Earlier this fall, Montage Hotels & Resorts launched Montage Academy, a resort-based, back-to-school program designed to enrich distance learning for families whose children are experiencing remote learning this fall.
Montage Academy offers an all-day monitored study hall and educational programming for guests ages six to 17. The program also offers a variety of elective activities to choose from, including hiking, archery, art, cooking, and more. Parents have the option to use the resort facilities while staying on top of their own work.
The idea for the newly implemented program came from a few different places. Montage Hotels began receiving feedback from guests in early August, particularly overwhelmed parents who were stressed and concerned about their children learning from home.
“We saw a lot of hotels talking about leveraging their facilities for day-use purposes, like conducting meetings or even in lieu of a home office. Basically, they were putting out the message, ‘Don’t work from home—come and work from one of our guestrooms.’ It dawned on us that we could use our facility to focus on kids. Kids need to work, too,” explains Jason Herthel, president and COO of Montage International.
Before launching the program, Montage Hotels & Resorts took several steps to protect students attending Montage Academy amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to socially distanced workstations, face coverings, and required sanitization, the company partnered with One Medical, a digital healthcare organization. “We provide 24/7 virtual care services for our guests; should they need medical help while they’re on the property with us or in the 30 days after their stay, they have complimentary access to One Medical,” Herthel says. This partnership protects staff as well. All Montage staff go through a daily COVID-19 symptom screening questionnaire before they are cleared to enter the property for their shift.
Montage Academy generally offers a monitored study hall in the morning and electives in the afternoon but can tailor schedules to each student. The Montage Academy program allows students to follow the curriculum of their virtual classroom and complete their work from a luxury hotel. “The content is driven by their home classrooms; the logistics are being supported by us,” Herthel explains. Even though schedules are staggered, Montage Academy is able to provide all the equipment the students will need throughout the school day, healthy snacks, and a break to enjoy fun activities.
Montage Academy has also partnered with The Princeton Review’s Tutor.com to help aid students with their academics. “We were mindful that parents might want confidence around academic questions that their kids might have,” Herthel says. So, if a student gets stuck on a question and their teacher or a member of the Montage staff is not available, Tutor.com gives students access to additional academic resources.
While Montage Academy is still in its early days, many students have already enrolled in the program, which Herthel says is receiving positive feedback from a number of parents. “Anytime we can provide an outlet for families to relax, decompress a little bit, and, at the same time, make sure that they feel like they’re keeping up on their work and commitments, that’s a great win for us,” Herthel says.
Montage Academy is also helping Montage Hotels & Resorts tap into the “stretch season“—the trend of summer travel extending into the fall. Herthel notes, “Normally, at this time of year, you would start to see demand from leisure travelers and vacationing families start to wane, and corporate travel would start to pick up. That isn’t happening this year as a result of the pandemic. [Montage Academy] creates the opportunity for the leisure traveler to continue to travel further into the fall.”