With governments, communities and businesses taking action to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic and support the welfare of their people, staff and customers, the hospitality industry is playing their part.

The travel and tourism industry faces an unprecedented existential crisis. Despite this, hotels and restaurants across the world continue to look for ways that their facilities and staff can support their local communities.

The hospitality industry has been innovative in their response:

  • ITP members Hilton, IHG, Marriott and NH Hotel Group are among the many hotel companies and hotel associations working with local governments across the world to transform vacant hotel rooms into treatment facilities to support increasing demand on local healthcare systems. Other hotel companies include Best Western Great Britain, Melia, Travelodge and Whitbread.
  • Hotel companies are taking steps to support the staff of their closed properties. Hilton, Hyatt and IHG are engaging with their wider business networks to place furloughed staff into temporary jobs in much needed services, including Amazon, Walmart, Lidl and CVS Pharmacy. Senior management at Hyatt are forgoing their salary or taking 80% pay cuts to provide funding for the global Hyatt Care Fund, which will be distributed to those colleagues with the most pressing financial needs due to loss of income.
  • Extra capacity for homeless shelters is being created by hotels. For example, IHG in London is providing temporary accommodation for the next three months for rough sleepers and a Hilton hotel in New Orleans is providing food and accommodation for the next month. La Ciguena resort near Madrid is helping to house refugees and homeless people, with their staff coming in voluntarily to help.
  • In France, hotels will be used to house victims of domestic violence which has seen an increase since the introduction of the coronavirus lockdown.
  • Hotel companies including IHCL and Divani Collection Hotels Group are supporting local healthcare system during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, by donating funding for medical equipment, supplies and services.
  • Healthcare professionals working on the frontline are being offered free food and accommodation from large hotel brands including Four Seasons, Hilton, OYO Hotels and Homes, Diamond Resorts, Taj (IHCL), and Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, to independent hotels such as Chicago’s Sophy Hyde Park Hotel and the Linton Lodge Hotel in Oxford, UK.
  • Hotels are also supporting members of their local community with free food. This includes Radisson donating hundreds of thousands of free meals to migrant workers in India who have been left stranded during the lock-down, and Dorint supporting families and local initiatives around their 60 properties.
  • Hotel companies, including ITP members Caesars Entertainment and NH Hotel Group, are donating palettes of food to local foodbanks and charitable organisations.
  • Hotels are working with local government to fill vacant hotel rooms with people that need to self-quarantine at a subsidised rate.
  • Daytime rooms at a Wyndham hotel and Dorint hotels are being offered for business workers who can’t go to their workplace and need professional space away from their homes.
  • Hotels in India are not only supporting local families and migrant workers with free meals, but are also looking after the city’s stray animals so they don’t starve, including Radisson Blu, GRT Hotels, The Residency Towers, and Green Park Hotels.
  • IHG hotel in Atlanta have donated 500 bed sheets to Colgate Mattress, who are switching their operations to make protective masks.
  • Hotels are using their facilities to help people to stay at home by sharing fitness routines, recipes from their chefs and relaxation techniques including Hyatt, NH Hotel Group, Radisson and Taj.
  • Standing in solidarity with communities affected by the pandemic, hotels across the world, including Caesars Entertainment, Hyatt, IHG, Marriott International, Omni Hotels and Radisson are lighting up their hotels and windows in the shape of a heart.
  • With many hotels accommodating people in isolation, they are doing small things to keep spirits high. For example, a Marriott hotel in Jordan is giving personalised gift bags to children and turning on the lights and fountains to entertain people in isolation, whilst staff at a Hilton hotel in Jordan celebrated a young boy’s birthday through the guestroom window.

The hospitality industry will also have a very important role to play in repairing lives within their local communities. As the industry starts to recover, hospitality will be able to offer much-needed employment, while also ensuring it is mitigating against the risk of unethical recruitment practices in labour supply chains that may arise as a result of people’s increased vulnerability. We are already seeing hotels making plans for welcoming back their employees as soon as the crisis is over.

Across our social media channels, we will be showcasing the different ways the hotel industry continues to positively engage with its local communities and demonstrate the true spirit of hospitality.

This article was published when Sustainable Hospitality Alliance was known as International Tourism Partnership (ITP), part of Business in the Community (BITC).