreshes the soul and feeds the natural curiosity ingrained in our collective DNA. And it doesn’t need to cost a fortune. As long as you travel with your heart, mind and eyes all open, any destination can be life changing, even if it’s within your own city or province.”