Essential Workers, Students, Military Members Receive Aid
Hospitality brands are not just about taking care of their own. Multiple brands have announced ways they’re offering their now empty rooms to help those who need it most during this time: essential workers. Many are offering steep discounts or even free rooms to medical staff, law enforcement, truckers, and others who are essential to either treating and preventing the spread of COVID-19 or to ensuring the basic aspects of the economy continue to function during this time (think the grocery supply chain).
College students also found themselves in need when campuses suddenly closed and students were “evicted” but were unable to travel home due to travel restrictions. Red Roof has come to the aid of such ones, providing a discounted rate to students – many of whom might be from another country – until they are able to get back home.
On March 19, Carnival Corp. announced that select cruise ships will be made available to communities for use as temporary hospitals to help address the escalating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on healthcare systems around the world. Carnival Corporation and its brands called on governments and health authorities to consider using cruise ships as temporary healthcare facilities to treat non-COVID-19 patients, freeing up additional space and expanding capacity in land-based hospitals to treat cases of COVID-19. As part of the offer, interested parties will be asked to cover only the essential costs of the ship's operations while in port.
On March 24, Red Roof announced it would help out college students who were suddenly displaced as a result of campuses closing due to CDC protocols in response to COVID-19. Many students are in limbo and not able to return home due to travel restrictions and personal and professional obligations. With many hotels close to college campuses, Red Roof has launched the Student Support Program to help students who can't get home. The Support Program provides students with a 30% discount, per room, for stays at participating locations across the country including Red Roof Inn and Red Roof PLUS+ properties. Students looking for long term accommodation, seven days or more, will receive a $25 Amazon gift card to help purchase essential items.
On March 24, the American Hotel Lodging Association launched its Hospitality for Hope Initiative' to connect hotel properties with the health community, struggling to find housing and support as the COVID-19 public health crisis grows. Initially, 6,500 properties nationwide were identified as being located in close proximity to established healthcare facilities and were at the ready to assist government efforts and support the health community and the nation’s first responders who may be in need of temporary housing during this crucial time. By April 6, more than 15,000 hotels had signed up to be a part of this initiative.
OYO Hotels & Homes
On March 24, OYO Hotels & Homes opened the doors to its hotels and offered free stays to doctors, nurses and other medical first responders who are helping in the fight against Coronavirus (COVID-19). Medical first responders will receive free accommodations at any OYO Hotel in the United States so they can sleep, shower or just get off their feet and recharge.
On April 6, Hilton and American Express announced that the companies, in partnership with Hilton’s ownership community, will donate up to 1 million hotel room nights across the United States to frontline medical professionals leading the fight against COVID-19. Rooms are available without charge to doctors, nurses, EMTs, paramedics and other frontline medical staff who need a place to sleep, recharge or isolate from their families through the end of May. Hilton is initially working with 10 associations who collectively represent more than 1 million healthcare workers to provide access to the program, designed to support individuals who would otherwise have to spend their own money on accommodations.
On April 9, #FirstRespondersFirst announced a partnership with Marriott International to support frontline healthcare workers with essential protective equipment, accommodations, child care, food, mental health support and other essential resources. Marriott and #FirstRespondersFirst will provide healthcare workers in New York City with accommodations starting with The Renaissance New York Times Square and The Algonquin Hotel Times Square, Autograph Collection which are both in close proximity to hospitals. Accommodations will be provided at no cost to the healthcare workers.
Best Western Hotels & Resorts
On April 13, Best Western Hotels & Resorts announced a special rate plan that extends a discount of at least 10% to essential workers at participating properties across North America. The rate plan was effective immediately and available for stay dates through June 30, 2020. Essential workers can select the rate plan when booking on bestwestern.com and will need to provide their work identification upon check in. BWHR is offering a Best Western Rewards® (BWR®) Elite status upgrade to those on the front lines. To round out the relief package for front line workers, BWHR made it easy for its loyalty members to support essential workers. BWR members who donate their rewards points to BWHR’s charitable arm, Best Western for a Better World®, or charitable partner, the Red Cross, will see their donations go directly to supporting COVID-19 relief efforts.
On April 15, RLHC announced the launch of “Keep Our Country Moving,” a program aimed to assist and relieve critical workforces and first responders whose jobs require them to leave home during the COVID-19 pandemic. RLHC has asked its approximately 1,000 hotels across North America to provide large discounts to essential workers who must leave their residences for work between April 15th and the end of June. Through this campaign, RLHC aims to relieve truck drivers, delivery personnel, construction workers, EMS teams, healthcare professionals, law enforcement agents and more. The support program will provide essential workers with a 50% discount, per room, on top of the RLHC’s pre-established low rates.
On April 17, IHG Hotels & Resorts announced its partnerhip with #FirstRespondersFirst. The brand will provide free accommodation at hotels across the United States for frontline COVID-19 first responders. First responders will have access to a dedicated VIP reservation service from IHG, which will carefully match local needs with nearby hotels. With nearly 4,000 IHG hotels across the country, these first responders can rest and recharge near the medical facilities at which they work, with accommodation costs (up to 50 million IHG Rewards Club points) covered by IHG.
On April 20, IHG Army Hotels, a portfolio of hotels which serves thousands of guests every day on forty military installations in the United States and Puerto Rico, said properties are providing safe and comfortable accommodations for servicemembers who are supporting COVID-19 relief efforts or those who have been temporarily displaced during this emergency, including military personnel whose barracks or on-post housing have been repurposed. Many IHG Army Hotels have reached agreements with Garrison leadership in order to alleviate the financial burden of service members affected by the “Remain in Place” order while awaiting transportation to their new permanent duty station. Service members who present Permanent Change of Station (PCS) orders upon check-in at these hotels will receive a daily room rate equal to their basic allowance for housing.
Rosewood Hotel Group
On April 21, Rosewood Hotel Group announced the launch of Rosewood Raise, a comprehensive relief initiative developed in support of the communities in which the Group operates. Among the first properties in the portfolio to be affected by COVID-19, New World Hotels & Resorts’ hotels in Wuhan and Guiyang saluted their cities’ medical workers by providing complimentary accommodations. Many properties throughout Asia Pacific, Europe and North America are supplying necessities and meals to medical associates, first responders and area hospitals, as well as to local organizations and charities aimed at assisting families and individuals in need. Both Rosewood Bangkok (Bangkok, Thailand) and Rosewood Miramar Beach (Montecito, USA) have created Rosewood on the Move food delivery services to offer complimentary comfort meals to frontline workers in the hotels’ respective regions. Rosewood Miramar Beach, specifically, has already served over 1,500 meals to essential personnel throughout Santa Barbara, CA, ranging from police officers and fire fighters to waste handlers and grocery store attendants. Additional properties preparing meals for key workers at their local hospitals include Rosewood London (London, UK), Rosewood Hong Kong (Hong Kong, SAR), and Rosewood Abu Dhabi (Abu Dhabi, UAE).