Now is an ominous, worrisome time, the result of an unexpected, traumatic storm of the coronavirus pandemic. No one knows how long it will last. However, many years ago, my psychology professor gave us a warning: that true behavioral change occurs as the result of only two things: trauma or religious conversion.
Right now, many are in the throes of serious trauma, relating to the loss of the familiar: employment, salaries, and the routines of life, but also, that this pandemic could not have happened at a worse time. It is Spring. Many want to go outdoors, socialize, after a long winter.
The first emerging trend deals with a short-term potential adjustment to this new normal, crisis tourism. It relates to the need for people to get out of town especially to a second home, a vacation rental, or just going to a different environment. According to a recent New York Times article, Airbnb bookings by urban customers traveling to nonurban areas are surging.
However, confounding the desire to get out of town is the fact that previously welcoming destinations are NOT so welcoming now. Hawaii announced a mandatory 14-day quarantine for all incoming travelers. Southeast Utah vacationers wishing to visit the Moab area must rethink. In an effort to protect Moab from visitors possibly carrying the coronavirus disease, the Southeast Utah Health Department ordered (on Tuesday, March 17th) that all lodging businesses in Grand, Carbon, and Emery counties not check-in anybody unless the guests can prove they work in one of those counties or are directly related to someone living there.
Le Bijou Jacuzzi Penthouse
Colorado’s Pitkin County, that includes Aspen and Snowmass Village, issued a public health order closing all non-essential retail businesses, including construction sites, and encouraging visitors and second-home owners to leave because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Outer Banks of North Carolina are shut to nonresidents. The Maine island of North Haven went even further, barring all visitors, including seasonal residents.
There may be more destinations that will implement such restrictions before this pandemic is finished.
So, what to do?
Another emerging trend exists, but this time, internationally: luxury pandemic/quarantine hotels. A Swiss luxury hotelier started a “Covid-19 Service” offering wealthy clients high-end quarantine apartments with meal delivery and medical services, including virus tests.
Alexander Hübner, CEO and co-founder of Le Bijou Hotel & Resort Management AG, said Le Bijou has also partnered with a private Swiss health-care service to offer guests twice daily nurse visits. The in-room treatments can be purchased a la carte: a 14-day stay in one of these apartments costs between $12,000 to $14,000 per day, not counting extra measures people may like while quarantining. Le Bijou is not the only hospitality company marketing Coronavirus-related services and packages, either.
Across Asia, hotels are promoting self-quarantine packages promising reduced rates for 14-day stays, room service delivered with special handling and transportation to local hospitals when necessary.
Although many accommodations are still bookable, The White House has said citizens should avoid discretionary travel, and the State Department advises citizens to avoid all international travel until further notice.
Eccles Health Sciences Library Teleyoga Classes, University Of Utah.
Web-Based Life: Business, Wellness
The final trend relates to an expansion of our web-based lives. On a single day, March 15, roughly 600,000 people downloaded the Zoom app for digital conferencing. Zoom is now valued at $29 billion—more than, as of this writing, Delta, United, or American Airlines.
Zoom is a web-based video conferencing tool and a mobile app that allows users to meet online, with or without video. Zoom users can record sessions, collaborate on projects, and share or annotate on one another’s screens, all with one platform. There are more Zoom offerings— from yoga classes to sermons to educational seminars, to virtual dinner parties —are all substitutes that can help allay the annoying self-isolation that users often feel.
But the business/social world is just one area where online classes and conferencing is used. The wellness world is another.
As the world goes into home lockdown, the wellness world has responded with a proliferating array of new (and often free) virtual classes. For instance, At Home with Six Senses just launched, helping people that can’t go to a wellness resort to stay well—with choices that include at-home workouts, live meditation sessions, nighttime breathing rituals, and recipes for healthy meals. The YMCA is serving up free barre, boot camp, yoga classes and more. Peloton’s app, offering yoga, meditation and strength training sessions, is now free for 3 months.
You can even take Yale’s uber-popular class on happiness online for free.
Also, check out Elemental’s roundup of the “Best Workout Apps to Keep You Fit During the Coronavirus Lockdown.”
Finally, the luxury industry is undergoing a period of unprecedented flux and uncertainty as the world battles an unfamiliar, capricious global pandemic. The duration of the crisis will depend on the possible seasonality of the virus, how soon a treatment can be developed, and whether global economic stimuli prove effective.
During this time, as new trends may emerge, JustLuxe will keep you apprised as to what is happening, trends- and other-wise, in relevant luxury areas.
Photo Credit: NPR — Peter Hoffman