Bring in the Robot Cleaners: Travel Industry Innovations for the Pandemic

Bring in the Robot Cleaners: Travel Industry Innovations for the Pandemic

While demand at XO has recently plateaued, the private aviation company initially saw its membership surge 88 percent between February and mid-March at the introductory level, which costs $595 a year, not including flights.

Ron Silverman, the chief operating officer of XO, said many flight requests in early March were for returning travelers from places closing down like ski resorts or Europe, or for those going to second homes.

“I don’t think people are going on vacation,” he said.

Like classrooms and conferences, many travel operators are going virtual, including spas.

In lieu of going to a wellness center, seekers of spiritual balance can visit the “virtual studio” of Aspen Shakti yoga studio in Aspen, Colo., which is streaming free yoga and meditation classes. One-on-one therapies in shamanic healing, meditation and tarot readings are also available virtually, allowing patrons to sign up for live reiki and shamanic energy healing, for example, with a private teacher starting at $175 per hourlong session.

Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas, which operates 18 hotels and 30 spas around the world, is offering online instruction in yoga, meditation and forest bathing.

For a more comprehensive program, Hilton Head Health, the South Carolina-based weight loss and wellness resort, has launched a 16-week program online with more than 70 videos on cooking and nutrition, exercise, sleep habits, stress management and more (from $14.99 a month).

Tour operators and destination marketing organizations are looking past travel restrictions to engage potential future travelers with virtual visits. For those with Iceland on their bucket lists, the new “Iceland Academy,” from the tourism group Promote Iceland, features humorous videos on everything from safe driving to hot-tub etiquette and how to pack for the country’s changeable weather.

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