“There’s no playbook for shutting the world down,” said Ray Snisky, executive v.p. and chief commercial officer for Apple Leisure Group Vacations (ALGV), during a virtual ALGV supplier panel last month. There isn’t, but hotel groups, tour operators, destinations, DMCs have been working hard at establishing health and safety protocols so that the world can slowly wake up from its quarantined slumber and get back to traveling again.
Of course, that doesn’t mean it’s been easy, because, as Snisky said, “There’s a lot of fast-moving information. Changes are happening by the day. We are all trying to keep up with indicators that we’re seeing.” But one thing that’s remained consistent: “Clean is the new green,” as Snisky mentioned. “Everybody wants to focus on protocols and how to make people feel comfortable. I look at these leading executives from the leading resorts in the industry and they’ve all partnered with organizations, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), Ecolab, Cristal—this is a great example of collaboration, where we bring experts and expertise to the table to ensure we can once again instill confidence.”
To instill confidence in you and your clients, ALGV has introduced the TripTrust program, an umbrella designation that indicates which hotels and resorts in its portfolio are following third-party recommendations for health and sanitation to help mitigate transmission of the COVID-19 virus. Third-party recommendations could come from trusted government agencies such as the CDC and WHO, or from private audit companies like Cristal.
“I’m extremely excited about this,” said Snisky. “This is an exclusive program and a designation that ALGV is using for its hotel and destination partners. Those are partners that we work with that have taken those steps to ensure the protection, safety and sanitation of the environment for your customers. So, travel advisors can look to that ‘stamp of approval’ as one of the other criteria you’re looking at when you’re making decisions about which resort you want to select.”
Snisky also pointed out that ALGV’s DMC in many of the high-volume destinations in which they work, Amstar, “has created an extensive protocol program, Safe and Clean. It encompasses everything—from when they see the customer, transfer the customer, support them in the hotel, go on excursions. They’ve taken a lot of time to make sure that safety is first.”
Under Amstar’s Safe and Clean program, sample protocols include: the waving “meet and greet”—waving is the “new handshake”—for customer service representatives in resorts, at destination airports, and other touch-points; during excursions, mandatory face masks for excursion staff, social distancing, frequent cleaning and sanitizing of all areas, and hand sanitizers; and for transfers, all vehicles will be sanitized before, in between services and at the end of the day.
As Snisky said, it’s not about finding the best deal, “it’s find me a place with a trusted brand that I know is going to put my health and safety first.”
Apple Leisure Group Vacations: appleleisuregroup.com