The hotel industry has been among the most severely hit sectors during the Coronavirus pandemic, with hotels reporting record-low occupancy rates – the worst seen in history, pundits say. But as we’ve seen time and again during this crisis, there’s this overwhelming desire to help and unite. So while hotels face tremendous losses and struggle immensely to keep afloat, many of them have risen to the occasion to help in any way they can.
In New York, for instance, as it saw its number of Covid cases and deaths grow exponentially in April, the Four Seasons Hotel NY on 57th Street announced that 225 of its rooms will be made available to health care workers, all of which paid for by its owner, Ty Warner.
Other hotels around the US quickly followed suit. On the same month, the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) launched “Hospitality for Hope”, through which hotel properties can volunteer to provide temporary housing for emergency and healthcare workers. To date, over 17,000 hotels across the country has signed up.
The Hilton and American Express likewise announced a partnership that will offer up to one million hotel rooms nights to medical professionals fighting the pandemic across the US from mid-April.
The Rosewood Hotel Group, on the other hand, launched “Rosewood Raise”, a far-reaching relief initiative designed to support the Group’s affected employees, as well as the communities where they operate. The initiative also involves hotel accommodations, meal preparations and supplies for essential workers fighting the pandemic. Within the two weeks of its launch, Rosewood Raise has received pledges of close to US$2 million from the Group’s corporate executives and associates, including salary contributions and a commitment from the company to match all employees cash contributions to the fund.
It’s important to acknowledge, too, that even before this initiative was launched, its sister group, New World Hotels & Resorts, offered medical workers free accommodations at its Wuhan and Guiyang hotels. While other Rosewood properties throughout Asia Pacific, Europe and North America have been supplying necessities and thousands of meals to medical associates, first responders and hospitals. If you want to learn more about the fund and wish to contribute, you can visit rosewoodraise.com.
Meanwhile, 270 of Marriott’s hotels across Asia lit up their buildings simultaneously to look like giant smiley faces. Coined the “Light of Hope”, the initiative was part of Marriott International’s efforts in spreading positivity to affected nations. Apart from this inspiring initiative, which will continue in some parts, the Marriott hotels have volunteered over 40,000 hours to serve their communities, from distributing food, protective gears, as well as offering shelter to medics and media.
These are but a few of the establishments that have stepped up in a big way during the pandemic. When all this ends – and it will – and things begin to get back to normal, let’s help them back and plan that holiday, or a staycation, which I am sure many of us are itching to.