The ultimate holiday bliss: It’s at the top of every current traveler’s bucket list after two long years of the coronavirus pandemic. With pent-up demand for vacation travel at an all-time high, now is the time for hospitality leaders to focus on earning traveler trust and loyalty by developing a holistic approach to joyful travel. Whether booking an exotic vacation to a far-flung, sun-kissed destination or visiting families across the country after periods of mandatory isolation, travelers take to the roads, air and sea in record numbers, only to reconnect after the day has passed , to rejuvenate and recover very stressful time in our collective life.
Traveling can be fun and trigger positive mood swings. It also inevitably triggers a variety of stressors that can produce depression and anxiety. Or worse, the stress of traveling alone or at night can potentially worsen symptoms in people with existing mental health problems. Therefore, navigating lodging and transportation systems and helping travelers manage emotional anxiety and psychological stress before, during and after a trip is a smart health practice and an opportunity for the hospitality industry to proactively strengthen customer relationships.
For women and other travelers, travel-related stress can be exacerbated by existing trauma and post-traumatic stress that arises simply from going about their daily lives. For these people, travel-related stress looks like worrying about being able to safely travel alone at night (even in nighttime). “secure” areas), experience aggression or micro-aggression when traveling by air (which is increasing and worse than pre-pandemic travel) or just trying to cope with triggered post-traumatic stress during a business trip when they are expected to function 100%.
What if there was a way to create a less stressful trip that travelers of all ages and backgrounds could easily embrace? What if there was a tool that made it easier to manage post-traumatic stress, especially when traveling? What if there was a way savvy hoteliers could help build trust in the tourism industry?
What exactly is travel stress? It’s the body’s response to pressure: the pressure to coordinate multiple itineraries, get stuck at the airport, misplace a passport, get stopped at security, handle last-minute flight cancellations, and manage a budget at every corner of the vacation. It doesn’t pack enough of the right gear. It’s about packing too much gear. Missing a dinner reservation and finding out that the best local restaurants have been booked months in advance. (See also Irene Macabante on travel trauma: https://www.hospitalitynet.org/opinion/4109218.html).
With the ability to personalize service and respond to increasing consumer demand for digitization, TouchPoints provide an opportunity to meet those desires and optimize new technologies and innovative products to seamlessly align travel and healthcare.
What are touchpoints?
TouchPoints are high-tech amenities designed to enhance travelers’ end-to-end experience by reducing the stress and anxiety often associated with travel. These wearable devices allow travelers to focus on the holistic experience – which includes self-care for the mind and body – improving the overall outcome of a trip.
TouchPoints placed on either side of the body gently vibrate to activate a user’s “Quiet” Answer. In seconds, users gain control of their stress and are able to think clearly and experience a sense of balance. This process permanently creates new behavioral patterns and, over time, reduces the negative effects of stress.
Since travel-related stress typically begins weeks before the trip, imagine being able to send TouchPoints to clients before the departure date to mitigate the biggest anxiety-provoking culprits — from planning and packing to motion sickness and post-trip turbulence part of a “Hospitality X Healthcare” Solution.
Players in the hospitality industry can all benefit from low-cost, high-impact amenities that provide this “Gift” balance and stress relief. As modern travelers make booking decisions based on rewards and perks, luxury upgrades that relieve pre-travel stress before the vacation even begins serve as clever marketing and sales “Feel good welcome” Tool. Adding self-care to the hospitality checklist right next to ratings for facility, ambiance, cleanliness, value, etc. to relieve stress is consistent with the overall brand service experience.
No more trip stressors
Staying away from home can be super stressful. Fear of uncertainty, safety concerns, massive flight cancellations, Covid protocols. Modern travelers deserve modern solutions to travel stressors.
Just as spa-like airport lounges with complimentary refreshments or hotels with in-room yoga mats were created to offer serene sanctuaries and transport travelers to new environments, TouchPoints offer a high-tech path to a calm, meditative state of mind by shifting at the switch help the function of the parasympathetic nervous system.
Our body reacts to mild stress in the same way as it does to serious danger and activates ours “Fight or Flight” reaction and triggers stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, making us feel anxious and out of control. But our standard stress response can literally be rewired with TouchPoints. The wearable devices are designed to keep stress at bay; Consequently, it helps travelers stay in a meditative zen state or in a focused peak performance state for their adventure travel experiences in a wellness retreat.
And at the end of the day? TouchPoints help combat the factors that stand between your customer and a good night’s sleep. Stress is one of the most common and widespread sleep disruptors, keeping even the most savvy world travelers awake.
TouchPoints proprietary neuroscience technology uses gentle, alternating micro-vibrations to return users to a peaceful sleep mode in seconds. And since so much is based on online reviews, improving the quality of a good night’s sleep against the backdrop of traveler reviews plays a big part.
What hospitality leaders can do
What goes into a successful holiday review and returning, loyal customers? The coveted five-star rating depends on many factors, most notably the final brand impression that contributes to lasting happy memories.
Just as Disney and Princess Cruise Lines have used Disney Magic Bands or medallion charms as part of branding initiatives, sending travelers back is part of the overall guest experience with TouchPoints to not only manage the stress of return, but the traveler reminding them of their holistic well-being was also prioritized.
There’s no doubt: travel is back – but it brings with it a unique set of stressors. Harnessing advances in technology can have a positive impact on the well-being of one of the hospitality industry’s most important customer segments: the leisure traveler, who are returning to the skies, rail, road and sea for the first time in years.
TouchPoints could be a healthcare-meets-hospitality (H2H) solution. For more information, see www.thetouchpointsolution.com.
*Acknowledgments: This research is sponsored by the GloMed.Education website.
Beyond the hype, a dirty side of Da Lat
Most of this is true, but that’s not the only local reality where things get pretty ugly, too. Unless this reality is recognized and seriously addressed, Da Lat will lose its charm and become a shadow of itself.
Here’s an unflattering picture of the other side.
When walking or running on a sidewalk around Xuan Huong Lake in Da Lat in the early morning, at a certain point you can no longer stay on the sidewalk. One is forced to walk or run into the street as there can be up to ten street kitchens completely blocking sidewalk access. Going out on a street at night can be a bit dangerous as there are quite a number of drunk drivers on the road at night, some driving at speeds well in excess of 120km/h.
These street vendors sell food and drink in plastic bowls and cups. Plastic waste is scattered about a hundred meters in front of and behind their stands. Food and drink thrown away or spilled on sidewalks and streets is a common sight.
Because food safety isn’t monitored regularly, or because people might be very drunk, it’s also not uncommon to see vomit on sidewalks. Open stool and urination is a regular occurrence in the early hours of the morning.
There are many signs along the lake advising that making fires is forbidden, but the street vendors completely ignore them. Many tourists from warmer parts of Vietnam easily come to Da Lat in shorts and T-shirts, despite the colder weather. Street vendors want these visitors to stay warm so they stay longer and buy more food and drink. Sidewalks are often blackened with ash from these staying-warm fires.
When I was photographing these fires, a street vendor threatened to stab me with scissors several times. Some vendors started throwing rocks. A man tried to grab my walking stick and the cell phone I use to take pictures. I reported these incidents to the police but they took no action.
These charcoal fires release many deadly toxins such as PM2.5, carbon monoxide and benzene. When street vendors run out of charcoal, some start burning plastic waste. Burning plastic waste releases dioxins and other highly toxic substances. A piece of dioxin the size of a grain of rice is enough to poison a million people.
To keep their customers happy, some street vendors sell beer and other alcoholic beverages. Some install large speakers so their customers can sing and make lots of noise when they get totally drunk. Not infrequently, the karaoke singing continues until 4 a.m. and can be heard up to two miles away. Although the law prohibits singing karaoke after 10:30 p.m., this law is not enforced around Xuan Huong Lake. Once I heard karaoke singing in three different places around the lake, all blaring at the same time.
Almost everything I have described so far represents laws that are constantly being broken. But why don’t street vendors and their customers obey the law when it’s clearly stated on signs in the area?
The answer is simple.
Laws are not enforced. I have more than 12,000 pictures on my files of breaking the law in this city that gets dirty and ugly quite often, but I didn’t see a fine being issued when I called the police to intervene — not once.
A policeman explained it to me in a somewhat pompous way. If the police consistently enforce laws, it would infuriate many people, and with many angry people out and about, the country’s stability would be undermined and civil unrest could ensue.
The same officer went on to explain that if the police strictly enforce the law, things could get out of hand very quickly. People could become violent, and if the police hit back to defend themselves, controversy would ensue.
With a huge police force and militia, Vietnam has everything it needs to counter the violence and maintain political stability. So what’s the problem?
For many years, the police in Division 8 themselves have blatantly flouted the laws about dumping trash, throwing cigarette butts on the ground, and burning garbage. They even ran a fire pit on police property.
How can the police enforce laws when they themselves break them all the time?
On October 31, I informed a senior police officer in Da Lat that I have over 12,000 pictures of people breaking laws – laws related to setting fires on sidewalks, burning trash, dumping trash, dumping of waste and fishing in the filthy waters of Da Lat Xuan Huong Lake and its stinking lagoons, singing karaoke until 4 a.m., binge drinking, drunk driving, high speed motorcycle racing and so on.
I was surprised when he explained that I should not photograph people breaking the law unless their lawlessness directly impacted my safety and well-being.
Surely it is every citizen’s duty to record violations of the law and report them to law enforcement?
Even when someone threatened me with violence, he advised me not to take photos and to report the person to the police unless I had stab wounds or other injuries.
I was stunned.
I think the government needs to be much more serious about enforcing its most basic safety and environmental laws. If it doesn’t, it won’t be able to tackle far bigger things like the impact of global warming, carbon neutrality and sustainable development.
Photos by Paul A. Olivier of public waste in Da Lat:
*Paul A. Olivier is an American expat living and working in Da Lat.
How two Hyderabadi 3D artists are popularizing city’s flyovers, roads, buildings at global level
Hyderabad: For most of us, photography means clicking photos of a beautiful sunset, landscape or people. But Laxman Pithani and Nikhil Chakravarthy from Hyderabad are crazy about new buildings, roads, highways, flyovers and other infrastructure projects in the city.
“When you’re driving on a newly constructed freeway, with not many vehicles and hardly anyone to stop you or ask you anything, you have a kind of absolute freedom. We both enjoy it,” says Nikhil.
Laxman and Nikhil jointly run a Twitter and YouTube page, Traveling with Laxman, where they post videos and photos of newly constructed or inaugurated flyovers, roads and buildings. They have released drone footage of the Uppal SkyWalk project, the renovated Yadagirigutta Temple, Gandipet Park, the Biodiversity Flyover and more.
Laxman (left) and Nikhil (right) at the recently inaugurated Shilpa layout transition
Her most recent work was the transition of the Shilpa layout. When the city witnessed their first Formula E racing event, they were there to capture the track on which the race took place. On their Twitter Page Travel with Laxman, they have around 2,806 followers and on their youtube Page they have around 57,000 subscribers.
Transition of the Shilpa layout
It’s not about the end product. But Laxman and Nikhil began pursuing infrastructure projects in the city from the start. “If there are upcoming projects, we consult the person concerned and get detailed information about it. We shoot it from start to finish,” says Laxman.
In this way, it helps the audience to keep up to date with the progress of these projects.
When Laxman met Nikhil
Laxman is originally from Hyderabad but Nikhil is from Tenali in Andhra Pradesh. He moved to Hyderabad in 2002. Both met in 2007 in an animation institute `Arena; where they served as 3D training faculty. Here they taught the students how to use animation techniques in films and character forms. They later moved on to teach interior design at the same institute. In 2015 they both joined Custom Furnish, a company specializing in interior design, where they worked as 3D artists. In 2019, Nikhil left and Laxman continued for another year and a half before retiring in 2021.
Durgam Cheruvu Bridge
Ever since they met, they have discovered their shared passion for travel. Your definition of travel sounds very unique and interesting. “We both love to explore unknown roads. I can drive straight for 10 hours without thinking about the destination. We used to always discover new roads, overpasses, buildings, etc. on such trips, which fascinated us a lot. Each specific destination where nobody bothered us gave us a different kind of freedom,” explains Nikhil.
Until December 2021, Laxman and Nikhil were doing this as a part-time job. But in December 2021 both resigned and started doing so full-time.
Her work is now also being recognized by the Telangana government, which is asking for her help in getting photos of some of the infrastructure projects in the city.
Command and Control Center, Banjara Hills
Development in Hyderabad
Both Laxman and Nikhil say the pace of development in Hyderabad has been very fast compared to other cities. “I was born here, so I’m really excited to see the city developing at this pace,” says Laxman. Nikhil adds: “Something happens every week that it just can’t keep up with this speed. For example, the other day when the Shilpa layout flyover was inaugurated, on the same day Skyroot Aerospace’s private rocket was launched from Sriharikota.”
transfer of biodiversity
In addition to updating townspeople on the development, Travel with Laxman now allows many expatriate Hyderabadis to regain their lost connection with the city. “We have people calling from places like the United States and telling us they’re excited about how their city is doing,” says Laxman.
Renovated Yadadrigutta Temple
The duo are happy to be able to fill this gap faced by Hyderabadis living elsewhere.
Wedding of the week: Lovebirds elope on a Balinese beach following three months of top secret planning
Jamie Hart, 36, and Daniel Sutton, 44
Western Australian senior graphic designer Jamie and welder Daniel always knew their wedding should be small and intimate, but they also wanted an element of surprise.
The couple, who met online in March 2021, had planned a trip to Indonesia and made the spur of the moment decision to elope because why not? They were too excited to wait a year to tie the knot, so they turned their engagement party into a secret wedding celebration.
After legally signing the papers at The Old Tower House in Perth a week earlier, Jamie and Daniel said ‘yes, I do’ in Bali, with Daniel honorably taking Jamie’s maiden name, Hart.
When and where
The big day took place on October 22, 2022 on the white sandy beaches of the Nusa Dua Beach Hotel & Spa.
Jamie’s dress of choice, Morilee, was by New York bridal designer Madeline Gardner.
There was no need to travel to their honeymoon destination as the newlyweds were already there! They celebrated in Nusa Dua, Ubud, Seminyak and Canggu.
If you would like to be featured, send your wedding details and high resolution photos to [email protected]
Add details about when, where, dress information, honeymoon and anything that made your big day special!
- Beyond the hype, a dirty side of Da Lat
- How two Hyderabadi 3D artists are popularizing city’s flyovers, roads, buildings at global level
- Wedding of the week: Lovebirds elope on a Balinese beach following three months of top secret planning
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