25% of business travel removed forever

Business Hotel

The younger generation dont need to press the flesh and sit-down like the over 50’s generation.

Travel for business is in permanent freefall, and the 9 to 5 mentality a thing of the past.

Business Hotels are publicly stating a 40% downturn with no sign of recovery.

In fact major contributors to this topic expect zero recovery- EVER

Business Hotels and office rental space have a massive dilemma, one I’m not sure has an answer.

William Nicholls
William Nicholls

My team has become a “mobile institution” because we do not travel at all

Sharing information and documentation has become so easy and the growth of CRM usage or business management systems like Slack is the new normal, in a way that seemed impossible just 2 years ago.

The consequences of zero travel

And information distribution to my team has become a “mobile institution” and I am observing emails being opened in the middle of the night, Slack comments early doors and documents being abandoned mid read.

On calls, I have asked key staff for there thoughts on a particular memorandum, knowing full well they hadn’t read the detail.

Volume of documentation is a real problem

The other more serious problem is the sheer volume of information share in the new mobile institution we work in.

And I’m not one for the detail of reporting systems, but its become increasingly obvious that key workers work on the move and that means they work on their Smartphone.

Mobile docs
Mobile Docs and QR

And thats where the problems arise.

Merrily creating documents in PDF or word on my PC without understanding the importance of creating that document in a Smartphone format wasn’t easy to grasp.

I slowly realised my staff and partners weren’t abandoning the document at all, they simply couldn’t read it !

The documents were un-navigable, huge or tiny on the screen, lumpy, slow to download and not fit for purpose.

The other challenge is because of the nature of rapid change inside our systems a document can quickly become out of date or invalid.

The answer was intrinsically a paper based solution.

Discovering Google Drive was the first part of the internal document revolution

This means that the Document/ Spreadsheet is live and can be changed and updated just like a web page or an APP.

Anybody who has access to the document sees the latest version.

So even after the document is posted in Slack or sent out on email, any iterations made are immediate.

That was a revelation, but only part of the solution.

It’s a self fulfilling philosophy.

Because if the document essentially always stays the same then if it was attached to an editable QR (that always stays the same), its the perfect conduit for a Smartphone enabled document thats scannable from the Smartphone.

If you think about it, a Smart QR code landing page only works on a Smart device doesn’t it?

So a PDF has to be Smartphone friendly on a system like that.

It’s a self fulfilling philosophy

Deciding on the Master QR control panel was easy and guess what?

A small Print job.

I printed it in high quality format and posted it to my team ! remember the Post office ?

A set reminder on email and SMS to scan the 5 QR for the latest document updates.

Each QR has a call to action pertinent to our organisation.

I have a clutch of Smart QR connected to a clutch of landing pages that deliver the Smatrphone information in the right format.

Interestingly, each QR also has a live link, much like a website link for anybody who’s on a PC etc it appears as a normal document.

Our very first Smart Company brochure is on the table now, Im looking for contributors.

But I envision Smart subscription QR taking centre stage again.

William Nicholls MD Maltix

With E-commerce in our Garden Centre we missed a trick.

Garden centre interview
Tam Duran
Tam Duran Chamber of Commerce advisor in conversation with PJ Quigley MD Newlands.

Precis 18th September 2021

in conversation with PJ Quigley, we underestimated how many of our customers are looking for the trip out, spending money is consequential to the experience.

Listening to a face mask conversation at the check out I heard :

“We cannot take a holiday this year, but at least we can get out of the house and go to the countryside”

With E-commerce in our Garden Centre we missed a trick.

We are a group, we buy together, we share resources and we grow together, and the serious downturn in business we experienced was expected but still a shock.

The repercussions manifested in many ways, staff issues, plant care issues and procurement problems.

One area we knew was future proofed, was our ecommerce website and delivery service.

Future proofing our business was a considerable investment and consistent growth has justified that investment.

We really expected the online store to pick up some of the slack, with a few peaks and troughs, the traffic reports were encouraging but the actual sales didn’t even begin to compensate for poor physical visitor numbers.

The internet project.

in 2019, the decision was made to out source the project with experienced people who really made an effort to understand our business model.

We have a wonderful online store, well thought out, fast, full of engaging photos and information and associated cross selling ideas.

But underlining that project, we felt a strong mismatch with our physical offering and the internet offering, we just couldn’t put our finger on it.

We considered re routing staff to become personal shoppers, a walking tour of the Garden centre with direct purchasing on the website using our staffs own phones.

We trialled that, but the combination of the weather, a booking system that actually worked, client engagement and staff shortages made the project an abject failure.

Sometime the obvious isn’t so obvious

Once a month we have staff and management meetings, this Monday morning was particularly wet and quiet, we decided to meet in the restaurant area.

We had been toying with QR codes to order food, and we had been trialling it for table orders within our predominantly self service restaurant.

The girls told us it simply wasn’t working properly, orders couldn’t be actioned in a timely manner, the menus and the table QR codes didn’t work and they didn’t even come to their PC in the kitchen they went to the checkouts.

What had we missed? why was this such a problem when even the local pub seemed to have a system that worked ?

That very evening I went to Newlands Golf Club and spoke to the Manager there about their experience of QR.

He rolled his eyes and said they had abandoned the entire concept because the QR was always out of date and very often didn’t work at all.

Dispirited, I was browsing the shop store looking at golfing paraphernalia, and a sharply printed QR club was winking at me from a set of Golf clubs that cost nearly as much as my car!

I scanned it on my 4 year old Smartphone and a wee website appeared in the blink of an eye that exactly fitted my smartphone and then connected to a one minute video.

This video was crafted to show the benefits of their manufacturing process, and a professional golfer on the tee, 3 days ago at Championship Wentworth !

What really surprised me was that I could actually purchase these golf clubs immediately through Pay pal.

We were missing a trick, this was the opposite to the way our QR codes worked.

If this QR code was printed, how on earth was the Video so recent?

The answer was to source a professional Smart QR company who produced Smartphone enabled baby websites with optional video and ecommerce built in.

These baby websites are branded and have unique characteristics for all sorts of campaigns.

But more importantly subscribe to a subscription service that allowed us to change the information on the QR after it has been printed.

Much like our ecommerce website the hierarchy had already been thought through, we knew that bit, it wasn’t too difficult to think about permanent weather proofed QR for every section.

It actually wasn’t too difficult to roll the QR codes out to all our centres, if it worked at Newlands it would work exactly the same elsewhere.

Using the flexibility of the baby website templates allows ongoing campaigns with real time reporting.

Two very popular campaigns at the moment are feedback ( situated on the back of doors in the toilets ) Questions on food, sanitation, parking and Christmas.

The second on the restaurant tables €5 voucher for your point of view relates to ‘how can we improve our QR for you ?

What we hadn’t even begun to understand was the importance of QR connected to our customers smartphone on site!

We phased the project, but used different staff to the website, it was more administrative, so we actioned that with a reporting system so I could see progress.

What I didn’t know, was that the Company we use has a reporting system.

It tells us real time how many scans we are getting and from which department, interestingly it’s usually associated with new season product, for example now we are moving into winter bedding and the call to action for QR says ” Scan here for Deal of the Day”

We can change it whenever we need to, but its highly effective for driving promotional sales on site in a way the website simply does not.

We now have a QR in the restaurant that changes almost daily for specials and food deals depending on the weather forecast.

We are so excited by the progress we are making, we are considering joining the ecommerce store to the QR codes on site, add to virtual basket and add to real basket real time.

I will share in February with my next guest invitation

PJ Quigley. MD Newlands Garden Centres

If only we had thought deeper about our print campaign

Our failure sent $ 12750 plus GST completely down the drain

Newswire article Baltimore Chamber of Commerce September 2021

Dan Monaghan Baltimore Port comms

Dan Monaghan talking to the Baltimore Chamber of Commerce in their first Breakfast meeting in nearly two years.

I wanted to share my experience about a safety campaign that was thrust upon me by the Port Authorities.

Quite a complex document was issued and the committee wanted a simple message to

“To nail to the wall”

If only I had thought deeper about my print campaign

I’m sharing a mistake I oversaw

We commissioned our normal print designer, worked hard on the message and printed a hundred branded posters in full color weather proof gloss.

It took nearly 2 weeks to get them all in place.

Stating the obvious

We completely forgot QR codes.

And when it was pointed out to me by a safety officer, my head sunk.

The really complicated information issued by the Port Authorities each has a video explainer, there in plain sight on the original document issued to the committee.

15 in fact.

What was missing in our calibration of the print job was our own dedicated QR that we can then link to any information we need to get out there in the future.

And with all the regular changes and rules etc we could actually simply update the QR code back office in the same way we update our website and intranet.

My message of the day guys, get you own dedicated and hosted Smart QR code, get it linked to a simple platform where everything else can be found and shared.

That way you future proof all your print campaigns and avoid unnecessary costs.

Stating the obvious wasn’t so obvious 6 months ago.

Dan Monaghan Baltimore Port comms Newswire September 2021

ESTATE AGENTS on the new Digital High Street

estate agent

Smart 24/7 QR functionality for the new Digital High Street.

Imagine 50 Smart QR codes each with a call to action connecting to every Property on your books !

ESTATE AGENTS on the new Digital High Street

Action equals opportunity.

How does an Estate Agent assess their needs ?

One simple question:

How many live sales, lettings, rentals and commercial properties have you right here right now?

30 / 50 more?

There is you answer.

Imagine 50 QR codes connected to 50 branded baby webpages that connect to Videos and much more besides.

Like a property video

Book a viewing now

Book an open day appointment

GEO / Postcode

Agent V Card here

Here are some Smartphone enabled Examples.

Scan on your Smartphone

Property Video
LINK if on PC

We highly recommend this Momenzo template Video APP for Estate Agents in the field

Go to amazon and get yourself a Gimbel or two, check out You tube for great advice on how to use it.

Discounted Maltix deal is £12.50 per month per user. TAP THE WATCH



DISCOUNT CODE AT CHECKOUT LIVE LINK

We also create stunning branded Estate Agent videos like this one.

And then connect them to Smartphone enabled and branded baby web pages like these.

Baby web pages are fully editable through our subscription services.

Sold the house ? KEEP the code, change the House ! 24 hour turnaround guarantee.

Change of staff ? KEEP the code, change the call to action and change the details.

Print QR codes with complete confidence, forever.

Estate Agent Smart QR
Live Link Properties of the Week

Or like this


Live Link a message from Ryan

Got a new perspective?

Do you grasp how important the “Smartphone-first” approach has become?

If Smartphone first business rings a bell with you book a call HERE

Book a training EVENT HERE

Subscription rates and order direct HERE

The first of October an Estate Agents problem ?

Bread and butter business
white architectural baroque building

Or their clients problem ?

Thank you Right move UK for the Calculator

£421 billion ( Yep, you got it , thats £421,000,000,000 ) plan to tax rising house prices to pay for the Coronavirus crisis

The first of October an Estate Agents problem ?

Seriously though, apart from the customer paying a hefty tax on an asset that may well go down in price over the next few years.

Do you see this as a problem with Government taxation?

Or is mortgage amortisation going to flatten things out and remove the issue?

Talking to Agents in more than one country helps a lot.

Continents rather than just Countries !

Lots of different problems and worries, but one common denominator

Distributing snippets of quality information on a regular basis is going to be very important for building trust and future sales.

And the ability to communicate on all sorts of platforms but retain the touch points of the eventual sale is becoming critical in this disparate world.

I guess you are sending newsletters and publishing on the website etc

But is that going to be enough in the new digital high street ?

The preferred communication channels for the smartphone generation are changing at lighting speed.

And your website probably doesn’t get a look in

It’s a much broader brushstroke than that to future proof communications in the world of property sales.

We get the problem, we understand and the statistics compound that.

68% increase of mobile traffic.

15-fold improvement of load and installation.

25-times reduced use of device storage.

52% average conversion increase.

78% average session increase.

137% engagement increase.

But taking the right action from a Property market Directors or owners perspective requires a bit of joined up thinking.

And its not particularly expensive, its more organisational but with the right tools.

Will Nicholls newswire Maltix.co.uk

Hotels moving away from analogue to clients smartphone services.

Hotelier Middle East

Hotelier Middle East NEWSWIRE article 12-07-2021

QR room codes connected to Hotel CRM

In 1988, the Louvre Pyramid was completed in Paris, adding 95 tonnes of steel and 105 tonnes of aluminium, stacked 70 feet in the air, to the grounds of the Louvre Museum.

At the time, people hated it, saying its modern, tech-filled and stripped back design had no place on the grounds of a 200-year old palace.

Now, however, the Louvre Pyramid has become an iconic sight and a physical representation of Paris’ past and future coming together.

Why are we telling you all this? Well, the hospitality industry is at a similar juncture right now.

A traditionally analogue industry, hospitality has gradually introduced more and more technology. Some say it enriches the human side of things and others fear the personal touch will be lost.

As anyone who has stayed in a well thought-out hotel will tell you, it’s about far more than just somewhere to stay for the night.

A visit to a hotel should be an experience from start to finish.

From the doorman tipping his hat to guests as they swing open the grand doors, to the shimmer of the mahogany desk as people check-in, or the appealing clunk of the door as a room key registers.

These are little details which by themselves may go unnoticed, but once combined, create something beyond the sum of its parts.

What would a hotel be then if that doorman was replaced by motion sensor system;

If the check-in process was done in advance via an APP, and if the room door swung open after recognising the guest’s face as they approached it?

A personal touch

The equilibrium of maintaining the personal touch but using technology for convenience, efficiency and, most importantly in 2021, health and safety, is something Marko Zirdum, general manager at Bishop Design by Paul Bishop, has been thinking about.

The design firm is one of the most forward-thinking in the region and has worked on some of the most striking hospitality projects in recent times, including SLS Dubai in Business Bay.

Bishop design
SLS Dubai by Bishop Design

Zirdum says: “Hotels are aspiring to find that perfect balance across both guest-facing and operational technology.

“For instance, there is a need to operate with fewer people and this comes at a cost of personal interface.

From an operations point of view, this reduction in staff is certainly more evident in light of the pandemic.

Personal interface is lost as we transgress into the future, especially when referencing such notions as moving away from traditional check-in experiences.

However, this certainly wasn’t caused by the pandemic, rather just a result of natural advancements.”

Bruno Pessoa, director of design and technology services MEA at Minor Hotels, has a different outlook.

He believes hotel technology can only increase a property’s personal touch.

Human interaction

Where does all of this leave the traditional, human concierge? Cleatus George, chief concierge at W Abu Dhabi – Yas Island isn’t worried about being replaced by robots.

He says: “A concierge is important.

You are an advisor, a counsellor and a guest’s best friend.

You are the one-stop person when a guest needs help.

The most important thing is that the guest puts their faith in you.

Even more now, when technology has made information available at one’s fingertips, the tourist is overwhelmed with the amount of data online, opinions and options.

“Human beings seek personal recommendations based on subjectivity and emotion. Concierges are the ones to provide it.

We use knowledge, as well as our own experience to show our expertise to the guest while adding a personal touch.

“While it is a great tool for the concierge, technology will never be able to replace personal service and emotional bonds.

I always like to think that a service professional should go on a partial emotional journey with the guest, just enough so that the guest feels empathy but not so far as to be intrusive.”

Cleatus George
Cleatus George

Guests are the priority

For Accor, the role of technology of hotels is two-fold:

To maximise comfort for the guest and to smooth operations. Tariq Valani, senior VP IT, India, MEA and Turkey, says: “From a design perspective, guest-facing technology is the new priority on their Smartphone.

Per Hotel its very good value and runs independently in the cloud

This meant that offerings such as WiFi, interactive television, guest room telephones and other solutions were always given importance over the rest.

Following the pandemic, there has been a shift to ensure that solutions put in place make our guests feel safe and have an “at home” experience.

“While we move through this pandemic, it has been clear that the guest’s voice and needs have played a much bigger part in driving the technology strategy.

Where guests were not interested to use certain technologies in the past, this has changed dramatically.

“We are seeing a rise in comfort levels when it comes to online payments, using APPs for various purposes like opening door locks, switching on lights, opening curtains and scanning of new generation QR codes to access services in their room and in open spaces.”

Room QR on beautiful wall signage can directly connect to staff departments within the Hotel and the Hotel CRM

QR can also connect to pay here enabled smart form pages

This is revolutionary for pay for use or purchases facilities within the Hotel or future promotions.

Interestingly, the professional QR code system we adopted allows us to change the destination of the QR code without reprinting.

More importantly, new Generation APPs, dont have to be downloaded from the APP store and are super light on customers smart phone memory.

We are building a database for future APP notifications and direct SMS for valued clients.

Tariq Valani
Tariq Valani

Changing spaces

How will people interact with the physical hotel space in the future? With automation being rolled out as quickly as possible in some new properties, designer Justin Wells, founder of Wells International, fears hospitality could be losing its tactile nature.


He says: “The philosophy of my business is around the theatrics and pageantry of hospitality.

I consider the way spaces perform, their illumination, the movement and change of shapes under the guise of theatrics.

And this is a trend being picked up by the global operators within the lifestyle brands.”

Justin Wells
Justin Wells

Having led designs for the striking W Abu Dhabi – Yas Island in a previous role, his approach to design is self-evident.

He adds: “Humans are very haptic, we love the feel and touch of things.

We can see luxury by its plushness and its detail, and at times, you really just want to feel it. In a world where everything is hard and easy to clean, visually it feels like a lessened experience.

I fear that diminishes the experience of the guest.”

Yas island
Garage at W Abu Dhabi – Yas Island

Hotels’ hesitance

When it comes to owners and operators actually installing new pieces of technology, Wells says their is far too much resistance at the moment.

He explains: “You look at it through two different pairs of eyes. One pair is the owner/operators, and the other is designers.

For the owners and operators, technology is a cost and investment.

“We’re not at the beginning of the pandemic but we’re certainly not at the end”

Since we’re in the middle, owners and operators are really questioning what is needed.

If an operator has 10,000 hotels and then has to tell each owner to invest in certain technologies, the magnitude of that investment is so much.

It’s a difficult conversion to have, so economically, hotels are being cautious with what they implement.
Therefore, we’re only seeing what’s purposeful rather than what’s flashy.

Some people want to take a leap, but others are watching things unfold.”

Awakening the senses

Diane Thorsen, design director at Gensler thinks that while touchless technology will mean the tactile experience decreases, it doesn’t mean guests can’t be immersed into experiences.

Diane Thorsen Gensler
Diane Thorsen

She says: “We experience spaces using all of our senses. All of them are really key, touch is only one of five.

“That being said, Gensler was recently challenged to design something that used sight and sound instead.

Typically hospitality designers focus on the tactile aspect, but we thought we could create a space where you could hear birds singing, smell bespoke room fragrances, and create your own experiences with taste, even.


“The sounds are artificial, but the way we captured those sounds in nature was natural and the audio has been beautifully done. It’s about innovation.”

Thorsen believes hotel design is going back to its basics.

She adds: “We’ve crafted a new niche whereby we can tell our owners we can create experiences that activate senses in an experiential way.

Sure spaces are becoming simpler, but in its place, spaces have been going back to their roots, and that’s beautiful

Automating a charity

Deafness charity

A conversation with William Nicholls MD Maltix App and QR brochure company.

What Is the National Association of the Deaf? The NAD is a non-profit organization that works to protect and promote the civil, human, and linguistic rights of deaf and hard of hearing people.

Over 400 members.

The charity wants to update their brochure, a perfect time to introduce automation, particularly banking, subscription and education.

They regularly host lectures, seminars, exhibitions and courses alongside social and fund raising work.

Automating a charity to control administration costs.

As a non profit organisation they are open minded, and like the idea of switching from a static website to a dynamic APP, well suited to their Smartphone subscribers.

Firstly, the brochure can be designed to directly connect to the Smartphone using smart QR codes.

It’s important not to duplicate future printing costs, this can be achieved with new generation Smart QR.

Will Nicholls impressed:

Want to change an infomercial, an educational video, subscription charges after print ?

No problem, all changes made are part of the service !

Maltix build or create every aspect of the choices available on the self help link below.

Secondly the NAD want to place QR with a call to action within their building and on social media.

Example of a call to action

12 month subscription
Example using a clear QR code connected to banking via a smart form page

That’s a two-pronged attack says Will Nicholls.

Firstly strategically framed and branded QR can connect from within the building.

( Advice on QR size and positioning part of the service )

Secondly, connecting QR to their new Charity APP enables their subscribers and family to distribute directly within their Social media channels.

“That couldn’t happen with old APPS, they have to be downloaded from the APP store”

Websites are not suited to social media distribution.

All has changed with the Maltix Progressive Web APP (PWA)

In a Committee meeting all the options of what can be achieved were listed.

In fact, Maltix Partners use a smart form page as an aid in consultation, William was more than happy to share.

A little knowledge is everything, let your imagination explore the possibilities.

So many ideas!

Take a look!

Go ahead, tick the boxes, CLICK SUBMIT the email goes to your in box for future reference.

Self help prompt, what can I connect QR to in my business or organisation ?

Book a call

Remove the Hotel switchboard for customer service.

Hussain Sajwani

Damac General Manager – operations Ali Sajwani believes hotels will continue to embrace new technologies by HME Maltix Newswire June 16, 2021

Ali Sajwani Damac
Damac General Manager – operations Ali Sajwani

When I think of hotels, I don’t automatically view them as technology-driven businesses nor incubators of innovation.

But, if we examine how hotels operate, the amount of technology involved is remarkable.

What is truly remarkable is that Hotels increasingly rely on cloud based actions directly off the Hotel customers Smart phone.

Property management systems for example, are complex software programmes that facilitate the entire guest experience from check-in to check out.

Artificial intelligence take PMS to a whole new level.

Smart hotels might look pretty much the same as regular hotels, but they operate in a completely different way.

The importance of connectivity

Like smart homes or buildings, futuristic smart hotels aim to connect devices and appliances to each other and the internet.

This is where the internet comes into play — even ordinary devices can now send and receive data, which makes them ‘smart’.

The internet of things is accelerating smart growth.

Even where multiple devices communicate with each other, they can still be managed by a single user from a remote point, smartphone or tablet.

Some appliances can locate and decipher information from the internet, allowing them to respond independently or intelligently to user instructions, for example, lights, curtains, and sound systems.

The possibilities are seemingly endless and accelerating.

Who doesn’t want to stay in a hotel room with automated check-in, intuitive temperature and lighting controls, entertainment-on-demand from your own streaming video or music accounts, and other highly personalised experiences, all enabled by these emerging technologies?

Why hotels should bother

I believe there are excellent reasons why major Hotel brands are waking up to change.

Technology can improve the guest experience.

It makes hotels less labour intensive and more efficient, which ultimately saves money.

Remove the Hotel switchboard for customer service.

Technology improves the guest experience

  • Guests don’t need to physically check-in, registration can be completed via any smartphone
  • Voice recognition can control in-room features such as TV, lights, curtains and A/C
  • Switchboard are over
  • Multi-language robotic concierge services available 24/7
  • Automated room service menus improve delivery time and reduce human error
  • QR APP enablement using quality wall mounted smart QR codes with a call to action ( Room service for example )
  • QR direct to over 25 possibilities within our portfolio ( so far)
damac
Damac room QR example.

Technology makes hotels more cost-efficient

  • Less security needed with facial recognition systems in place
  • Computerised check-in/out means less front-office staff.
  • No need for lift operators or baggage porters as these tasks can be automated
  • Smart cleaning devices reduce the number of housekeeping staff
  • Reduced requirement for room service.
  • APP based food delivery using new generation Hotel bespoke delivery APP
  • Smart A/C modules and lights lower energy demand and utility bills

Because leisure resorts have a more relaxed atmosphere than bustling city hotels, automation could be perceived as a novelty rather than a necessity.

However, this perception is changing at break neck speed.

At the other end of the scale, I can imagine certain hotel brands becoming synonymous with a fully automated service offering, appealing to, or creating demand for, a certain type of guest and priced accordingly.

Smart technology is undoubtedly not a passing phase; it is a trend that is here to stay. It will increase in the years to come with the notion of personal service taking on a whole new meaning.

New technologies by HME Maltix Newswire June 16, 2021

How the luxury Hotel sector has changed.

luxury Hotel

How the luxury sector has changed since the pandemic

Fiona Noble, chief growth officer at concierge service Quintessentially, shares the latest trends in luxury travel Hotelier Staff June 9, 2021 Maltix Newswire

How the luxury sector has changed since the pandemic
How the luxury sector has changed since the pandemic

There’s no disputing that the pandemic severely disrupted the luxury sector. The luxury market in the Gulf alone declined 17 per cent in 2020 to $7.4 billion,  with countries impacted by varying degrees, based on factors such as volume of foreign tourism.

In the Middle East, a break from the usual physical experiences that were an integral part of consumers’ daily life meant a revisit of priorities. During lockdown, the idea of what luxury consumers want and put emphasis on shifted and continues to evolve.

At Quintessentially in the Middle East, we witnessed an immediate focus among our members on self-development.

Lockdown was a catalyst for online experiences, from learning languages and musical instruments, mastering Pilates and meditation, and enjoying digital lessons from leading authors, artists and educators.

Privatised and curated experiences also trended highly, and continue to do so, as members consumed everything from exclusive film screenings and at-home spas to cookery masterclasses.

Quintessentially will continue to curate a robust suite of bespoke experiences for our members, both online and in person, allowing them to immerse themselves in their passions and burgeoning interests, especially off their Smartphone.

How the luxury Hotel sector has changed.

Gifting has increased, as members look to spend time – and money – on presents and experiences for their family to celebrate milestones.

Jewellery purchases spiked –  the only luxury category to achieve value growth in 2020 – and Chaumet, for instance, reportedly enjoyed booming sales.

There has also been a shift regarding sustainability and the environmental impact of the brands consumers wish to invest in.

From sourcing rare pearls from Paris, tracking down a hand- rafted Yves Saint Laurent handbag or antique Patek Philippe watch, or even designing a miniature zoo of customised, life-sized stuffed toy animals, the demand for luxury – albeit more meaningful – continues to flourish.

Travel is now front of mind and members are keen to not only tend to their businesses abroad, but also discover their own respective regions.

Behaviour regarding last-minute bookings among our members hasn’t shifted and has become even more prevalent in the recovery phase as they look to us to provide them with expert advice and guidance, mitigating uncertainty.

Unexpected results:

With advanced room QR code services connecting to a plethora of ideas all managed from our individual Hotel APP has gained in popularity, noticeably as repeat business.

Cross fertilising marketing from Room QR to Hotel APP and Room delivery APP is ongoing with unexpected results.

We had never thought the data from a Room upgrade, for example, would benefit the booking of wedding parties or Room service off the APP data could be channelled to business bookings.

QR room gifting has been especially successful, substantial orders right off the clients Smartphone.

Automating smart forms into the Hotel CRM has enabled us to better track client habits, one high end guest recently returned the favour of extra flowers in the room for flowers delivered to the front desk!

Domestic travel in the Middle East, along with the Seychelles, will remain popular for some time and is why Quintessentially curated multi-faceted, immersive breaks in partnership with Marriott, embracing the very best each region has to offer.

Answering luxury consumers renewed sense of discovery and desire for personalised experiences, guests can enjoy Doha’s renowned art scene, sample world-class culinary experiences in Dubai, explore the marine eco-system in Abu Dhabi’s mangroves and learn about Bedouin life, or discover the beautiful archipelago islands off the coast of East Africa, and much more.

Although global outbound travel from the Middle East is still impacted by restrictions, there has been increase of enquiries and bookings to Greece, US and France. In response to European market demand, Etihad is now flying to Malaga, Santorini and Mykonos.

As Saudi Arabia opens its doors to international tourism, we also anticipate destinations like Alula in the north west – steeped in Nabatean heritage and culture to appeal to that desire for transformative and adventure travel.

Overall, there is much to be optimistic about as the luxury market in the Middle East looks set to make a healthy rebound, with tourism playing a crucial role coupled with the region’s high local purchasing power and luxury brands willing to enhance their digital presence and offer bespoke products and individualised service and experiences through the clients Smartphone.

I’ll never go back to the Gym again

Gym-smartphone

Sharon Terlep | Photographs by Desiree Rios for The Wall Street Journal 2021 subscription newswire.

One fitness club franchisee plans to open a dozen new locations, while a national chain is selling digital memberships.

A Pilates studio in Houston is requiring masks; a family-run gym in Indianapolis isn’t.

America’s gyms are reopening to a markedly changed fitness world as coronavirus pandemic restrictions lift.

Each business and its customers must decide how to navigate new workout habits and conflicting demands around Covid-19 safety protocols.

Some people won’t exercise in a face covering; others will only frequent a gym with a mask mandate.

Still others purchased pricey fitness machines for their homes and have spent months taking virtual classes.

“Many of our members have developed habits in a significant way, routines they never had before Covid,” said Jeff Zwiefel, chief operating officer of Life Time Inc.

I’ll never go back to the Gym again

The fitness center chain, with 150 U.S. locations, now offers a $15 monthly digital membership, where people can work out to streaming classes.

Gyms, from boutique studios to sprawling fitness centers, have been among the industries hardest hit by the public-health crisis, as concerns about people spreading the coronavirus during group exercise led to mandated shutdowns and member exoduses.

A cleaning station for gym members at a Life Time health club in West Harrison, N.Y.

The pandemic’s toll has been profound:

Nearly half of the 3 million jobs in U.S. health clubs disappeared last year along with more than half of the industry’s revenue.

Legions of independent gyms and studios have closed, crippled by state-mandated shutdowns.

Several corporate chains, including 24 Hour Fitness Worldwide Inc. and Gold’s Gym International Inc., filed for bankruptcy protection and reorganized or closed.

Those that survived are catering to a customer base now more accustomed to exercising at home and better equipped to do so.

As gyms faltered, business boomed for companies like Peloton Interactive Inc. and Nautilus Inc. that provide streaming classes and workout equipment.

Demand has been so high for Peloton exercise bikes and treadmills that customers have waited weeks for deliveries.

“I know there’s chatter of, ‘We are a stay-at-home stock, and we get back to normal and Peloton dies or whatever,’ ” John Foley, Peloton co-founder and chief executive, told investors in February.

“We obviously are taking the other side of that. Every year in the U.S., there’s been 5 million treadmills sold. So it’s not like working out at home was a Covid thing. It has always been a thing.

It’s just the products have been dopey and not connected.”

How might the coronavirus pandemic transform the fitness industry? To find out, WSJ spoke with the CEO of Planet Fitness, an independent gym owner, and an industry analyst to learn about what we can expect for the future of fitness. (Video from 9/11//20)

Gym owners and industry experts say the fitness landscape is likely forever changed by the pandemic.

When the Covid-19 risk passes, they say, the business of fitness will increasingly become a mashup of bricks-and-mortar and online virtual offerings, much like the coronavirus-hastened evolution of retail, office work and education.

“At-home will become a part of the fitness ecosystem, it’s going to have an outsized platform,” said BMO analyst Simeon Siegel. “But for the vast majority of people, the fitness industry will still revolve around bricks-and-mortar.

Heading into the pandemic, the U.S. had roughly 40,000 health clubs generating $35 billion in annual revenue, according to the International Health, Racquet & Sports club Association.

At the end of 2020, the industry has lost $20.4 billion in revenue, while about 6,400 clubs—17% of the total—closed permanently.

A recent survey by consulting firm McKinsey & Co. found that 68% of those who started using an online fitness program during the pandemic said they planned to continue for the long term.

The survey of 2,024 adults was conducted Nov. 9-13, 2020.

Crunch fighting back with smartphone based APP marketing and QR technology.

Geoff Dyer, owner of more than two dozen Crunch Fitness franchises in Georgia and Florida, said Covid-19 won’t change Americans’ gym habits for the long term.

A Crunch membership, starting at $9.95 a month, is cheaper than many online subscriptions.

Mr. Dyer said his membership is almost at the same level it was before the pandemic. He said he is opening another dozen locations in the next year, including four that will replace now-shut 24 Hour Fitness clubs.

Crunch offers streaming workouts, but they aren’t popular, he said, but we are working on new ideas, especially dedicated APPs that dont have to be downloaded from the APP store.

Crunch have adapted advanced QR technology, connecting bespoke work outs with low levels of Gym equipment to live streams and video.

Notifications off the APP constantly remind clients whats available.

Dyer is also adding SMS to the portfolio, for the more up market clients who like a personal connection.

“It’s hard to replace the excitement of a live class, and there’s a huge barrier to entry if you’ve got to pay $2,500 to get that bike,” he said, referring to Peloton, which sells bikes starting at $1,895.

Amid Covid-19, he said, “we realized people were desperate to get back to the gym.”

Exercise bikes are spaced out to maintain social distancing at a Life Time health club in West Harrison, N.Y.

All but one state—South Dakota—shut down gyms last spring as the pandemic took hold, and others have fully or partially closed gyms for varying durations.

By last month, California, the only state remaining with a blanket order keeping gyms closed, started allowing facilities to reopen with various restrictions.

Gyms allowed to open in many cases face restrictions that range from cost-prohibitive for businesses to off-putting for some members, including capacity limits as low at 10%, outdoor-only classes and mask mandates.

Ardizzone & Nalley Gym in Indianapolis shut down for about 10 weeks in the spring and has been open since, and doesn’t require members to wear masks.

The gym, opened 42 years ago by owner Tony Ardizzone, has a big base of elderly members, including many who say they won’t return until they are vaccinated.

“The older people are more fearful and more cautious and vulnerable, and young people are less so,” he said.

Other customers were so eager to be in the gym even at the height of the pandemic, he said, that he had to confiscate keys they were using to get in despite the gym being closed.

In Texas, as soon as Gov. Greg Abbott announced in early March that the state would allow all businesses to fully reopen and lift its mask mandate, many customers of Houston-based Citizen Pilates called and messaged founder Jess Hughes asking her to keep rules requiring masks in class and maintain 6 feet of space between machines, she said.

Sharon Terlep | Photographs by Desiree Rios for The Wall Street Journal 2021 subscription newswire.