Pay now, stay later

Hotels are finding ways to put cash in their pockets now for services provided later, spawning some enticing deals for consumers. Chicago hotels LondonHouse Chicago, Hotel Essex and Hotel Julian are offering “bonds” that people can buy in $100 increments. Once those bonds mature after 60 days, they’re worth $150 that guests can use to pay for everything from overnight stays to room service. The hotels are part of a small but growing network of listings on the new Buy Now, Stay Later website. Another initiative recently created to help salvage the beleaguered industry is Hotel Credits, where people essentially buy a discounted voucher to use at a particular property, typically through at least 2021. Your $200 turns into $300 at Acre, a luxury treehouse resort in San Jose del Cabo, Mexico, and the hip Sixty SoHo in New York. Yet another byproduct of the COVID-19 crisis is We Travel Forward, a site that aggregates offers from hotels aimed at having people spend now to get more later.

Chicago Tribune

Regional airports

Large airports have seen their number of flights drastically reduced. But for small-market cities, which may have a limited number of carriers, the effect has been amplified. For example, on April 5, 21 of 27 flights scheduled to depart from the airport in Charlottesville, Va., were canceled, according to Flightradar24, a flight tracking service and app. As part of the government’s $2 trillion relief package that offers financial support to U.S. airlines, the airlines must continue to serve the airports that they did before March 1, as long as it is “reasonable and practicable,” but routing can change, international destinations are not included, and exceptions are granted.

New York Times

The gamble in Vegas

Even before Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman surprised many in her city by calling for it to open, casino executives from rival companies were informally discussing what Las Vegas will look like when one of the largest U.S. tourist destinations reopens to guests. The deliberations have included potentially allowing small businesses off the famous Strip to open first, so that locals could get back to work, according to people familiar with the talks. The executives have also discussed opening testing facilities so that all casino workers — and perhaps even tourists — could get tested for the coronavirus. The city would open its giant casinos with as little as a third of their rooms available. Entrances would be limited, and guests’ temperatures would be checked with noninvasive methods. Casino employees would wear masks and gloves, and gamblers would sit at least a chair apart at blackjack tables. The moves are similar to what is already occurring in Macao, the world’s largest gambling market, where casinos closed for 15 days in February and reopened under tight restrictions.

Bloomberg News, STAFF

Virtual trip of the week

We are all armchair travelers now, tethered to our homes by a contagious virus that shows nature’s ugly side. To dwell for four minutes on nature’s beauty, consider taking a 360-degree tour of the world’s tallest waterfall, Angel Falls in Venezuela, at

Kerri Westenberg