We talk to Zoë Watson, founder of Bliss Sanctuary for Women in Bali, about the impact of Covid-19 on the luxury travel industry.
Covid-19, which is caused by the virus called coronavirus, has wreaked havoc on the travel industry since its accelerated spread began back in January of this year.
Tens of thousands of flights and hotel bookings have been cancelled across the globe and many of the travellers that did make it to their destination are now facing weeks, perhaps months, in quarantine.
One high end travel business that has been hit particularly hard by Covid-19 is Bliss Sanctuary for Women, a company set up by Zoë Watson aimed at females travelling solo who want the ultimate relaxation hassle free travel experience in Bali.
“Being in the luxury travel and hospitality business means we were one of the first, and potentially one of the hardest hit industries during this pandemic,” she told LLM – Luxury Lifestyle Magazine. “Although we have had to cancel many of our bookings, our guests are looking forward to returning as soon as this is all over. We have had to act fast and provide extra support so that guests don’t simply lose their money but ensure that we can hopefully stay open on the other side of this,” she added.
“We know that it’s our wonderful team and Bliss family that really make the Bliss experience what it is and as it’s so important to us that we look after them during this difficult time. We have sat down with all our managers and run everything by them, we are all in this together, so any decisions made have been collaborative. We are staying positive and hoping this will be over in three months.”
We talked with Zoë to find out more about the impact of Covid-19 on her business and the travel industry, and how she is planning to overcome the pandemic when travel restrictions have been lifted.
How has Covid-19 effected your business?
How has it not affected us! We are currently closed until the end of May due to airline closures and cancellations, but we feel this may end up extended to the end of June.
The Indonesian government has also restricted access through different visa procedures to protect their borders which is understandable but has required us to stay abreast of each country’s rules, regulations, airlines and flights to know when we can open back up for business. At the moment people can’t even get into the country.
Further to this our staff are frightened of losing their jobs as so many of their friends and family already have. Amongst the personal security concerns, we are also fielding personal emails from guests ranging from heartfelt and thoughtful to worried and concerned.
We are doing our best and have changed our terms and conditions to cater for people in difficult situations whilst battling one ourselves. We know many businesses who are going through this process too as so many people are worried about their bookings and losing out on their holidays. We’re urging people not to panic – the whole world is in this together and we will find solutions!
It is important that we stand firm to save our business and our staff whilst remaining very loving, caring and understanding and doing everything we can for our guests.
How do you think this will change the travel industry and the way people travel in the future?
I really think it will change our whole world. Unfortunately, the economic hit may affect future travel plans, but on the other hand, I think people will find a newfound value in freedom and want to live life in the moment, creating as many travel experiences as they can.
I also think safety when travelling, and being aware of not travelling when unwell, will be a personal responsibility more people will take seriously.
What are your plans for Bliss?
We plan to still be around when the virus is contained and come back stronger than ever. As such we have offered any booked guests the option to postpone their trip and rebook within the next three years.
We understand many individuals have been greatly affected by this, so by extending the booking date of their holidays helps both them and us. Afterall, our guests are going to need an amazing, beautiful, tranquil space for time out from this gloomy period when it’s all over.
At Bliss Sanctuary for Women we believe it will be essential for women to take time out for themselves, to refill their own cup, and take time to recover and recuperate from this difficult period.
What is your main priority during this time?
Our main priority is our staff, communicating positively and clearly to our guests to reassure them and to be here for them, and trying to keep our heads above water so we can be here for everybody else at the end of this.
How are you using this time to improve your brand and prepare for the future?
We are changing our online focuses to be supportive, positive and nurturing for women and all our followers. I feel it is important that in this time of overwhelming fear we focus on hope, gratitude, our dreams, and above all, remain positive. Positivity is such an important thing for mental health and happiness, made only more important at times like these.
As a result, our messages are full of hope, beauty, light, love and Bliss, taking the things we do every day for women here at Bliss and sharing with our online community so they can have a bit of Bliss in their own homes.
Staying hopeful, positive, happy and thankful for all the amazing things we have in our lives is extremely important for individuals to get through this time. Helping people curb anxiety and stress is our specialty.
What are you looking forward to most in the future?
I really hope humankind can learn to be more aware of how our actions affect others. That we can stay connected and really relish and love this. I hope we stop taking the amazing lives we have for granted and be aware and grateful for the small things.
Thankfulness is so important and a lot of us have forgotten about this under the weight of our expectations.
I like to think this experience brings humanity together in hope and trust and that we will stop taking ourselves and others for granted. That we will look within to take personal responsibility for our lives and helping others and that we stop trying to control things and surrender.
To flow like water is the greatest strength and I really hope we can all realise we are part of something much bigger than us. We need to adapt to change not push against it, because out of this difficult time, the greatest blessings can arise.
For me personally, it is at some of the hardest times in my life and those of the greatest loss that have led to the greatest blessings and the most growth. I believe wholeheartedly that humanity can come out of this humbly with love, not fear, and realise what is important to us.
Everything passes in time, but it is the way we deal with it and adapt to it that effects our lives the most.
LLM is reaching out to all of its incredible readers to try and help the situation as much as possible. We are asking you to please not cancel your hotel or travel booking, but instead re-book for a later date when hopefully coronavirus is under control and travel restrictions have been relaxed or lifted.