Helping Hands: HVMG, Centara and More

INTERNATIONAL REPORT—At this time of crisis, those associated with the hotel industry make every effort to take care of their own, as well as others in the areas that they serve. Here are some organizations that are helping any way they can during the coronavirus pandemic:

HVMG Creates Relief Fund
Hospitality Ventures Management Group (HVMG) has launched a relief fund for its laid-off associates impacted financially by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Launched via GoFundMe across just the corporate office initially, the fund collected more than $20,000 in just two hours and has continued to grow as corporate associates, property associates, property owners and friends of the company continue to contribute.

“We are guided by our purpose, ‘To be excellent in all we do so our associates, guests and partners love us,’ so it was vitally important to us at HVMG to offer whatever support we can during these obviously trying times,” said Robert Cole, president/CEO, HVMG. “Due to this outpouring of aid, we continue to have funds being distributed in the form of gift cards for Walmart and similar retailers.”

The fund is voluntarily supported by anyone wishing to donate to these in-need hotel industry workers. “Whether the associate needs the funds for essential items, groceries, medical bills or to care for a loved one, we are thankful for the generosity and encouraged to know that this money will make a difference for our associates in need,” said Susan Sanders, EVP/chief human resources officer, HVMG. “We work with each property general manager to ensure the funds are distributed quickly in a fair and consistent manner. As the states are delayed by the sheer number of requests for financial aid, this assistance can help bridge the gap between filing and receiving state unemployment compensation.”

Centara Hotels & Resorts Launches Help the Heroes Campaign
Centara Hotels & Resorts has launched Help the Heroes, a campaign aimed at supporting those in need during COVID-19, with donations going to the Chaipattana COVID-19 Aid Fund (and other pandemics) and Thai Red Cross Society.

When a consumer buys a Centara cash voucher for a future escape, Centara will add a further 50% value to the purchase. Half will go to the buyer, with the value of the voucher being increased by 25% to help them get more out of their next adventure, when it is safe to travel again. The other half will be made as a donation, with the customer able to choose which of the two charities Centara donates to.

“We are enormously grateful for the fantastic and selfless work being carried out by medical workers in the fight against COVID-19 and we are very serious about supporting the global efforts to beat the disease,” said Thirayuth Chirathivat, CEO, Centara Hotels & Resorts. “That’s why we created this initiative and we are very happy to be contributing to both honorable charities. We also understand the current strain on families and communities who are unable to leave their homes or provinces, or see friends and loved ones, so we hope by providing a little extra to customers too, it can give them something to look forward to when it is safe to travel again.”

MMGY Global, HSMAI Launch ‘Vacay Layaway’ Program
MMGY Global, in partnership with the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI), has launched Buy One, Give One, a “vacay layaway” program designed to help jumpstart leisure travel, generate immediate revenue for hotels and thank healthcare workers for their tireless efforts on the front lines.

Available through June 30, the initiative incentivizes consumers to purchase future travel now with special offers ranging from discounted stays and gift cards to loyalty points for redemption prior to travel. In return, participating hospitality brands/hotels will donate room nights, gift cards or loyalty points to organizations, including the American Nurses Association and New York-Presbyterian, among others of their choice, to distribute to medical professionals who can use them toward future leisure stays.

“In these unprecedented times, it is more important than ever for all of us to join together to fuel recovery,” said Bob Gilbert, president & CEO of HSMAI. “With Buy One, Give One, we offer a collective charitable response to the pandemic across the hospitality industry, providing immediate funds to hotels in addition to a much deserved respite in the future for those who have put their lives on the line to care for the sick.”

TripAdvisor Rolls Out Hotels for Health
TripAdvisor has launched Hotels for Health, a program connecting healthcare workers with lodging providers who can supply rooms in this time of need.

The site allows healthcare providers to advise that they need rooms and hotels to inform that they have spare rooms available. The teams at TripAdvisor will then connect the hotels and healthcare providers.

TripAdvisor will use its extensive database of more than two million accommodation properties worldwide to help target bespoke lists in specific areas where there is an urgent need for beds. After a trial connecting the U.K.’s National Health Service and select hotels in the south of England, it has expanded the program globally.

“At this challenging time, we know TripAdvisor can play a unique role in helping to support the accommodation needs of frontline medical workers who seek out temporary housing, and we’re pleased to ask our hotel partners to do the same,” said Kanika Soni, COO, TripAdvisor. “We know so many frontline medical workers can’t simply return home after work because they live with someone with a compromised immune system, so TripAdvisor is proud to offer help where possible.”

NH Hotel Group, José Andrés Feed the Needy in Spain
NH Hotel Group has opened the kitchens of the NH Collection Madrid Eurobuilding hotel and the NH Collection A Coruña Finisterrre in A Corunña, Spain, so that celebrity chef José Andrés and the World Central Kitchen (WCK) can meet the needs of Spain’s most vulnerable.

Chef Pepa Muñoz, from nearby El Qüenco de Pepa Restaurant, coordinated the kitchen of the NH Collection Madrid Eurobuilding hotel, alongside a large group of WCK volunteers. Within the hotel’s facilities, they are able to make thousands of healthy, daily food rations with high-quality ingredients that cover the needs of both adults and children, while also taking into account their different nutritional and/or religious requirements. The hotel has expanded production to its second kitchen, which doubles this capacity to serve from 1,000 to 2,000 meals per day.

Additionally, NH Hotel Group is donating all of the food from hotels it has been forced to close due to government restrictions to charitable entities such as Madrid’s REMAR foundation.

The NH Collection A Coruña Finisterre started by making 500 meals a day for its most vulnerable residents, with a goal to quickly reach 1,000 meals per day.