How Playa Hotels & Resorts Is Addressing Traveler Protection


Dizzying traveler protocol changes driven by the pandemic have challenged travel advisors to accurately communicate the new procedures and requirements, and their implications, for clients headed to Caribbean destinations in 2021.

Travel agents are also seeking ways to reassure vacationers that their travel during this period will operate under comprehensive procedures designed to ensure their health and safety.

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Playa Hotels & Resorts, which operates beachfront, all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean and Mexico, offers several programs designed to help advisors comfort clients and provide safe and enjoyable warm-weather resort experiences. The initiatives range from an extended stay plan for guests who test positive for COVID-19 while away, to complimentary COVID-19 antigen testing for guests returning to the U.S. from any of Playa’s 17 resorts.

We spoke with Kevin Froemming, Playa Hotels & Resorts’ Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer, to learn more about the company’s approach to operations in 2021.


Kevin Froemming, Playa Hotels & Resorts
“I am optimistic concerning the future of leisure travel and we know that there is demand.” – Kevin Froemming, Playa Hotels & Resorts

TravelPulse (TP): How were the Playa Resorts COVID-19 protocols developed?

Kevin Froemming (KF): “We collaborated with leading industry experts, the World Health Organization (WHO) and local governments to establish our Covid-19 protocols, now known as our Playa Safe Stay initiative. With constant associate training, use of proven antiviral cleanliness techniques and redesigned public spaces, [it] represents our commitment to every facet of resort operation and, more importantly, representative of a product that assures guests complete peace-of-mind.”

TP: What day-to-day practices and protocols are the resorts using to operate safely, protecting the health of guests, staff and local communities?

KF: “We adhere to recommended protocols from WHO and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Frankly, these protocols are our starting point. We continually add practices, such as our Playa Resort Hub technology that focuses on guest interaction through touchless smartphone and web-based content, to enhance guest experience and provide added peace-of-mind. Personal protective equipment, social distance standards, methodical cleaning standards, and so forth are in place and adhered to firmly.”

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TP: What other groups contributed to the protocols’ creation?

KF: “The development represents a combined effort of travel sector advisory teams, health professionals and resort operation expertise that continually review all aspects of our resort experience. Most recently, along with complimentary on-site COVID-19 testing, has been the addition of Playa’s Extended Stay Protection to give our guests peace-of-mind regarding changing testing protocols required for air travel.”

TP: Does the all-inclusive model provide some advantages to operating the company’s resorts under the present conditions?

KF: “Absolutely. All-inclusive vacations are ideal in this new climate. Guests have everything they need at their fingertips—including complimentary COVID testing at Playa properties—and all aspects of their vacation from dining to entertainment have heightened safety protocols.

“Additionally, as a company, Playa places a major emphasis on experiencing the destination and the local culture of our exquisite destinations. Our resorts do a phenomenal job of bringing the best of the destination inside the resort. Especially in these times, guests can enjoy all the culture, art, language, food, dance, etc. the destination has to offer without stepping foot off property and compromising their health or safety.”

TP: We all recognize operations must adapt to the present situation, but what steps have you taken to ensure guests still have an enjoyable Playa-style resort experience?

KF: “The guest experience that Playa is known for has not been comprised in any way as a result of the pandemic. Sure, some things may look a little different with masks, social distancing and so forth, but they do not feel different.

“When our resorts suspended operations at the beginning of the pandemic, we knew we had a very difficult task at hand: to elevate health and safety protocols without compromising the guest experience. In my mind, this challenge was our most significant, and we took it extremely seriously.

“After resuming operations, I am happy to say we succeeded. Guests are just as satisfied now, if not more, than during pre-pandemic trips. And that’s because the essence of a Playa vacation has not changed.”

TP: Several of the company’s resorts are new, and others have undergone recent renovations. How has that helped the company during this period?

KF: “The advantage has been two-fold. For one, the simple fact that many of our resorts are newly renovated or brand-new and feature the latest in design and technology – from spacious resort footprints that include open-air designs to low-density dining and outdoor entertainment options. These new resorts also feature the trust and familiarity of global brands Hyatt or Hilton – two legendary names in hospitality that have been leading the way in innovation and guest service for decades.”

TP: How optimistic are you regarding operations in 2021 and 2022?

KF: “I am optimistic concerning the future of leisure travel, and we know that there is demand. With the arrival of a vaccine, there is real optimism. In the short-term, as indicated by recent changes in air-travel requiring COVID-19 testing, we understand there will be added complexity. However, from the moment this global pandemic started, we’ve continually made changes and adapted to preserve the “stress-free” vision of our brand of all-inclusive.”





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