Move over armchair travel. We're looking to the future now. You best be ready when it is here. Start planning.
For many of us, this is possibly the longest time we’ve spent stuck in the same country. Half the year has flown by and with COVID-19, here’s the top three types of travel we are doing right now:
1. Armchair Travel You are on your chair or sofa. With a book. Perhaps you’re watching TV – yet another travel documentary. You light a scented candle to layer on the illusion. You close your eyes, imagining that you’re far away. In Paris perhaps. Anywhere but home.
2. Instagram Travel #ThrowbackThursday is a thing of the past. It is #ThrowbackEveryday now. You post your old travel photos and look back on the beautiful destinations and exciting adventures you’ve been on. Your friends do the same thing. It’s digital collective nostalgia through social media
3. Food Travel You can’t get to where you want to go, but if you have can still enjoy the cuisine of where you want to go. That will have to be enough for now. You can’t be in London, but you can still have fish & chips, sans mushy peas ordered to your home. For the home cooks, you whip up your own culinary creations. Korean Army Stew? Kamsahamnida!
It’s not quite the real thing, but right now, any type of travel is better than no travel at all.
What if there is a fourth option?
4. Future Travel
Introducing Future Travel. As we gradually approach the light at the end of the dark COVID-19 tunnel, international travel seems like a possibility. There are talks of green lanes or travel bubbles being set up to reopen international routes between safe destinations. Very soon, you can scratch the itch from the travel bug.
Future Travel, unlike the first three options, is much more real. One that will yield actual benefits when you can once again pack your bags and leave the country. Future Travel means being optimistic and starting your travel plans now.
It is kick starting a conversation with your travel buddies on where you want to go and keeping a watchful eye on your destination of choice. It is knowing when travel may resume and preparing for it.
It means getting ahead of everyone else. It is getting the best seats on the plane. It is getting a coveted reservation at the restaurant you’ve always wanted to go. The full degustation menu at the chef’s table? Yum! It is getting your train/ski/theme park passes ahead of everyone else.
It is being the savviest traveller you can be.
This means making full use of your loyalty programme membership.
If you’re a member of The Ascott Limited’s (Ascott) Ascott Star Rewards (ASR) loyalty programme, you’re in luck. ASR has just launched its point purchase feature. If you’re not sure of your exact dates of travel, but you still want to get a head start on your travel planning, how about purchasing loyalty points directly instead?
You get greater flexibility when you buy points in advance and you can even gift the points to family and friends.
Your points can be fully redeemed for room nights with no blackout period restriction. Hello Oktoberfest in Germany.
The best part? ASR members can charge up their points quickly with the current 1-for-1 bonus promotion.
ASR members will receive 100% free bonus points if they purchase at least S$500 worth of points before 31 August 2020. That’s akin to staying 2 nights for the price of 1! Sign. Me. Up.
In fact, members can start receiving 25% free bonus points when they purchase S$100 worth of points.
As part of the 'Ascott Cares' commitment, Ascott leverages digital technologies to minimise contact where applicable. Meet Xiao Ya, Ascott’s service robot. The robots can perform a suite of tasks such as concierge services, leading guests to the rooms or facilities, delivering clean laundry and packages, and refilling room supplies.
Future Travel is also being mentally prepared and knowing what to expect as the travel and hospitality industry transitions to a new normal.
In addition to value, convenience and comfort, travellers now also expect stringent hygiene and cleanliness standards and safe distancing measures.
At Ascott, ‘Ascott Cares’ was launched to reassure guests and staff, aimed to continue providing safe homes for its guests, and a safe working environment for its staff.
Covering nine commitments, the protocols in ‘Ascott Cares’ are in compliance with the World Health Organization standards and local regulations will be rolled out progressively to properties globally from June 2020.
If you're in China, you might even run into Xiao Ya. She's not a mandopop singer. It is Ascott's very own service robot, just one of the 'contactless' technologies and initiatives at Ascott's properties.