After more than two months of home schooling, many parents are now being hit with the reality of summer camps and other traditional getaways being closed or canceled.
But, as the experts say, with crises comes innovation. And one creative luxury wholesaler is hoping to help agents boost domestic sales while solving two of the most vexing problems facing families today: how to take a safe vacation and get a break from nonstop family togetherness.
This week, ID Travel Group, formerly known as Island Destinations, is rolling out a summer camp program where families can book a getaway at more than 20 destination resorts, mostly in the U.S., complete with a private camp counselor to keep kids busy all day.
Among the resorts that have signed up so far are Amangiri in Utah, the Resort at Paws Up in Montana, Montage Palmetto Bluffs in South Carolina, the Chatham Bars Inn on Cape Cod and Watch Hill in Rhode Island.
The idea, said ID Travel COO Laurie Palumbo, was to provide families who usually send their kids to camp while they take their own vacation an all-inclusive alternative that allows for social distancing and personalization.
For instance, the families can choose to have their kids participate in on-premises programming, or they book a private counselor who will develop personalized activities to keep the kids busy throughout day.
Likewise, she said, families can opt to have all of their meals privately if they choose, either cooked by a private chef in their villa or delivered from the restaurant. And parents can be set up with a remote office so they can continue working while their kids are "camping."
Jack Ezon, founder and managing partner of Embark Beyond, which was one the first travel agencies to partner with ID Travel Group to sell the private camp product, said he had more than 70 inquires in the first days it was featured on its website.
Prices range from around $7,750 for seven days for a family of four at Watch Hill to $150,000 for a full buyout for up to 24 people at Lake Kora in the Adirondacks.
The product is just one example of a new focus by both tour operators and previously outbound-focused wholesalers on developing new domestic products for U.S. agents to sell to clients who remain hesitant about venturing too far or too close to others.
Both Overseas Leisure Group and Ultimate Jet Vacations say they have been scurrying to add destination resorts in the U.S. And Abercrombie & Kent this week announced six new Tailor Made adventures across the American West and Alaska as well as two Great American Road Trips with private guides and carefully vetted accommodations that offer added space and privacy.