TORONTO — No one could have predicted just a year ago that quarantine stays would be trending in 2021.
A growing number of hotels and resorts, particularly in sun destinations, are now offering complimentary stays for those who test positive for COVID-19 while in destination, a swift and effective response to new testing requirements from the Canadian and U.S. governments. Canada was the first to announce on Dec. 30 its new pre-arrival testing rule that requires all travellers entering the country to present a negative PCR test result within three days of arrival. The United States and the United Kingdom followed soon after with similar requirements.
According to Destination Wedding & Honeymoon Specialists Association (DWHSA), resort companies like AIC Hotel Group, AMResorts, Blue Diamond, Hotel Xcaret, Karisma, Palace Resorts and The Excellence Collection are all offering an average 14 days of complimentary accommodations in designated isolation rooms to any guest who tests positive during their stay and are unable to board a flight back to their home country. In most cases, once a doctor has cleared them for travel and they no longer present symptoms, they are free to check out and return home.
These quarantine stays, as they’ve come to be known, are in addition to on-site COVID-19 testing that hotels and resorts are now offering to guests who are in need of either a PCR or antigen (rapid) test prior to their departure. Of the early adopters of on-site testing, Sandals and The Excellence Collection are among those offering complimentary in-resort PCR tests for guests. Many more like Palace Resorts, Playa Hotels & Resorts, AMResorts and Couples Resorts are offering free antigen testing, primarily targeting American guests who require a viral test to enter the United States (PCR and antigen tests both qualify).
The way forward for the hotel industry appears to center around testing and free quarantining, but while both are certainly an added value and convenience for guests, they also mean a potential additional expense and logistical challenge for hotels and resorts.
“We know many resort companies are still struggling financially after nine months of COVID-19 and they’re not eager to absorb the extra expenses of free on-site testing,” John Hawks, DWHSA’s Executive Director tells Travelweek. “Resorts that can’t offer free on-site testing may find themselves at a disadvantage with their competitors.”
Travelweek reached out to several hotels and resorts that are offering either complimentary or discounted PCR testing on site and/or quarantine stays. To read the full article, check out the lead story in this week’s issue of Travelweek here.