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Hotels and Vacation Rentals: How Are They Amidst Covid-19?

Entire tourism industry is turning blue without its oxygen, that is travelers due to the outspread of the virus. As the industry seeks to recover, the contest between hotels and home shares finds both struggling to convince the public that their rooms are virus-free, their terms are fair and their offerings are social distancing-appropriate.

By Pallabi Ghatak

Hotels and Vacation Rentals: How Are They Amidst Covid-19?

Amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, the tourism industry is under immense financial strain. Everything around the world is completely locked up. In this pandemic, all industries are loosing balance and stagger but tourism and hospitality sector has been targetted the most, travel restrictions, and lockdowns. airlines, cruise operators, hotels are facing instant effects of the pandemic.

The establishment works with the two kinds of projects; one being budget hotels in the 3, 4 start category and the other being high - end luxury vacation homes. The two directors share how Covid-19 has impacted their business in both sectors.

"It was a peak season for our vacation home blz wherein we used to do a good amount of business during this time. But now the revenue is zero during this time and will continue to see the same as zero till the situation gets normal," said Jitendra Pruthee and Aman Batra, members of the board of directors of the company "V are family Ltd". According to the duo, vacation rentals because of its private format should be a preferred option after the pandemic ends.

"We expect to become bullish in the foreseeable future post-COVID-19. The overall hospitality sector including hotels, restaurants, etc. will see a bearish trend for at least 12 - 18 months post Covid-19 and will eventually adapt to the new normal," said they.

According to Meena Bhatia, vice president, and general manager for Le Meridien, New Delhi, while the hotel industry employs some 55 million people, there will be big job losses after the lockdown.

The tidal wave of cancellations that came along with Covid-19 suddenly made travelers aware of the terms in bookings - from no-penalty, last-minute cancellations to full liability even months in advance of a trip. Mostly hotels follow a general policy that enables travelers to make changes in their bookings without any penalty if they do so within 24 to 48 hours prior to their arrival. 

The exception is for prepaid, nonrefundable hotel rates, which tend to be the lowest - a good deal unless you have to cancel. But even in those cases, most major hotel companies, including Marriott, Hilton, and Hyatt, came through, offering refunds on nonrefundable rates in spring. Some extended the grace period to the end of June.

Among vacation rental companies, Airbnb took the side of its guests when it came to cancellations for bookings made before March 14, directing owners to issue refunds even if they were in the penalty window. Vacation rental company VRBO did the opposite, urging homeowners to make 50% refunds or allow guests to postpone for up to a year but ultimately staying out of disputes.


As the government announces unlock, people are craving a visit to different tourist places. Go-local is the new mantra among holidaymakers seeking both safeties from coronavirus and privacy. For many people coped up in their homes for weeks, easing of lockdown restrictions has meant escaping to nearby vacation rentals, which are witnessing a strong surge in demands as travelers opt for destinations with more privacy.

When travel is widely permitted, people assuming it to be permitted before a vaccine or remedy for Covid-19 develops, every place offering overnight accommodations - from RVs and yachts to hotels and rental homes - all will be required to get the confidence of travelers and ensure them safety to step outside of their zones of comfort. Already, many hotel companies are in a race for new cleaning standards inspired by guidelines set by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare of the Government of India.

The pandemic also sees to have created a demand for unique and private staycation spots. On June 30, A Travel Circle launched in India, promising customized luxury staycations for its customers. Its founder Pritish Shah says, "The changing travel expectations in the new normal world align very well with our offerings - private villas for social distancing, private jets to avoid commercial airports, highest standards in safety with our carefully selected hospitality partners and other service vendors."

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