Philanthropy has always been at the core of V&VPR — this has underscored the way we approach our business, from a robust client portfolio of brands that advocate for responsible travel and sustainability, to putting aside hours to volunteer as a team for charitable organisations and non-profits. This year, we are taking this mission one step further, and we are delighted to have partnered on a pro-bono basis with Limitless.
Limitless is a non-profit organization that was founded to help youths in Singapore build hope, find worth, and live destiny-driven lives. Founded by Asher Low in 2016, Limitless strives to offer support to young people who may feel powerless as a result of any number of psychological and societal factors, including poverty, mental illness and social inequality.
According to international statistics, depression is an epidemic, with teenagers and youths in their early twenties being especially vulnerable. Almost 8% of teenagers are affected by depression, with suicide being the second leading cause of death among adolescents worldwide. Extensive research has also pointed to the fact that a third of young people struggling with depression do not seek help. Left untreated, depression can lead to other issues, including eating disorders, substance abuse, self-harm and suicide.
Through a series of outreach programmes, education, social work, counselling, and mentorship, the Limitless team are aiming to reach youths from all walks of life to inspire, empower and equip them to live purposeful, fulfilled, and happy lives.
The V&VPR team are looking forward to supporting the team at Limitless with their media and communications strategy. If you would like to find out more about their cause and how you can help, please visit https://www.limitless.sg
Sustainable eating has become the biggest trend over the last couple of years. Eating sustainably urges us to choose foods that are healthful to our bodies and the environment. There are plenty of restaurants in Hong Kong that are taking a sustainable-approach, here are a few of V&VPR’s favourite haunts in Hong Kong:
Located in Sino Plaza in Causeway Bay, chef Seth Rogan brings contemporary British cuisine to Hong Kong through his creative menus at Roganic. The restaurant first opened up in London and was recently introduced in Hong Kong in February 2019. Rogan’s classic British dishes are made from local, fresh produce from local farms and suppliers.
A restaurant that pays tribute to a new-world culture that celebrates diversity, juxtaposition and a melting pot of influences, John Anthony pushes the boundaries by fusing Chinese food with a Western twist. The restaurant is eco-friendly, with sustainability included in every aspect of the design – from upcycling plastic into coasters, menus made from recycled paper and floor tiles made out of reclaimed terracotta from old Chinese village houses. The wines are all from environmentally responsible vineyards, and spirits from distillers that focus on craft distilling. The kitchen uses a food composting system to reduce its waste, and menus are curated with fresh ingredients from ethical suppliers.
MANA! has been pioneering the sustainable market in Hong Kong. Serving “fast slow food” through inspiring vegetarian menus and operating a strict zero waste policy – MANA! Has saved over 100 tonnes of food waste by composting its vegetable-only scraps. Other eco-friendly iniatitives include sourcing biodegradable takeaway packaging, and hiring full time staff to sort and transport the food waste for composting.
Potato Head is home to various original lifestyle concepts, including authentic Indonesian restaurant Kaum. The culinary collective has developed engaging relationships with ethnic tribes and small-scale producers in Indonesia to craft a menu that showcases genuine flavours that reflect Indonesia’s heritage
Oolaa is a chic restaurant and bar that debuted in Hong Kong in 2009. Serving a selection of tasty seafood dishes that are all MSC Certified, Oolaa ensures sustainable practices using responsibly sourced ingredients.
As the novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV continues to spread across the globe, the travel industry has taken a hit. In an attempt to curb transmission, the World Health Organisation has issued a ‘do not travel’ advisory for China, and more commercial airlines have suspended or services in and out of the country.
Outside of China, too, many companies and individuals are cancelling or postponing travel plans for fear of being infected, with the travel industry losing millions of dollars as a result. Inbound travel to countries such as Singapore, Japan, Thailand and Vietnam is being heavily impacted by the lack of outbound travel from China, which poses the question: how can hotels and other travel companies minimise the long-term impact of the virus?
- Slash prices: whilst it can be tempting to try and out-price, it’s vital that luxury hotels remember that the outbreak is temporary, and will not last forever. Lowering rates is damaging to brand equity and positioning, and can be detrimental in the long run
- Believe fake news: tabloid press and social media tend to indulge mass hysteria in times of crisis, and it’s vital for companies to remain calm and avoid speculation. Refer to the World Health Organisation and the local authorities for reliable updates
- Overreact or underprepare: whilst hysteria and panic will be detrimental, it’s also important to have contingency plans in place, so these are ready to implement if required. Consider the potential repercussions on operations should the situation worsen and be prepared to respond
- Appeal to the local market: with business and leisure travel being largely kept to a minimum, it’s important to address the local market in the immediate future, who are likely to be seeking new experiences closer to home
- Plan ahead: it’s important to have a crisis communications system prepared in case of worst-case scenario, including social media responses, media statements, and guest communications
- Strategise for recovery: use this time to relook at your 2020 Marketing Strategy so that you are ready to actively promote your brand when the time is right. People’s general attitudes towards travel are likely to have altered, so now is a time to reassure and inspire
A version of this has been featured on PR Week.
Nowadays, there is an increasing demand for authentic and immersive experiences, and the search for spiritual travel is also growing. This concept allows guests to focus on their inner exploration to examine themselves, and self-reflect.
We’ve outlined a list of our favourite itineraries that will allow active travellers to embark on an eye-opening off-the-beaten-track journey of self-discovery this year.
The Kumano Kodō is a series of ancient pilgrimage routes that crisscross the Kii Hantō, the largest peninsula of Japan. The routes are registered as UNESCO World Heritage and played an integral part of the pilgrimage process, as pilgrims undertook rigorous religious rites of worship and purification. Walking the sacred Kumano Kodo is a fantastic way to experience the unique cultural landscape of Kumano’s spiritual countryside, offering an immersion into more than a thousand years of Buddhist history.
Committed to maintaining excellence in the craft of hospitality, Capella Hotels & Resorts have launched Capella Curates. The series has been carefully cultivated by the expert team in each locale, to offer exclusive adventures, meeting interesting characters, experiencing whimsical traditions, and the opportunity to hone unexplored skills.
Capella Ubud’s Confined to Quarters is a life-changing Capella Curates experience, whereby couples can escape the humdrum of daily life with 24-hours spent in total solitude within their uniquely styled tent. The day begins with a traditional Balinese blessing ritual and yoga session, enabling guests to reconnect with one another and refocus. After a restful night’s sleep, made possible by the day spent in solitude, guests can take part in a sunrise purification ritual at the property’s Wos River Temple – a profoundly spiritual process designed to leave a lasting feeling of calm and positivity.
Scott Dunn’s itineraries to Bhutan capture the pure energy and spirituality of one of the last true unspoilt countries on earth. As a Himalayan Kingdom of stunning natural beauty, travellers will discover the awe-inspiring sights – from lush-green rice paddies running alongside fast-flowing glacial rivers to the endless forested-mountains and the snow-capped peaks beyond.
Bhutan carefully manages the numbers of tourists to the country in order to preserve its unique culture and traditions, and so a trip to Bhutan ensures a remarkable vacation with a first-hand, intimate look into the secrets of this extraordinary country. A Week in Bhutan introduces the spiritual and cultural highlights, from experiencing the fascinating capital of Thimphu, home to Bhutan’s national animal in the Takin Preserve, to trekking towards Taktsang Goemba or the Tiger’s Nest Monastery in Paro. Tailored to travellers who wish to be accompanied, all itineraries in Bhutan are escorted by a driver and specialist guide.
Wellness has become such an integral part of travel and living in recent years. From immersive ecotherapy initiatives to retreats designed by wellness experts, the world’s top hospitality brands have all jumped on the bandwagon to meet the undeniable growing interest for wellness programmes.
Rise in slow wellness travel
2020 sees more travellers making a move towards sustainable travel. This includes making more conscious efforts to reduce ones carbon footprint by choosing travel routes that require less air travel, or participating in undertourism by taking trips to lesser-visited destinations. The Sanchaya at Bintan makes the perfect getaway for conscious Singaporean travellers, being just a 50-minute ferry ride away.
Quick and easy wellness sessions
An increasing number of wellness clubs seek to provide effective sessions for busy working professionals, through quick sessions that can easily fit into packed schedules. For example, the hour-long restorative infrared sauna session at Pure Wellness Studio located along Duxton road, aids in boosting sleep, skin health and muscle recovery.
Spiritual healing for the soul
New-age wellness practices have begun to find footing as well. Individuals have started seeking out the best places to experience crystal healing, sound baths, and aura readings. These sessions use positive healing energy to restore balance in mind, body and spirit.
Solo female travel for strong women
As travellers seek more control over their travel experiences, more solo-travel itineraries have been made available in the last year. Solo female travel in particular has started picking up, and more travel companies have met this demand by offering bespoke experiences for women who seek such experiences.
Benefits of eco-therapy
The benefits of embarking on off-the-beaten path hikes, forest bathing or even keeping indoor plants can have numerous proven health benefits. If you’re considering taking a digital detox and heading outside, you’ll be happy to know that indulging in eco-therapy not only keeps you positive, but relieves stress and boosts immunity.
Infrared therapy has taken off in the US, UK, and Australia in recent years as a health and wellness trend. This new style of therapy uses infrared lamps which emit waves that heat the body, penetrating deeply into joints, muscles and tissues. Singapore finally has our first dedicated infrared sauna studio with Pure Wellness Studio.
Tucked away in a conservation shophouse in the buzzy Duxton neighbourhood, the quiet sanctuary is home to the boutique space that boasts three sauna cabins, featuring the latest full spectrum infrared technology that heats the core of the body and can penetrate the skin up to 7cm, providing a deeper cleanse as compared to traditional saunas. With skin as the body’s largest detox organ, designed to eliminate toxins safely, this makes sweating, a powerful tool for detoxing — leading to increased health and wellness benefits.
Originally founded in Melbourne, Australia, Pure Wellness Studio Singapore was launched locally by founders Maxie Chan and Rachel Lim, after they experienced the benefits of infrared therapy first-hand.
As a holistic wellness space, Pure Wellness Studio also curates a series of workshops and classes with two sessions every month that are meant to revitalize. Starting the series in November is a multi-level Vinyasa Flow class (6 November) that will challenge the body and awaken the spirit, and a Crystal Reiki Healing session (20 November) that introduces guests to positive energy interaction that is said to promote physical, emotional and spiritual healing. Sound healing and meditation classes will also soon be introduced.
This week, the Global Wellness Summit took place in V&VPR’s home base of Singapore. Having led campaigns for the likes of The Sanchaya, Guavapass, and Capella — brands that see wellness as a core business pillar — we were particularly excited to learn more about the integration of nature and wellness into luxury travel. Read on for our summary:
With more proof than ever of the strong link between nature and wellness, people have started seeking ways to incorporate ecotherapy into their everyday lives. This has led to the boom of the nature economy and these days, wellness has become an integral aspect of luxury travel — promoting health, spirituality and a deep connection to surrounding nature.
The Wellness Benefits Of Nature
Outdoor activities have proven to be staggeringly good for the brain. A study by the European Society of Cardiology, found that brisk walking for at least 25 minutes daily could add at least three years onto an individual’s life. This simple activity helps repair DNA and reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and breast or colon cancer. Those who participate in ‘green exercise’, a term that describes working out in the outdoors, will also find that it lowers blood pressure, increases creativity, decreases depression, and increases blood flow.
In a 2009 study by a team of Dutch researchers, it was also found that those who lived within about half a mile of green space had a lower incidence of getting ill with diseases such as depression, anxiety, heart disease, diabetes, asthma and migraines. Taking these insights, hospitality operators can and should incorporate a variety of outdoor activities for different health and fitness levels, into their programmes.
Applying Nature Into The Hospitality Industry
Some of the most intuitive hotels and spas take advantage of their beautiful locations to offer more outdoor programming, including highly customised packages tailored to individuals for a completely unique wellness experience. As the benefits of immersing in nature become more well-known, hotels and spas are tapping into what makes their destination unique, focusing on guest excursions to appreciate picturesque landscapes and expansive views of the destination scenery.
Biophilic design, a design concept within buildings to increase guest connectivity to the natural environment has become increasingly popular – properties far from any natural beauty have brought the outdoors inside, showcasing local flora and fauna within their establishment to reap the same health and wellness benefits.
These seemingly little steps will almost certainly have a positive effect on customers’ and employee’s wellbeing, and we look forward to seeing hospitality companies put their own creative spin on the subject. Visit the Global Wellness Summit page for the full in-depth report.