When Amara Resort and Spa in Sedona closed for six weeks from early April to mid-May, Director of Sales and Marketing Amanda Leese and the management team started planning their strategy for how to prepare for re-opening and began envisioning what that would look like.
“We knew that groups weren’t scheduling meetings and we knew people weren’t going back to work in their offices,” she said. So, the resort began to offer a regional rate, a special discount to those in Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, California and elsewhere in Arizona. “It was our biggest selling rate of the summer,” she said.
Leese also noticed a shift. “We found people are visiting from anywhere that’s within an eight-hour drive – and they are staying longer. Prior to the pandemic, the average stay was two to three nights. Now, it’s three, four or five nights. People have nowhere to be. They’re not reporting to an office and their kids don’t have to be in school.”
Understanding the new market, Leese came up with a new program and slogan: Work From Here, Learn From Here, which launched after Labor Day. It provides guests a 750-square-foot-space set up like a private classroom or office with classroom-style seating, whiteboards, a speakerphone, a scanning and printing station, sanitized school and office supplies, a screen and projector.
“The room and equipment are included in the resort fee as an amenity of the hotel,” she said. “With COVID, we have been limited on what amenities we can offer. Work From Here, Learn From Here provides guests with what they need for the lifestyle they are living now. A lot of people aren’t staying home. They’ve got their kids packed up, their dog packed up. They are working remotely, in their bathing suits sometimes, and schooling remotely.”
Guests also have access to an on-call executive assistant who can help with day-to-day tasks like faxing, shipping, and setting up audio and video connections. Amara staff will also work with guests to connect them to tutors or nannies who can be reserved two weeks in advance, at a rate of $50 an hour.
In addition, Amara has tapped locally-owned concierge service RemoteWell to curate on- and off-site Sedona-centric experiences for guests looking to prioritize their health and wellness while working remotely. From taking a bike ride or hike to relaxing the mind, body and spirit through guided meditation and yoga practices, guests will be able to curate a customized itinerary for their work and school breaks.
“Things are so hectic right now for families and employees who are navigating the new normal of virtual work and school. So, we really wanted to create an experience that allows for these guests to have a much-needed change of scenery while still being able to indulge in the many wellness-focused activities Sedona has to offer,” said Amara General Manager Nick Solomon. “With complimentary Wi-Fi available throughout the property, guests can really strike a balance between work and leisure, whether it’s checking emails from a private poolside cabana, taking conference calls from the new office space, setting up the little ones with an on-site tutor so parents can get a break from the madness, or embarking on a memorable family adventure through our new experience partner. Whatever it may be, we could all use a mental vacation right about now.”
Leese says the classroom/office space is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Meanwhile, small meetings are booked in resort conference rooms.
“We aren’t seeing a reluctance to travel. Sedona as a whole is booming,” said Leese. “If you can take a meeting from anywhere, why not do it from the beauty of the red rock country without skipping a beat?” QCBN
By Bonnie Stevens, QCBN
For more about the “Work From Here, Learn From Here” program at Amara or to book an upcoming stay, visit amararesort.com or call 928-282-4828.