[Editor's Note: This post is being written more than two weeks after returning from the Woodstock Inn. So far your not-so-humble reviewer is living to tell the tale and has no outward signs of having contracted COVID-19.]
The first post on a recent trip to the once- (and future?) favored Woodstock Inn in Woodstock, Vermont discusses the tears and recriminations that greatly impaired that highly anticipated and needed trip, The second article gives the Inn its due as to the property itself. This final entry in the series takes a broader approach in sharing thoughts as to postponing even Inn Credible trips until COVID-19 is under control.
The starting point of all this is a major part of the problem. Being stuck at home most of the time under circumstances that often involve inarguably too much togetherness with a significant other sets a higher-than-usual bar for anticipation as to a chance to get out of our cages for a few days, On top of this, literally and figurative getting out of our (relative) comfort zones creates angst as to travelling to a (hopefully not final) destination and facing an even more enhanced chance of contracting Covid during our stay.
On the other hand, even excellent staff members such as the Woodstock Inn worker bees feel even more stress. Their risk of infection is far greater than ours; they must deal with higher-than-usual guest angst; often must adapt to having fewer peers and "superiors" to support them, and face the constant threat of reduced demand and/or enhanced state restrictions once again requiring a lay-off. All of this hinders efforts to be a shiny, happy person.
The "insult" that the suits add to the above "injury" is still charging pre-Covid prices for a Covid experience that reasonably does not provide daily housekeeping, amenities such as saunas and whirlpools, and other luxuries that make a five-star experience a five-star experience. This relates to a long-standing Inn Credible realization that hotels often rely on a reputation lag in charging "Golden Age" rates for "Silver (or Bronze) Age" experiences. A related sad aspect of this is the poor sucker who literally pays the price when the establishment regains its former glory.
The unsolicited advice as to all this is to provide guests small kindnesses that soften the blow of a lesser experience. One option is to provide a mostly symbolic 10-percent Covid-era room rate discount. A hotel also can give each guest a low-cost gift bag that includes a (marketing tool) t-shirt and a coffee mug. Further, the "suits" taking two hours once a week to help out by doing things such as working at the front door, answering reservation calls, and staffing the concierge desk shows both the staff and the guests that they care.
On a personal level, the robber barons at the Rockefeller Foundation owned Woodstock Inn could have softened the blow of not providing an almost definitely promised upgrade either by using one of the roughly 130 empty rooms to provide a comparable experience. Absent that, another even moderately grand gesture on being told of the reasonable expectation of living like a Rockefeller for a few days would have prevented a very restless night during the first 24 hours of my stay.
The bigger picture this time is that Covid calls for peace, love, and understanding by everyone much more now than it has for decades.