Hotels have been hard hit by the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders and travel bans. The situation is dire and growing worse by the day, according to the American Hotel & Lodging Association. Seven out of 10 direct hotel employees are either furloughed or laid off, and nearly 3.9 million jobs have been eliminated or will be in the coming weeks if the situation doesn’t improve. Here are five simple ways you can help hotel workers and their families.
- One of the most effective and rewarding ways to help is by planning and booking summer vacations now rather than after the travel bans are lifted. You have plenty of time to spare, so spend a few hours (or days) planning that dream vacation you’ll deserve after all this isolation. Most hotels have made their cancellation plans far more lenient just for this purpose. “We ask that travelers have faith that the government will take the appropriate actions, allowing America to open for business again sometime this summer, peak season for many hotels,” says Harbor Hotels CEO David Hart. “Please make your summer reservations now, given that there is no risk due to flexible cancellation policies.”
- How about a road trip if you are able to travel? Gas prices are low, and there’s no better way to forget those four walls currently surrounding you than by hitting the highway. If one long trip is still out of the question, plan several smaller staycations at local hotels. It's a great way to spice things up and escape the doldrums for an evening or two.
- For government, health care, and other essential employees with a need for long-term accommodations, be sure to stay at hotels that have elevated their efforts not just to keep you safe but also their employees. “Some of our hotels, such as Delamar in Southport, Conn., offer suites with kitchens for long-term stays,” says Greenwich Hospitality Group’s founder and CEO, Charles Mallory. “We want guests to know that we’re taking every precaution to keep them safe and that our hotels can provide a safe haven during this difficult time, especially for government and health care professionals that need to be in the area.”
- Buy travel gift cards. It’s a great way to get much-needed funds to workers now. Many hotels are offering plenty of value-added incentives like meal credits, while others are also donating a portion of the proceeds to furloughed employees. “We are asking consumers to buy gift cards and offering incentives for them to do so,” says Migis Hotel Group’s director of operations, Phil Kronenthal. “In the case of Maine’s Higgins Beach Inn, we are offering a $20 voucher with every $100 gift card purchase.”
- Finally, you can always make a difference by making donations to GoFundMe pages for hospitality workers.
By reaching out and making plans now, you can help hotel workers weather these difficult times.