Updated: Compassion in a Time of Crisis

NATIONAL REPORT—At times of crisis, the hotel industry makes every effort to take care of its own, as well as others in the areas that they serve. Here are a some companies that are helping any way they can during the coronavirus pandemic:

UPDATED: MGM Resorts International has made a $1 million crisis and disaster relief pledge into an employee emergency grant fund intended to support those impacted economically by the pandemic.

“As we confront extraordinary events and an unprecedented global pandemic crisis, we know that this is an extremely challenging and uncertain time for many of our employees, their families, friends and neighbors, and we are committed to help those in need,” said Bill Hornbuckle, the company’s acting CEO and president. “We have done a number of things to help our colleagues, including significantly expanding eligibility coverage for the MGM Employee Emergency Grant Fund. MGM Resorts International is donating $1 million toward disaster relief to offer additional support to employees impacted by the crisis and who may be experiencing hardships.”

Additionally, MGM Resorts has upped its food donations to almost a half-million pounds, which is equivalent  to  400,000 meals.

McKibbon to Aid Laid-Off Employees
Hotel management company McKibbon Hospitality has established an associate assistance fund in response to the profound impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to the hospitality industry. Aimed at assisting its former employees with groceries and other necessities, the fund will provide payments of $200 every two weeks for all of the firm’s recently laid-off employees for 90 days beginning on April 3.

“Our associates are like family and are truly the heart of our business, which has made this unfortunate situation so difficult,” said President Randy Hassen. “We are committed to supporting them through these challenging times in any way that we can, just like they’ve supported us over the years. Once the outbreak is contained, we look forward to restoring our operations and bringing as many employees back to work as possible.”

In addition to the associate assistance fund, McKibbon Hospitality has partnered with Marketplace Chaplains for the past 17 years to ensure that all hotel guests, associates and their families have 24/7 access to a chaplain trained to support their emotional needs during challenging times. The chaplain service will also be extended to those who have been let go due to this worldwide pandemic.

Hotel Tech Company Launches COVID-19 Support Platform
The founders of hotel industry software provider Cloudbeds and their team created #hospitalityhelps to connect property owners and operators with healthcare providers, providing facilities during this time of need. Hospitality professionals willing to open their facilities can provide their information via #hospitalityhelps to assist government and healthcare agencies in need of open beds.

“With each passing hour, we face an ever more acute shortage of available beds for the sick, and for health professionals who are fighting the coronavirus. At the same time, we are seeing many lodging providers reducing occupancy or sitting empty altogether,” said Adam Harris, CEO at Cloudbeds. “The hotel industry has always been about people first and foremost. #hospitalityhelps is connecting our hotel customers and industry partners with government and healthcare agencies to help people who need it most—by making more beds available.”

Harris said the response to #hospitalityhelps has been overwhelming, with hotels representing thousands of beds responding within minutes of the launch of the program.

The website can be found at www.hospitalityhelps.org.

Hilton Helps Find Temporary Jobs for Displaced Team Members
Hilton is partnering with leading companies to connect workers from temporarily suspended hotels with hundreds of thousands of short-term jobs created by the global pandemic.

Hilton team members, and others in the industry seeking employment, will be given direct access—and in some cases expedited access—to temporary jobs on the Hilton Workforce Resource Center at companies such as Albertsons, Amazon, CVS, Lidl, Sunrise Senior Living and Walgreens.

Hilton hopes to expand the program globally and plans to welcome these team members back when travel resumes.

MGM Resorts International Properties Donate Food
MGM Resorts International has donated more than 300,000 pounds of food—or 250,000 meals—to the communities in which it operates. The company is working with local food banks to ensure all available fresh food from its resorts is safely and quickly donated to charitable organizations in several underserved areas.

In Las Vegas, MGM Resorts has provided on-the-ground support and in-kind donations across Las Vegas to several local community organizations and agencies. So far, it has donated 137,000 pounds of food to Three Square Food Bank, providing 114,000 meals to community members in need. Nonperishable food has been donated from multiple MGM Resorts properties across The Strip along with bags for the distribution of food and meals to those in need. MGM will continue to work with Three Square as well as other food banks throughout the city to manage donation intake and food storage.

Other MGM hotel-casino properties making food donations include MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, MD (55,000 pounds of food to community nonprofits such as Nourish Now); MGM Springfield in Springfield, MA  (12,000 pounds of food to the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, Open Pantry Community Services and Friends of the Homeless; Beau Rivage in Biloxi, MS (25,000 pounds to Extra Table, Loaves & Fishes, Lord is My Help and the Hancock County Food Pantry; and Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, NJ (more than 35,000 pounds to local charities including The Boys & Girls Club of Atlantic City and The Community Food Bank of New Jersey).

Brown-Forman Corp. Helps Hotel Restaurant/Bar Workers
Brown-Forman Corporation has made a $1-million donation to COVID-19 response funds, including funds to help restaurant workers and bartenders in the hospitality industry.

In a statement, the company said: “Our friends in the hospitality and service industry are facing difficult times as they wrestle with the financial challenges of being out of work for an unknown period of time. These individuals, including bartenders and restaurant workers, are the face and voice of our brands to so many consumers around the world. We are joining our colleagues in the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States and making a donation to the United States Bartenders’ Guild (USBG) Foundation Emergency Assistance Program to help them during this time of need.”

Lawson Whiting, the company’s CEO, said: “As COVID-19 has spread throughout the world, we want to provide assistance to our communities in this time of great need. We are announcing donations totaling $1 million that will enable us to give back to the people and communities that mean so much to our company.”