The pandemic does not stop hotels from doing hospitable acts - Healthcare workers find home in hotels (By Adrian P. Laksmono)
The American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) represents the U.S. lodging industry, and they have been at the top of their game with response efforts.
AHLA launched a program called Hospitality for Hope. Hospitality for Hope caters to the essential healthcare workers by giving them a place to stay. Many of those who are traveling to help the different cities with COVID-19 cases are seeing a shortage of rooms.
By coordinating with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, state, local, and the federal government created a database of hotel properties near healthcare facilities and hospitals willing to open their rooms.
So far, 17,000+ hotels have participated in Hospitality for Hope. There have been 2.3 M room nights that were available on a discounted rate or complimentary with this initiative.
What is the Benefit for Hotels?
AHLA has given hotels a guideline on new cleaning protocols, other concerns, and any liability issues that may arise during daily operations and guest hotel stays.
Some hotels volunteered as a designated quarantine place for people or an emergency hospital; these are known as "alternative care sites." This initiative provides people working in the medical industry to stay and provide hotel employees with work.
Which Hotels Have Participated?
Many hotels have closed temporarily during the pandemic. However, multiple properties have stepped up to contribute in any way they can. By properly training the employees at the property, hotels can create as low as possible of a low-risk environment for COVID-19 for both the guests and employees.
New York's Four Seasons opened 225 rooms for medical staff; 100 rooms were filled within three days. Chicago's Sophy Hyde Park made rooms available to the University of Chicago for its Medical Center staff. In Portland, Maine, the Clarion Hotel prepared 50 rooms per night for medical staff for a complimentary stay. The Statler in Dallas offered complimentary stays to essential workers and designated two floors of rooms to them.
How are Hotels Helping Beyond a Free Night?
The Hilton Garden Inn in Albany launched "Heroes Landing," it is a welcoming place for medical staff in the local area. Due to the increase of patients and hectic work schedules, the property offered nurses, doctors, and other professionals a place to relax and eat. The hotel provided a guest room and a meal for them to use between shifts. Hotel staff cleans the room for its next us after the rooms were used for several hours. By doing this, a room can be used multiple times for different guests within 24 hours.
Wyndham Hotels supports frontline workers with free Gold status in their membership program, Wyndham Rewards, and comes with late checkout and bonus points on eligible stays. They named this initiative #EverydayHeroes.
In downtown Baltimore, Hotel Revival gives away produce to its community members and partnered with local organizations to serve those in need. They also made their kitchens accessible to food businesses to make their food and as a pickup location.
The Ocean House Rhode Island's culinary team made school lunches to fulfill the local students' lunch needs who could not attend school. They prepare and serve the meal via a food truck. This program is excellent for students who rely on school meals.
AHLA and the industry have continued to show their commitment to hospitality, which stays true even during the pandemic. While 2020 has had its fair share of unfortunate incidents, it is great to see that hotels are still making efforts to contribute to its local communities.
Should Hospitality Companies Do More?
As stated above, various hospitality companies have been contributing to their community in any way they can. These acts varied from providing school lunches to free nights for essential workers. Do you think hospitality companies are doing enough, or should they be doing more? If so, what things would you suggest them to do?
About the Author
Adrian Laksmono is an out-of-state student from Canada. He started his collegiate career with Cal Poly Pomona in Fall 2019. He is a member of Delta Sigma Pi, a professional co-ed business fraternity. Adrian is interested in a career in revenue management or hotel development.