NATIONAL 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:
Innisfree Hotels Donates Rooms to Healthcare Workers
Innisfree Hotels will donate up to 6,300 room nights to frontline medical professionals leading the fight against COVID-19. The company will make rooms available without charge to doctors, nurses, EMTs, paramedics and other frontline medical staff through the end of May. The initiative will be executed in partnership with Hilton and American Express’ commitment to donate up to 1 million hotel room nights across the U.S.
“In the spirit of hospitality, Innisfree is opening our doors to medical workers and first responders who are courageously and selflessly serving on the front lines of the gulf coast,” said Ted Ent, president/CEO, Innisfree Hotels. “The concept of helping those who help us has long been ingrained in our company culture, so the decision to join Hilton in providing relief for thousands of medical staff enduring long hours under challenging circumstances was an easy one.”
Innisfree is working with local organizations that represent healthcare workers in the North Florida cities of Pensacola, Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Fort Walton Beach, Panama City Beach and Sarasota to provide access to the program. Rooms will be available across a variety of Innisfree properties including Hilton Pensacola Beach, Hampton Inn Pensacola Beach, Hilton Garden Inn Orange Beach, Hampton Inn & Suites Orange Beach, Hilton Garden Inn Fort Walton Beach, Hampton Inn & Suites Panama City Beach and Embassy Suites Sarasota.
“It is an honor to offer the healthcare heroes in several of our communities a place to rest and recharge during this time,” Ent said. “Our goal is to support individuals who would otherwise have to spend their own money on accommodations as a show of both thanks and compassion.”
Hotels will be staffed by team members who have received additional training on relevant health and safety measures to safeguard their own and their guests’ well-being. All common areas at each property will continue to be sanitized using industrial-grade cleaners and updated cleaning protocols. For more information about the room donation program and guidance on how to book, visit hilton.com/en/corporate/
Best Western Rolls Out Support Package for Frontline Workers
Best Western Hotels & Resorts has launched a support package designed to offer help to frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The package includes a discounted rate at participating BWHR-branded hotels, a custom loyalty offering for essential workers and expanded donation offerings supporting COVID-19 relief efforts.
“Each and every day, we see essential workers, from healthcare providers and first responders to transportation workers and infrastructure professionals, putting their own health at risk to lead the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic,” said David Kong, president/CEO for BWHR. “These frontline workers are making tremendous sacrifices for the greater good. While no token of appreciation will ever be enough, we are proud to show our respect and gratitude by keeping our doors open in their time of need, extending a loyalty upgrade and supporting the relief efforts through donations.”
BWHR has created a special rate plan that extends a discount of at least 10% to essential workers at participating properties across North America. The rate plan is effective immediately and available for stay dates through June 30. Essential workers will need to provide their work identification upon check in.
In addition to keeping its doors open to essential workers in their time of need, BWHR is offering a Best Western Rewards (BWR) Elite status upgrade to those on the front lines. Elite BWR members can enjoy bonus points for every stay, exclusive promotional offers and discounted rates at BWHR-branded hotels worldwide.
To round out the relief package, BWHR has made it easier than ever for its loyalty members to support essential workers. BWR members who donate their rewards points to BWHR’s charitable arm, Best Western for a Better World, or the Red Cross, its charitable partner, will see their donations go directly to supporting COVID-19 relief efforts.
Wyndham Hotels & Resorts Honors Everyday Heroes
Wyndham Hotels & Resorts has launched the #EverydayHeroes initiative, offering all essential workers on the front lines of COVID-19 instant complimentary Gold membership upgrades in its Wyndham Rewards loyalty program.
The upgrades will be eligible to truck drivers, delivery drivers, warehouse workers, construction workers, sanitation workers, grocery associates, healthcare workers and others. The offer is available to both new and existing Wyndham Rewards members.
“We’re humbled to honor such a deserving group of individuals: everyday people who have been performing herculean tasks in the face of danger,” said Geoff Ballotti, president/CEO of Wyndham Hotels & Resorts. “This is one small way we can help make their next trip—whether it be to visit loved ones and friends, or simply to get away—as special as it deserves to be. They’ve earned it.”
Wyndham Rewards Gold membership provides travelers with a host of meaningful benefits including members-only discounts; a dedicated member services line; preferred rooms; accelerated points earning; and late checkout. The membership upgrade must be requested by Sept. 30 and is good through Dec. 31, 2021.
In addition to recognizing those on the front lines of COVID-19, Wyndham continues to update its policies worldwide to provide travelers and Wyndham Rewards members with increased travel flexibility—relaxing cancellation policies, extending membership benefits and delaying points expiration. The company also encourages members to donate Wyndham Rewards points to its preferred charitable partners, many of whom are also working to fight the burdens created by COVID-19.
Hard Rock International, Seminole Gaming Donates Soap
Clean the World Foundation has joined forces with Hard Rock International and Seminole Gaming, which operates the Hard Rock Hotel-Casinos in Tampa and Hollywood, FL, to fight the spread of COVID-19. The organizations donated 350,000 bars of soap to Clean the World in order to provide life-saving soap to individuals and families across the globe that are most vulnerable to hygiene-related illnesses.
Hard Rock International and Seminole Gaming currently participate in Clean the World’s Hospitality Recycling program. Through this program, room attendants collect the soap and bathroom amenities left behind by hotel guests and ship them to a Clean the World facility. The soap is ground, sanitized, melted and reprocessed into a brand-new bar of soap. The plastic bathroom bottles are sent to recycling or an energy-from-waste facility. Since 2018, Hard Rock International and Seminole Gaming have diverted a combined 15,000 pounds of waste from landfills and distributed almost 33,000 bars of soap to those in need.
The COVID-19 crisis has greatly affected the hospitality industry, so the soap coming into Clean the World has decreased significantly. For this reason, Clean the World is relying on partners such as Hard Rock International and Seminole Gaming to donate hygiene supplies to allow the organization to meet its soap production goals and distribute soap to COVID-19 relief organizations with the greatest need.
“Soap is not federally subsidized, so individuals and families, especially living in transitional housing or experiencing homelessness, rarely have access to soap and other hygiene supplies to keep them safe,” said Sam Stephens, executive director of Clean the World Foundation. “Handwashing with soap is the most effective way to fight COVID-19, so it is crucial that we get supplies out to relief organizations as quickly as possible. We are incredibly thankful to Hard Rock International and Seminole Gaming for their donation, which allows us to meet demands quickly.”
“We are incredibly grateful to be able to help this worthy cause especially right now,” said Tracy Bradford, EVP of administration for Hard Rock International and Seminole Gaming. “Save the Planet is one of our founding core beliefs since 1971; we have a significant investment behind the meaning of this principle.”