Ask A Concierge | Sarah Dandashy

Is Travel Now Frowned Upon? Hospitality Expert Sarah Dandashy Weighs In

Before she was an award-winning concierge for one of Los Angeles’ top luxury hotels, Sarah Dandashy spent her time traveling all over the world. Her experience led her to start her own travel tips company called Ask A Concierge so she could help others get the most out of their vacation. 

Sarah joined Porthole Cruise Founder and Editor-in-Chief Bill Panoff to talk all things travel, including new trends in the hospitality industry, the importance of being kind and whether or not people should be traveling in the era of COVID-19. Check out the full interview below! 

Is It Safe to Travel? 

One question we’ve been getting from Porthole readers lately is whether or not it’s safe for people to travel right now. Many are of the opinion that it’s irresponsible to travel due to the risk of spreading COVID-19 and Sarah acknowledged those concerns, but with some wiggle room. 

“You can do it [travel] and you can absolutely be safe about it. I think where it gets ver questionable is where people have a cavalier attitude. At the end of the day, we are in the middle of a pandemic and if you look back and do some basic research and look at, for example, the Spanish Flu, even though there are similarities and a lot of differences, really what they found was that what ended up spreading the disease was was people traveling. There is an element of that, but that doesn’t mean you can’t travel safely. I am going to be traveling later this week and we’ll be taking the appropriate precautions,” she said. 

Some of those precautions include getting tested prior to traveling, wearing a mask when near others and social distancing. These are things we’ve been practicing for months now at the grocery store that apply to places like airports and tourist attractions as well. 

Sarah was asked her thoughts on travel influencers and how they’re handling the pandemic and keeping up with their brand even though many view travel in a negative light at the moment. Will anything change with travel imagery in the future?

“Travel imagery will change in the short-term because the big concern hotels are having right now is they really want to relay the message that they are doing everything they can to make sure it’s a safe and comfortable environment for travelers,” she said. 

Hospitality’s Latest Trends

The hospitality industry is obviously changing in light of COVID-19, so we asked Sarah if she saw any trends emerging that could point to what hospitality companies will look like in the future. 

“Obviously the main thing is an emphasis on cleanliness. Obviously cleanliness was there before, but we’re taking it to a completely different level. And then also just offering experiences in a different way. The hotel experience does look different. You will see signage in the lobby reminding people to stay six feet apart, you might see couches and sofas spread further. If a hotel had traditionally done a buffet breakfast, now we’re looking at more grab and go single-wrapped items. Even being by the pool, you might not see the lounge chairs so close to each other,” she said.

If you’re planning on traveling any time soon, take Sarah’s advice and be smart about taking precautions. It could help keep you and those around you safe and healthy! Check out the full interview with Sarah below! 

Interview with Sarah Dandashy