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Igniting Wanderlust

Everything is uncertain right now: When will travel reopen? How will we get to explore again? And, what will life look like when we finally do? While we adjust to the new normal and come to terms with this uncertainty, there is one thing we can do: feed our wanderlust.

Hidden Doorways, a travel sales and marketing firm, has created an uplifting video that offers a message of hope, encouraging travelers to dream about the places that have transformed us and the places we long to explore. InspireDesign asked Founder/President of Hidden Doorways, JoAnn Kurtz-Ahlers, her thoughts about the state of the industry and how to fulfill feelings of travel while indoors:

Why is hope so important right now?
Hope is the first step, which leads to belief and then to action—it’s a chain effect to keep things moving forward. We will get to the other side of this and hope is the first step.

Why is video/online marketing a good vehicle for delivering hope?
People are visual, and the amount and accessibility of people that you can reach online and the ability to create an experience has a great impact.

How do you recommend other hotel leaders utilize digital marketing right now?
Through social media and connecting the essence of their properties with the experts that provide the uniqueness of their property—not to sell but to create desire to be there.

Hotel leaders are all feeling the financial pain right now. How do you resonate with them?
We are all in the same storm of loss and having to make tough decisions. I have witnessed great humanity even with clients having to pause contracts with us. It’s been painful and inspiring, too.

This pause has given us time to reflect. Why do you think we’re missing travel so much? Why is travel so inspirational?
It’s a forced exposure to other ways of life and other ways of doing things; it feeds your soul. It takes you outside of yourself and you are more open to take in experiences and also give back, allowing you to share the best of you with others who are, in some cases, not as fortunate. It also creates space for perspective just by getting out of the daily routines.

After this is all over, what new appreciations will we have for travel, hospitality and design? Can you argue that all jobs/work are essential?
Some work will be repurposed as we create new ways of service and health and how we communicate and care for our guests. I believe travel will be more purposeful, more carefully selected and more coveted. Beyond spaces being less crowded with open design, I believe people will value the places they travel to and will pay more attention to where and what they select for their trips. They already want design that is locally inspired, but people are done with styles that don’t sync and provide a sense of place. I think those bucket-list trips will also be scheduled. I think travel advisors will have even more value as travelers who booked online found they had no advocate when things needed to be readjusted or canceled. The trips that have the most value for someone should be curated with the best travel advisor.