Like many industries, travel has been particularly hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, experiencing widespread trip cancellations and postponements, hotel closures, and an air of uncertainty. But even in times of adversity, our favorite travel companies find a way to give back. Case in point: Six Virtuoso hoteliers in Amsterdam, who turned a coronavirus-foiled surprise into an act of citywide compassion.
Two years ago, when Amsterdam hosted Virtuoso Symposium – an annual thought leadership summit for a select group of Virtuoso travel advisors and partners –the city’s Virtuoso hoteliers worked with a tulip farmer in Den Helder, north of Amsterdam, to develop a new type of bulb officially designated the Virtuoso tulip, and the blooms were presented to attendees at a gala dinner.
With 2020’s annual Virtuoso Symposium set to take place in Vienna in March, the hoteliers hatched a secret plan to ship 10,000 of the Virtuoso tulips to the Austrian capital. After the event was postponed and hotels temporarily shut down due to Covid-19 prevention measures, they found themselves with a surplus of flowers. Instead of letting them go to waste, the hoteliers did what they do best: spread joy.
Last week, hoteliers distributed the pink and white tulips to eight diverse elderly-care homes throughout the city, including one for local Indonesian residents and a Beth Shalom house. “We wanted to contribute to making them feel less alone,” says Kees Hogetoorn, the director of sales and marketing at Sofitel Legend The Grand Amsterdam. “and, of course, let’s be honest, everyone loves to receive flowers.”
Amsterdam’s Virtuoso hoteliers aren’t the only industry heroes giving back during these unprecedented times. Across the globe, hospitality and tourism professionals have found ways to lift their communities and their industry. In Italy, four luxury properties on the Amalfi Coast are selling future vacations to raise money for medical research. The Four Seasons Hotel New York is offering 225 complimentary rooms to health care workers. And Virtuoso advisors have gone above and beyond to help get travelers home from trips abroad and reschedule future vacations.
We know that when the time is right, travel will come back stronger than ever because people will never want to stop exploring and connecting. Until then, we’ll celebrate the little ways we can make a difference in our own communities until it’s time to get out there again.