Lending a Hand: IHG, Choice 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:

IHG Partners With #FirstRespondersFirst
IHG Hotels & Resorts has become a nationwide hospitality partner of #FirstRespondersFirst, providing free accommodations at hotels across the U.S. for frontline COVID-19 first responders.

As part of this partnership, 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.

“It is critical that we support our frontline workers as they are serving our country with courage and selflessness,” said Arianna Huffington, founder and CEO of Thrive Global. “They’re caring for us, so we must help take care of them. That’s why we are raising funds for essential resources, including childcare, food and accommodation, for first responders and their families. We are thankful that IHG is providing thousands of hotel rooms across the country, supporting people with comfortable and clean places to rest and recharge without putting their loved ones at risk.”

“As communities around the world respond to COVID-19, we’re honored and privileged to play our part and help those who are taking care of our loved ones and neighbors,” said Keith Barr, CEO, IHG. “#FirstRespondersFirst is unique because it addresses the broad needs of this critical group of people, and being part of a bigger solution is how we think about the support we provide communities. We look forward to welcoming these critical frontline teams and delivering the true hospitality they deserve when they need it most.”

Choice Joins Serta Initiative
Choice Hotels International Inc. is teaming up with Serta Inc. to contribute to its “Stay Home, Send Beds” initiative, which is providing bed donations to help address nationwide shortages at hospitals and temporary medical facilities.

Members of Choice Hotels’ Choice Privileges loyalty program can donate their points toward beds for hospitals in need, and Choice will increase the impact by matching 100% of donated points for a limited time. All Serta mattress donations are being facilitated through Relief Bed International, a nonprofit organization that provides beds to impoverished people and disaster victims around the world.

“We are so grateful to our nation’s tireless healthcare workers and recognize the increased needs and demands hospitals are facing to support and treat those affected by COVID-19,” said Robert McDowell, chief commercial officer, Choice Hotels. “We want to do our part to help those on the front lines and facilitate care for those in need and, right now, every bed counts. Our customers are looking for ways to safely give back during this pandemic, and we’re proud to give them a way to do just that by supporting communities in need and contributing to this important cause.”

Ashford Trust Assists Communities
Ashford Hospitality Trust Inc. is partnering with local government agencies, medical staffing organizations and hotel brands to support COVID-19 response efforts. To date, through various initiatives, more than 25 Ashford Trust hotels have provided temporary lodging for first responders, healthcare professionals and other community residents impacted by the crisis.

“It is incumbent on all of us to do our part, and I am proud of our efforts to proactively support the communities we serve,” commented Douglas A. Kessler, Ashford Trust’s president/CEO. “We send our deepest gratitude to everyone working on the front lines and we are proactively pursuing opportunities to best utilize our hotels to help navigate in these uncertain times.”

The company continues to seek ways to provide further support under various response initiatives in parts of the country most affected by COVID-19.

Meliá to Reward 10,000 Two-Night Stays
Meliá Hotels International is preparing to launch a campaign in which it will offer healthcare workers 10,000 free two-night stays once the company’s properties reopen.

The gift will include stays for two people, valued at 34,000 MeliáRewards points. They can be made in any of the hotels operated by the company all over the world as soon as the pandemic ends and the hotels in the chosen destination can resume business as usual. The campaign starts April 18 and will last 10 days, offering 2,000 free nights every day. To request their stays, healthcare workers will have to fill in a form on melia.com with all their details, and will then have to show proof that they are healthcare workers when they check in.

The promotion will reserve 10% of the stays for the healthcare workers in the Meliá hotels converted into hospitals throughout Spain. As Gabriel Escarrer, EVP/CEO of Meliá Hotels International, explained, “Every day we see how healthcare professionals go out of their way to professionally and humanely fight the disease. That’s why, in addition to offering our facilities to be used as hospitals, we also want to offer them the excitement of looking forward to a well-deserved rest in a hotel of their choice when all this is over.”