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Lands Apart

Seemingly isolated in their own world, most of the things never changed in Itbayat, Batan and Sabtang, the three main islands of Batanes, and its only over 15,000 inhabitants. This is one of the reasons why the Batanes Islands must be visited.

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PHOTOS BY GEORGE TAPAN, COURTESY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF TOURISM

Full of wonder wandering in Batanes Islands

Kuha lang, kuha lang (Just get what you can),” the old Ivatan woman said, wide smile baring tiny, almost mouse-like, yet perfect teeth that easily contrasted with her sun burnt skin, appearing like coconut flesh pressed against dried husks. Hands on hips while sweating profusely, the salty water of her skin cascading, as if like rivers, from her face to her neck before disappearing under the collar of her blouse, she signaled towards some baskets lining the road in front of her, many filled to the brim with crops still coated in dried mud, and fruits still attached to branches teeming with black ants.

Magkano (How much)?” I asked, face already voraciously pressed against a juicy kaimito (star apple), sucking the milky juices while eating the fibrous flesh, even more famished instead of feeling full with every bite. In between spitting seeds, I looked at her askance, trying to look cute for whatever it’s worth to get a fair price, though feeling the fruit’s juices escaping my mouth to embarrassingly flow down my chin.

Once again signaling towards the food on display, the old woman repeated, “Kuha lang, kuha lang.” Everything was for free.

Embarrassed, my companion offered her a bagful of choc chips, what was left of our food, thus our stopping by her place in the first place, which she took, immediately pocketing it in the wide mud-stained apron wrapped around her scrawny waist. Then, waving at us dismissively, she turned and walked away, heading towards a group of women braving the scorching heat of the sun to till the land, their only protection the vakul (cape) over their heads. Like the kanayi (vest), the headgear is made of combed dried voyavuy (palm leaves), normally used for protection from the pounding rain, though also used to protect them from the harmful rays of the sun.

It was a peculiar experience, this bartering, like harking back in the olden times, a scene straight out of old movies – a common occurrence, they say, locally, since people grow their own crops, with the extras displayed for those who may need them.

But this is Batanes, after all, the islands left by time. Fortunately.

ALREADY ELSEWHERE…

“At night you can even see the lights from Taiwan. Vice versa, the Taiwanese who visit us say that they can hear our roosters crow at daybreak,” a tourist guide provided me by the local government once told me, seated somewhere near the shores of Valugan Bay, at the foot of the 1,008-meter tall Iraya Volcano. “The tendency to exaggerate is there, of course, but you get the concept.”

“At night you can even see the lights from Taiwan. Vice versa, the Taiwanese who visit us say that they can hear our roosters crow at daybreak,” a tourist guide said – something ALMOST believable.

I nodded, didn’t know what to say, the landscape before me taking every word out of my mouth. We were overlooking the forested area of Mt. Iraya – a picture-perfect scene straight out of a postcard, I remembered thinking then – which is not far from the truth, though not a postcard of the Philippines. More like New Zealand in the fresh milk TV commercials. Or Texas in the Marlboro advertisements. Or anything else to this strain, though definitely not the Philippines.

“We are closer to Taiwan than to mainland Luzon,” he added, his eyes squinting as he looked in the distance. “They’re that way,” he pointed at distant islands mostly covered in mists so they could be hardly made out, like the mythical Avalon coming and then going from view.

The Ivatans, of course, trace their roots to the Taiwanese immigrants who inter-married with the Spaniards who went to the islands in the 16th century – a combination most obvious in their peculiar dialect that is “pidgin Spanish, spoken with the rhythm of the Chinese language.” Seemingly isolated in their own world, most of the things never changed in Itbayat, Batan and Sabtang, the three main islands of Batanes, and its only over 15,000 inhabitants. In fact, fast forward to another time, when the sky was still amazingly clear, as if mocking the rain said to frequent the island to arrive, everything looked unreal, even surreal, though the distinction between the two is hard to find there. From the mountains seemingly trying to overlap each other, occasionally giving way to cascading bodies of water, at times hardly making any noise as they placidly flow though some suddenly merging with wild rivers that crush at everything on their way, to the largely untouched still lush forests, divided here and there by prairies, wild flowers swaying with the tall grasses when the wind blew, and then everything abruptly ends when the view is shortly cut by cliffs that plunge to the seas below. Nothing looked as foreign to me, especially knowing I was right at home.

Standing atop one of the hills of Payaman (a.k.a. Marlboro Country, supposedly because the area is said to be any rancher’s idea of a paradise), my companion started singing on top of his voice, without a care since no one else was around except for the horses running free, mingling with cows and some kalabaw (water buffalo) with their calves, that the hills are alive. And maybe they were, with memories as old as time, though are now exposed with the long-overdue interest in Batanes (and yet legally protected from abuse by virtue of Presidential Proclamation No. 335 (under former Pres. Fidel V. Ramos) that recognizes Batanes as a Protected Area).

Seated on a blanket, trying to enjoy the tough flesh of pating (shark) that still managed to look menacing even when already dead and wholly cooked, a feeling of dislocation came over me – like not knowing where one exactly is, though, in this case, I did know where I was: atop one of Batanes’ hills, enjoying the warmth of the sun as it kissed my naked torso, immediately tanning at its smallest provocations, while savoring the best that the place has to offer, peculiar food that are delectable ulam (viand) that add to the impression that one is elsewhere but locally located. And it never felt as good feeling lost.

STILL IN THE PHILIPPINES…

Spanish architect, and former director of the Instituto Cervantes de Manila, Javier Galvan, once commented that, in his dealings with the country’s historical treasures, the Filipino architecture never fails to pique his interest because it is “quite unique as it is filled with various influences.” “(Reflecting this) in the same way, (I find) the Filipino culture as very interesting because it is filled with various influences,” Galvan said, stressing that it is the “blend” that helps define the uniqueness of the Filipino.

After all, the Philippines has long been criticized for not having its own cultural identity, that it is but a combination of various influences that aren’t its own. But an opposing perspective is the contention that this – the hodge-podge of influences – is the very definition of the Filipino culture. And, often, this point is driven home by the peculiarity of various local practices that combine the traditions and the influences, making up something that is not either of the two, but both at the same time. In this, Batanes is an ideal subject to study.

In Diura, a fishing village, the locals still gather before the men brave the seas to catch fish. They hold a katayan (slaughtering) of pig, and then check, even foretell, the luck for that trip by looking at the lamang loob (viscera). Considering that some fishing villages fish only enough for their consumption, with the catch also often communal, abundant catch to see them through is the ideal. And yet, despite the seeming animalistic ritual, come Sunday, many flock to the old Roman Catholic churches of Uyugan and Ivana, seeing no conflict in their ways of living, their beliefs now carved in stone as they were passed from generation to another, safely practiced without being doubted as if their validity was proven by time.

The churches, the latter built in 1791 while the former less than 100 years later, are ideal representations of Galvan’s perspective of potpourri Filipinism – perfection in the combination, the parts making up the whole. And yet, like the bahay na bato (stonehouses) still common in the area, they signify the undaunted spirit of the Ivatans, who, consistently beleaguered by the strong blowing of the winds, continue to make it through come hell or high water.

That there is a hodge-podge of influences in the Filipino culture may be true, and Batanes is an ideal subject to study on this.

A stone throw away is the improvised wharf, housing a gathering of bancas (dinghies) that don’t look like they are strong enough to go out in the sea, young men were flaunting what they caught, presumably while only going for a swim, mainly colorful fish that would have looked more comfy in well-kept aquariums that in a frying pan.

Masarap tingnan (Looks delicious),” I said to a young boy, getting off our vehicle as soon as I spotted him carrying some gigantic tatus (coconut crab), which abound in the islands, making it the major ingredient of some of Batanes’ famous delicacies. But when asked to sell, he giggled, hiding the scrawny and odd-looking tatus behind him.

Limang piso (Five pesos),” he said, apparently joking. Like most, these weren’t for sale, but to be cooked for his family’s meal later.

A WORLD ON ITS OWN…

Once, I was hopping from one rock to another in Valugan (sand is a rarity at most beaches because the strong blowing of the wind pushes towards shore big boulders), when, seemingly out of nowhere, an old woman emerged, complete with a yuvok (crop container) tied around her neck, as if its weight didn’t bother her at all. She was an interesting sight as she, herself, hopped from one big rock to another, then stopped on the smaller ones to overturn them, picking up seashells hiding from under them to place them in her basket.

Ulam (viand),” she said, toothy grin directed at me, before she went back to overturning stones. It was almost lunchtime and here she was, still gathering what she will still be cooking for her family to eat, not in any hurry at all. But then, it crossed my mind, why would she when she was in Batanes, a part surviving detached from the whole, a world on its own in so many ways.

An acquaintance, asked what the most underrated tourist destination in the Philippines is, offhandedly said, “It would have to be Batanes.” And he could well be right.

Aboard a plane to head back to Metro Manila, the islands looked like giant green quilts from under us, sections of which were darker than the others, with the occasional spray of golden wildflowers, all closely knit by shrubs that form lines like divisions in a map. At the ends were cliffs, hiding caves, perhaps, like Chawa, said to be haunted by an engkanto (supernatural being) that shows herself to those she likes. Or giving way to beaches, at times sandy though more often rocky. Or enclosing villages where, for ages, and despite what they have been through, the people continued to live and even thrive, little worlds on their own, aware of the outside world yet surviving without its interference.

Just before the islands were completely hidden from view by the clouds as the plane continued its ascent, I had a quick last look of the islands from afar, seemingly as Wendy may have seen Never Never Land when Peter Pan first took her, John and Michael there. It was distant, as if unreachable – if not physically, at least a feel of it, as if it would rather be kept hidden, its many wonders would rather not be discovered. Having grown up fed with folkloric tales, Batanes could well be the island to visit to see the characters of tall tales of wonder – duwende (dwarf) running from boulder to boulder, avoiding detection, leprechauns dancing in the openness of the vast fields, sirena (mermaid) hiding behind giant boulders, and more. The place, definitely, was more than idyllic, a representation of things naturally beautiful when left untarnished.

This land lost and found thrived for long. It will for more, too. This is Batanes, after all, the islands left by time – only to be discovered over and over and over again, never ceasing to cast its spell on whoever does so.

The founder of Outrage Magazine, Michael David dela Cruz Tan is a graduate of Bachelor of Arts (Communication Studies) of the University of Newcastle in New South Wales, Australia. Though he grew up in Mindanao (particularly Kidapawan and Cotabato City in Maguindanao), even attending Roman Catholic schools there, he "really, really came out in Sydney," he says, so that "I sort of know what it's like to be gay in a developing and a developed world". Mick can: photograph, do artworks with mixed media, write (DUH!), shoot flicks, community organize, facilitate, lecture, research (with pioneering studies under his belt)... this one's a multi-tasker, who is even conversant in Filipino Sign Language (FSL). Among others, Mick received the Catholic Mass Media Awards (CMMA) in 2006 for Best Investigative Journalism. Cross his path is the dare (read: It won't be boring).

Health & Wellness

Incarceration, police discrimination may worsen psychological, physical health of sexual minority men – study

43% of study participants reported police discrimination within the previous year, which was most frequent among those with a history of incarceration. Respondents who faced high levels of police discrimination within the previous year also tended to show high levels of psychological distress and HIV risk, and a low willingness to take PrEP compared with their peers.

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Photo by Cameron Casey from Pexels.com

Incarceration and police discrimination may contribute to HIV, depression and anxiety among gay, bisexual and other sexual minority men, according to a Rutgers led study.

The study, funded by the National Institute of Health (NIH) and published in the journal Social Science & Medicine, examined associations between incarceration, police and law enforcement discrimination and recent arrest particularly with Black sexual minority mens’ psychological distress, risk for HIV and willingness to take pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV prevention.

“Evidence suggests Black sexual minority men in the US may face some of the highest rates of policing and incarceration in the world,” said lead author, Devin English, assistant professor at the Rutgers School of Public Health. “Despite this, research examining the health impacts of the US carceral system rarely focuses on their experiences.”

The study particularly examined how incarceration and police discrimination, which have roots in enforcing White supremacy and societal heterosexism, are associated with some of the most pressing health crises among Black sexual minority men like depression, anxiety, and HIV.

The researchers surveyed 1,172 Black, gay, bisexual, and other sexual minority men over the age of 16 from across the US who reported behaviors that increased their risk for HIV over the previous six months. Participants reported on their incarceration history, experiences of police and law enforcement discrimination, anxiety and depression, sexual behavior, and willingness to take PrEP.

They found that 43% of study participants reported police discrimination within the previous year, which was most frequent among those with a history of incarceration. Respondents who faced high levels of police discrimination within the previous year also tended to show high levels of psychological distress and HIV risk, and a low willingness to take PrEP compared with their peers. The study also found that respondents who were previously incarcerated or recently arrested had a heightened HIV risk and lower willingness to take PrEP.

“These findings transcend individual-level only explanations to offer structural-level insights about how we think about Black sexual minority men’s HIV risk,” said co-author Lisa Bowleg, professor of psychology at The George Washington University. “The study rightly directs attention to the structural intersectional discrimination that negatively affects Black sexual minority men’s health.”

The findings support the need for anti-racist and anti-heterosexist advocacy and interventions focused on reducing discrimination in societies, and the carceral system specifically.

“Despite experiencing a disproportionate burden of violence and discrimination at the hands of the police, and extremely high carceral rates, Black queer men are largely invisible in discourse on anti-Black policing and incarceration,” said co-author Joseph Carter, doctoral student of health psychology at the City University of New York’s Graduate Center. “Our study provides empirical support for the intersectional health impacts of police and carceral discrimination that have been systemically perpetrated onto Black queer men.”

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Travel

City in Massachusetts officially recognizes polyamorous relationships

The city of Somerville in Massachusetts in the US passed an ordinance that officially recognizes polyamorous relationships by no longer limiting the number of people included in domestic partnerships.

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Photo by Mark Boss from Unsplash.com

#LoveisLove

The city of Somerville in Massachusetts in the US passed an ordinance that officially recognizes polyamorous relationships by no longer limiting the number of people included in domestic partnerships.

With this, Somerville becomes one of the first cities in the US to officially recognize polyamorous relationships.

This move was actually a result of a few subtle language shifts – e.g. instead of defining a relationship as an “entity formed by two persons,” the ordinance now defines it as an “entity formed by people”; replaces “he and she” with “they”; and replaces “both” with “all.”

The City Council passed the ordinance on June 25; and on June 29, Mayor Joe Curtatone signed it into municipal law.

Polyamory is usually defined as the practice of having multiple consensual intimate relationships, and is often described as consensual non-monogamy. Relationships can be sexual or romantic, and are not gender-specific. Polyamorous relationships are diverse and can look different depending on the family. Sometimes it means having a primary relationship and seeking casual intimacy, and sometimes it means involving a third or fourth (and so on) person in building a family structure.

Photo by ATC Comm Photo from Pexels.com

This is important: It is illegal in all 50 American states to be married to more than one person, which is known as polygamy, not polyamory. Polygamy is tied to marriage (and is also gendered); and does not reference romance, intimacy or even consent.

Polyamory, meanwhile, refers to different kinds of arrangements — e.g. when a married couple has regular outside partners. Prior to this ordinance, there was no legal framework in Somerville for polyamorous families to share finances, custody of children or the rights and responsibilities that come with marriage.

Somerville is now in the process of changing the application to include space for more than two partners.

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Travel

Montenegro legalizes same-sex civil partnerships

Montenegro legalized same-sex civil partnerships, in a 42-5 vote among the country’s lawmakers. With this move, it becomes the first European country outside of Western Europe and the European Union to legally recognize same-sex couples.

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Photo by roemi62 at Pixabay.com

Montenegro legalized same-sex civil partnerships, in a 42-5 vote among the country’s lawmakers. With this move, it becomes the first European country outside of Western Europe and the European Union to legally recognize same-sex couples.

This is not a complete win, by any means.

While the new law will give same-sex couples the same legal rights as mixed-sex couples, same-sex couples will not have the right to adopt.

The country’s president, Milo Đukanović, tweeted that they were now “one step closer to joining the most developed world democracies.”

The law will come into effect next year, with details yet to be finalized, as well as government clerks needing to undergo training.

Montenegro’s pro-LGBTQIA move is only one of the country’s moves largely driven by its attempt to join the European Union. Another move includes anti-discrimination training for police services and health workers.

Photo by falco at Pixabay.com

Still in the Balkans, parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina are also set to start a consultation that could mean the government starts recognizing same-sex relationships. Now this is worth highlighting: The country is divided into two self-governing entities, and only the Federation is considering the move. The conservative Republika Srpska, which covers less than the Federation, is not considering it.

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Lifestyle & Culture

Discover who you are and how best to live with ancient technologies

Regardless of where you’re at on your life journey there’s never a better time to cut the noise and practice an ancient technology that has worked for generations.

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The world is a confusing place, which isn’t helped by the bombardment of information we are expected to process on a daily basis. We get conflicting messages all the time about who we are, who we are supposed to be, and what’s essential in life. It can be we know ourselves pretty well, the data deluge can easily throw it all into doubt.

Regardless of where you’re at on your life journey there’s never a better time to cut the noise and practice an ancient technology that has worked for generations. 

Meditation 

Meditation is perhaps older than time, it’s certainly older than recorded history. The first evidence of humans meditating are carvings and wall art in ancient India that depicts people sitting in lotus positions. Fast-forward 5000 years and there are seven billion people on the planet, most of whom are plugged into the internet. Practising meditation might take a lifetime to master but accessing these ancient technologies has never been easier. There are many types of mediation to choose from, including: mindfulness, movement, and transcendental. Not all meditation types will work for everyone. The key is to try out some different ones to see what you like best or what meets your goals.

Enneagram 

For those unfamiliar with the Enneagram, it’s an ancient mathematical model for determining your personality type. Some think it came from the Sufi tradition, others that it’s from ancient Christianity, or related to Pythagoras. The Enneagram is a nine-sided shape each of which represents an archetype of worldview of the way people think and what they value. It is much more than a simple personality test.

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Using questions the Enneagram can dig deep into the core traits, motivations, defence mechanisms and fears that live in the unconscious layers of our personalities. Find out what your Enneagram number is and it will empower you to be a more conscious human being, someone happier, and able to understand others much better. 

Yoga

Yoga is another ancient human technology that has come into fashion in a big way. When you think of yoga you might think of the cobra pose, the downward facing dog, of the child’s pose. You might also think of people striking impressive poses on rocky vistas. This is how yoga is presented to us in the 21st century, but in reality, it is more than that – and much simpler also. Yoga is an appreciation of the natural world and our place within it. It is simply bringing awareness to our breath and controlling it in a skillful way. Yoga is also lifestyle – how we eat, how we choose to exercise. All of these practices will bring you closer to who you are and improve your life.

Ayurveda

Ayurveda is a much lesser known life science that is starting to gain popularity among those interested in tailoring their lifestyle to their specific mental, physical, and emotional characteristics. It is an ancient Indian science of medicine that promotes health through prevention using lifestyle choices and a selection of herbs. The theory is that everyone has a particular energy pattern which comprises their own constitution. This constitution is determined by a number of factors and remains fairly constant throughout a lifetime. By analyzing this energy pattern, best practice choices can be made about what foods to eat, when to eat, among other things.

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Lifestyle & Culture

Three crucial steps for a thriving business

If your business is surviving, but not thriving, take these three crucial steps to get the most out of your company.

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If you’re a business owner, you may think that simply surviving the COVID-19 crisis, and the financial impacts it has had, is enough. Think again.

If your business is surviving, but not thriving, take these three crucial steps to get the most out of your company. 

IMAGE SOURCE: PEXELS.COM

Provide excellent customer service

While you likely set out to solve a problem that a customer was facing or provide a product that someone was in search of, it may have been lost somewhere along the road. It’s time to remember that. So, instead of just offering middling service at best, make sure your customer service is optimal.

Go the extra mile when you can; if a customer has a question that you don’t have the direct answer to, point them to an expert that might. Is your customer asking for an upgrade, a product, or something that you don’t offer yet but might? Don’t forget to reach out directly to them as soon as you do have it available, whether that means salted chocolate chip cookies if you own a bakery, or a new way to track receipts if you offer a SaaS solution to finances.

Offer the type of customer service that you want when you frequent a business. Each customer you interact with has their own unique customer experience, so remember that when providing them your solution or product. 

Do not cut prices even during a crisis

Don’t underestimate your company’s worth. Many start-up businesses under value their product, solution, or service. When this happens, they don’t charge enough. And do you know what happens? People don’t think they’re getting a great deal when they work with you. They just expect that you are providing them the price that you see necessary to charge them.  Investigate your pricing strategy and make sure it aligns with your product. 

There is evidence that shows when two identical services are offered at different prices, people will often go with the higher price. Why? They simply assume it’s better. If your product is good, do not cut prices, offer coupons, or boast that you’re the cheapest in the area. Not only are you attracting the wrong customers by doing this, but you’re also likely to lose customers when you raise prices that weer previously unsustainable. 

IMAGE SOURCE: PEXELS.COM

Stop overpromising and under-delivering

If a car mechanic tells you that they can fix your car by that evening, you expect it to be finished by the end of the day, right? When you go to pick it up, only to find that it actually won’t be done for three more days, you’re probably more than a little miffed. What would happen though if the mechanic initially told you they’d let you know a timeframe, but expected it to be finished in about three days, and actually had it done in two? You’d think, “Wow, that was fast!”

Instead of overpromising and under-delivering, be honest with your customers. If you are planning to have an update for your app by the end of the month, be realistic. Don’t promise them more than you can actually deliver on in the allotted amount of time, and your customers will learn to trust you. 

Growing your business takes work

Growing a business isn’t all rainbows and cupcakes. It takes years of hard work and dedication, but if you want your company to thrive, not just survive, it’s time to kick it up a notch. 

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Lifestyle & Culture

Surviving COVID-19: 5 Strategies hotels should implement ASAP

Even when the pandemic ends, the practice of social distancing, fear of large crowds, and quarantining may continue to linger for months or even years. This means that business owners need to keep up with this drastic shift in consumer behavior.

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The coronavirus outbreak that started in Wuhan, China has spread like wildfire throughout the world. With the world on hold, global travel has been put to a stop, causing a huge blow to the hospitality industry, particularly hotels. Travel bans mean less tourists, and less tourists mean lesser hotel guests.  

Even when it ends, the practice of social distancing, fear of large crowds, and quarantining may continue to linger for months or even years. This means that business owners need to keep up with this drastic shift in consumer behavior. Keep in mind that many of your potential guests may develop a lasting stigma against crowded places, including hotel lobbies, busy restaurants, schools, offices, and more. 

According to the STR and Tourism Economics, the hotel industry is projected to suffer a 50.6% decline in revenue per available room (RevPAR) in 2020 due to COVID-19. In another research from CBRE, since the outbreak began in January 2020, it will take approximately 6-10 months for hotel demand to increase and 12 to 16 months for average daily rate (ADR) and RevPAR to gain footing. 

With that said, hoteliers need to take proactive measures to prepare for recovery once this dies down. Here are five strategies hotels should implement to survive the effects of COVID-19. 

1. Inform Your Customers of Critical COVID-19 Information

Be sure your customers know of the changes in hotel operations due to COVID-19. Inform them whether your hotel is open, as well as cancellation policies for reservations made before the outbreak. Also, don’t forget to let them know that you have a prevention plan in place. 

You can connect with your customers via website, social media, emails, and local listings. Your website and social media platforms should contain the following necessary information in which to put your customers at ease:

  • Cancellation Policy – the best route is to waive cancellation fees or allow guests to rebook.
  • Address Frequently Asked Questions About COVID-19
  • Comprehensive Prevention Plan
  • How Your Hotel is Helping the Community
  • Contact Information

2. Recognize the Efforts of Front liners

Doctors, nurses, hospital staff, security guards, cashiers, garbage collectors, medical technicians – these are just some of the people who work in the frontlines to fight the war against COVID-19. Recognizing their efforts is the least we can do to repay their service. 

For hoteliers, you might consider offering discounted rates for front-liners and first responders. Some hotels are now offering complimentary rooms for healthcare professionals with the help of the American Hotel & Lodging Association’s Hospitality for Hope. 

If you want to give a little something to the first responders, you can donate food from your restaurant to local hospitals, offer more affordable rates, offer complimentary rooms, or donate to relief and recovery funds. 

3. Connect with Existing and Potential Guests on Social Media

Since everyone is quarantining, the use of social media has drastically increased over the past few weeks. It’s a great opportunity for business owners, especially hoteliers, to stay connected with your guests and engage with them through posting travel and destination content. 

You can ask previous hotel guests to share a picture from their past stay, share photos of your hotels, post pictures of your area, share virtual tours of tourist spots, or ask your clients to share their favorite touristy activity in your city. 

If your hotel has a gym, you can post at-home workout videos. You can create videos or instructional guides to keep your guests fit while they’re confined to their home. These are just some of the ways to stay connected amid a global pandemic. 

4. Try Upselling

As travel and dine-in demands are being put on hold, every hotelier’s strategy should include looking for strategies to build additional revenue. For it to be effective, you need to figure out what your customers need and want. 

You can encourage guests to book in advance by offering them premium rooms at a discount. You can also offer longer stays for a lower price. For example, book a four-night stay and get the fifth at 50% off. 

This inspires business travelers to extend their stay and encourages potential guests to enjoy a relaxing stay post-pandemic. If your hotel has a dining area or a wellness spa, you can maximize your revenue by offering gift cards. For your restaurant, you can offer delivery or pickup orders. 

5. Personalize Your Marketing Campaigns

Pandemic or no pandemic, personalizing your marketing campaigns is vital to your success. By doing this, your customers will feel important. Whether you want to reach out to business travelers or encourage advance bookings, it always helps to send personalized messages to potential guests. 

With so much on your plate, it can be tempting to generate an automated marketing message. However, you can use this time to get to know your audience and connect with them. You can also try using campaign management software to schedule posts in advance, which will keep your messages aligned. 

Combat the Effects of COVID-19 with These Hotel Financing Options

The effects of COVID-19 in the hotel industry are inevitable. However, as the saying goes: “Those who fail to plan – plan to fail.” 

If you need financial assistance, there are different hotel financing options you can choose from. Taking out a loan may seem counterintuitive, but fortunately there are lending companies that offer flexible repayment terms. 

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