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Brussels hotels attempt ‘cuddle contact’ relaunch

Credit: Belga

A new push by the Brussels Hotels Association on the days surrounding Valentines is aiming to attract customers to the cities struggling hotel sector, which has seen record lows in the past 12 months.

The “cuddle contact” plan – which will run from 12 to 21 February aims “to offer everyone a moment of escape with their +1, their close contact, their partner or their best friend by allowing them to stay in the most beautiful hotel rooms at a friendly price, and to enjoy a meal delivered to their room, or room service”.

The name plays on the now internationally known Belgian “cuddle contact” rule, which allows people to pick one person outside of their household to be physically close to – eat and drink with, and hug – with whom the social distancing or face mask rules can be disregarded.

90% empty rooms

This push by hotels follows a difficult year for the sector, which reported income down 90% in the fourth quarter of 202, compared with the same period in 2019.

According to statistics from August, nine out of ten Brussels hotel rooms were empty at the end of the summer, as the city struggles in the face of measures and a total absence of tourists.

The sector has since called for aid, with the Brussels Horeca Federation calling for help after a “horrible year.”

“Today you are letting us die a slow death,” the federations wrote in a statement to the Brussels government. “Our Brussels hotels have lost more than 75% of their turnover, 80% of them are closed. Tourists have deserted the capital,” they added.

Take Me Away

With the new plan the capital’s hotel sector intends to bring “a positive note” to holidaymakers who can no longer leave and to emphasise a sector that has been idling for almost a year due to the Covid pandemic.

“We have thought about a solution to sell hotel rooms by take-away, unfortunately, it is very complicated logistically. We, therefore, preferred to advocate take me away,” commented Rodolphe Van Weyenbergh, Secretary-General of the Brussels Hotels Association (BHA).

More information, and the hotels involved can be found here.

The Brussels Times