As the coronavirus pandemic continues to surge around the world, the hospitality industry has all but shut down. Airlines are cutting flights. Governments are telling citizens to stay home. So, to secure reservations in this unprecedented climate, some hoteliers have gotten creative.
For Le Bijou, a high-end Swiss hospitality company that’s part luxury hotel, part serviced apartment, that has meant launching the Covid-19 Service – a customizable stay with add-ons such as in-room coronavirus testing, doctor visits and 24/7 nurse care.
“In beginning of March, revenues had dropped significantly,” said Alexander Hübner, co-founder and chief executive of Le Bijou Hotel & Resort Management, which operates properties in Basel, Geneva, Zurich and other cities in Switzerland. “We said, OK, we need to react immediately to that.”
Before the outbreak, Le Bijou catered to high-end clientele who could afford its rates, which ranged from about $800 to $2,000 per night. According to Hübner and the Le Bijou website, that guest list has included the royal family of Saudi Arabia, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and “Wolf of Wall Street” author Jordan Belfort. Yet Le Bijou’s guest reservations and events bookings plummeted just the same after the disease reached Europe.