The pandemic may have caught the world off-guard, but it has already made us realize how resilient we truly are. Although COVID-19 cases continue to rise, we are all slowly adapting to a new way of life. All industries have been spurred to transform to meet the changing consumer behavior and demands. This includes the travel sector, which is among the industries most severely affected by the pandemic.
During the first half of the year, people have had to put off their travel plans. Some did so voluntarily to stay safe from the virus, while others felt compelled to do so due to government-imposed lockdowns. With more information about the coronavirus available and fewer restrictions, people are now yearning to go on holiday again. The question is, which places are safe enough to go to?
New Health Protocols for Safer Hotels
Whether it is for business or leisure, some people prefer staying in hotels and resorts when they travel to a new place. Aside from their faster booking process, hotels are also perceived to be more secure than other lodgings.
However, the pandemic has significantly impacted this perception of safety, especially when it comes to health. With the lingering fear of contracting the virus, people have become wary of staying in crowded places, such as hotels and resorts.
To ensure the safety of their guests, hotels are enforcing new and more stringent health protocols. They have set limitations on the number of guests they accommodate. They have also changed their check-in and check-out process to reduce physical contact.
Housekeeping and room services have been kept to a minimum. Moreover, all hotel staff is obligated to go through temperature and health screenings before their shift.
Aside from restricting physical contact between staff and guests, hotels have also enhanced their disinfecting procedures. Most now use hospital-grade disinfectants in shared spaces and guest rooms.
They’ve also increased the frequency of cleaning high-touch areas. Not only that, but they have also installed sanitizing stations in high-traffic areas.
Still, there has been some news about linens not being cleaned and replaced between bookings. And while hotels have procedures for cleaning, disinfecting, and ventilating rooms, some reports have stated that not all of the cleaning procedures outlied are being followed.
They claim that the bed sheets and pillows are not always changed as requires and that remote controls are not wiped down even in prestigious hotels. Then, there is also the issue of recirculated indoor air through the air conditioning system, along with reduced fresh airflow.
Even with limited guests, there are still quite many people inside the hotel. There is also the risk of spreading the virus throughout the communal area if there is a guest who is an unknowing COVID-19 carrier.
The Advantage of Vacation Rentals
Here is where vacation rentals have an edge. They offer more private and secluded accommodations that reduce interaction with other people. With the rental all to yourselves, your family or group of friends doesn’t have to worry about other guests. Aside from this, here are the other advantages of vacation rentals over hotels:
Easier to manage disinfection protocols
Because rentals are smaller in size, they are also easier to clean and sanitize in between bookings. At Villa Serenity, for instance, there’s a triple-check system in place for cleaning and sanitation. The entire villa is cleaned and disinfected daily. All linens are washed in hot water, and all surfaces are regularly sanitized. With fewer people staying on the premises, it’s also easier to maintain germ-free surroundings.
Less staff to monitor
Hotels and resorts have hundreds of staff working for them, making it a bit more challenging to monitor health screenings of all those under their employ. On the other hand, vacation rentals usually only have a handful of staff dedicated to serving their small group of guests. Make it easier to implement health measures to protect both villa staff and guests.
Safer dining experience
You can do away with buffet breakfasts and dinners by staying in a vacation rental. You can cook your meals or have a private chef prepare them for you. Either way, dining in a cozy room would be safer than eating in a restaurant or hotel dining hall with other guests.
Private facilities & Amenities
Imagine wanting to take a dip in the pool and finding a stranger or two already enjoying a swim. This may not have been an issue pre-COVID-19, but it is now. With vacation rentals, you will not encounter this scenario.
In a luxury villa, you have all the amenities and the facilities to yourself, and you won’t need to share it with strangers during your entire stay. If you are looking for a five-star hotel experience, you can book a villa that has similar amenities and facilities, such as a pool, gym, spa, entertainment center, or lounge bar.
Which Is Better: Vacation Rentals or Resort Hotels?
Both vacation rentals and resort hotels have their share of advantages and disadvantages. This makes it a bit hard to choose which one is better than the other. But we can make a wiser choice by weighing some factors and rating the pros and cons of both.
Reservation and booking
Because hotels and resorts have more rooms available, it is undoubtedly easier to make a reservation at hotels or resorts. Besides the room availability, they also have faster turnaround times. This makes them a great choice for last-minute unscheduled trips.
In contrast, vacation rentals can accommodate only one group of guests per booking. Also, those who employ third-party professional cleaners often have a turnaround of at least 24 to 48 hours. Because of this, they can be more difficult to book. Popular ones can even have reservations that are months long.
Facilities and amenities
When it comes to facilities and amenities, resort hotels may seem to have the upper hand. Because they more spacious and have a whole slew of employees to maintain the upkeep of their vast property and to provide service to their guests. On the other hand, vacation rentals may be smaller in size, but their services can be just as luxurious as that of a five-star hotel. In this aspect, it is not possible to generalize one as better than the other. The choice of a hotel, resorts, or vacation rental It would solely depend on which specific hotel or vacation rental which you are considering staying.
Health and hygiene protocols
In terms of adhering to new health protocols, vacation rentals may have a slight advantage. Guests are either family members or a group of friends, so physical distancing isn’t a problem.
There is also the issue of using air conditioning in a confined space. According to WHO protocols, establishments must minimize air blowing from one person to another. Floor and ceiling fans in hotels or resorts are not recommended except for those coming from the same household. In this aspect, vacation rentals—which are more private—provide a better alternative in the new norm.
Social distancing guidelines
Without a doubt, vacation rentals have the upper hand when it comes to adhering to social distancing guidelines. Rentals accommodate only a handful of guests. These guests are also part of the same family or group where physical distancing may not be much of a concern.
In hotels, however, following social distancing may be a challenge due to shared spaces. It’s almost near impossible not to encounter other guests in elevators, hallways, and lobbies. Bars, restaurants, and pools may be open, but they may not be as enticing as before because people would still rather avoid physical contact with others.
Health experts say that the risk of getting infected with the coronavirus is higher through respiratory droplets than through contaminated surfaces. While they advocate proper handwashing to reduce virus transmission, they put more emphasis on avoiding close physical contact, especially in crowded places.
So until we know more about the coronavirus and how to prevent it, it seems that the better alternative during travel is to stay at exclusive vacation rentals.
Anytime and anywhere you travel, you risk exposure to the virus as you interact with other people. However, this shouldn’t stop you from enjoying life and creating memories with friends and family. Please always exercise the necessary precautions and choose the safer option for you and your loved ones.
Before you book either a vacation rental or a resort hotel, check current protocols regarding COVID-19. Some destinations require 14-day quarantining for travelers upon their arrival. Others may be very particular about wearing face masks and following the 6-foot distancing rule. And of course, you must also ensure that you are free from the virus so that you don’t unintentionally spread it to others as you travel.
If you are looking for a safe vacation rental in Jamaica, consider Villa Serenity in Ocho Rios. It is an exclusive villa located in a gated community just a few meters away from Puerto Seco Beach. Enjoy your holiday without fear with Villa Serenity’s world-class amenities in a tranquil private property. Check out all-inclusive packages at https://www.jamaicaoceanviewvilla.com/.