On pampering the isolated and squeezing in extra work
 
On pampering the isolated and squeezing in extra work
02 NOVEMBER 2020 8:11 AM

Ovolo Hotels have decided to make the best of their isolating guests by pampering them for 14 days with all manner of wonder, including in-room happy hours. Also, one study shows more U.S. workers are working longer hours from home.

Innovation is the keystone of the hotel industry, so this latest piece of marketing genius had to come, didn’t it?

One hotel chain, Ovolo Hotels, has invented a role—at least I think they are the first—of quarantine concierge.

Dismiss that as excellent marketing, or an inspired way of helping guests experience hotels in better light.

The QCs—a term in the U.K. that usually stands for Queen’s Council, a barrister, a lawyer of expert repute, but not at Ovolo—ensure that mandatory isolation is magnificently experienced, according to a blurb from the hotel firm.

I have come across QCs at other companies, but from those involved in transportation, which is where many people’s worry lies.

We hear of airlines and hotels doing all they can to eliminate coronavirus, but not so much from taxi companies, public transportation and the like, that middle stretch between home airport and temporary bedroom.

After guests have tested negative for COVID-19 at the airport on return and make their way to an Ovolo hotel for a 14-day stay as stated per Hong Kong governmental regulations, the relevant hotel’s QC jumps into action, with a few clicks on a specialized app resulting in him or her dashing to the stores for supplies.

Of course, Pringles are an important part of the isolation process!

Added to the package is breakfast, 1,000 Hong Kong dollars ($128.98) of F&B credits for in-room dining, an in-room happy hour, online social sessions so guests can see who else is isolating and something called a “loot bag,” which is replenished daily.

Rooms also come with unlimited premium Wi-Fi, Apple TV and Alexa, coloring books, brainteasers, playing cards, a personal potted plant, fitness gear and, on the final night, a bottle of bubbly to celebrate both freedom and, hopefully, what has been a wonderful hotel stay and unique experience.

As an added incentive not to mope in front of the TV, anyone who “takes more than 10,000 steps in their room will win a free cold-pressed juice.”

Home alone
Here’s an interesting nugget from business advisory Deloitte’s excellent weekly Monday Briefing.

It states that workers in the U.S. already have “saved over 9 billion hours between mid-March and mid-September as a result of not having to commute.” It is these hours that workers—and this is why the U.S. has been an economic powerhouse for so long—have turned into more work, including “working on second jobs.”

Well, more than 33% of it was, which might mean our American cousins are slacking a little bit, the rest of that newfound time being used for either childcare but also (shockingly) for leisure activities.

Leisure! Whoever becomes the next president should stamp that out immediately, unless it is to stay in hotels.

The comment said that pre-COVID-19, Americans spent on average 54 minutes commuting (or sitting in traffic), while Brits spent 59 (reading copy-and-paste news giveaways).

It will be interesting to see how these same statistics read in a year’s time or so.

Cities, though, are not expected to die out as workers rush for more sylvan views.

In a 1 October letter to the Financial Times, and quoted in the Monday Briefing, Allen Scott, distinguished research professor at UCLA, Los Angeles, said—in that wonderful academic verbiage I still miss from my MA in English Literature days—“the widely anticipated dissolution of urban agglomerations as a result of coronavirus is no more likely to occur than the ‘death of distance’ that was said to be imminent in the days when the internet was in its infancy.”

I think that means in terms of people abandoning conurbations that the more that things change, the more they stay the same.

Email Terence Baker or find him on Twitter.

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