The COVID-19 pandemic has brought people apart – in a literal sense. But the disaster also gathered people together in unexpected ways. While it’s never appropriate to romanticize this tragedy, we can’t help but look at the silver lining: individuals, organizations, and businesses all over the world are stepping up to help vulnerable sectors who are in dire need of assistance amid the global crisis. 

That includes the travel industry – which is one of the hardest-hit industries due to COVID-19. 

Hotel operations all over the world might be suspended for tourists and leisure purposes but that doesn’t mean they’re not moving. In fact, several hotels are going beyond to provide two basic human needs: food and shelter. 

Many hotel chains offer their facilities and resources to assist healthcare workers, displaced workers, stranded students, and hungry citizens across the country during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Here are 7 ways hotels all over the world respond to COVID-19 pandemic. 

1. Disinfection of properties 

Hotels are taking extra steps to further disinfect their properties to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to their employees and guests. 

Here are specific measures hotels should implement: 

  • Use of disinfectants and cleaning products suggested and approved by the local health department
  • Installation of hand sanitizers in doors and restrooms
  • Disinfection of public high-touch spaces like the front desk, lobby, elevators, water fountains, and vending machines
  • Disinfection of all hotel rooms
  • Disinfection of silverware, glassware, table linen, and other restaurant equipment and facilities.
  • Disinfection of any surfaces that become soiled with respiratory secretions or other body fluids (e.g. toilet, hand washing basins, and baths) 
  • Provision of protective equipment to employees, including germicidal disinfectant/wipes for surface cleaning, tissues, face masks, gloves (disposable), and biohazard disposable waste bags.
  • Provision of disposable personal protective equipment to the cleaning and housekeeping staff, including gloves, disposable gowns, closed shoes, face masks or face shield, and disposable aprons.

2. Implementation of flexible cancellation/rebooking policies

Following the hotel closures for public stays, hotels are also reevaluating their policies to ease the burden from their guests’ end. That includes the cancellation, refunding, and rebooking policies. 

3. Support for the healthcare community

Major hotel chains all over the world are stepping up to contribute to the healthcare community. Following the recent COVID-19 outbreak, many hotels teamed up with their respective local government units about repurposing their properties into temporary hospitals, quarantine centers, and testing facilities.

Big chains, including Holiday Inn, discuss the logistics of closing their hotels to the public so that their properties can be given to vulnerable sectors who are most at risk of contracting the virus. 

4. Providing temporary shelter for the medical personnel

The unprecedented outbreak has led to heart-wrenching stories about exhausted doctors and nurses sleeping in cars, hospital basements, and garages to isolate themselves from their families. 

To cater to our dedicated front liners, a vast number of hotels have signed up to use their properties to house displaced workers who need to go under quarantine. They provide free rooms to doctors, nurses, and other medical staff who need decent places to stay.

5. Housing stranded students and displaced workers

Aside from workers who are in the medical field, many hotels have also launched several initiatives to help stranded students and working individuals who might find it difficult to commute to work or go home. 

For example, several countries have suspended their public transportation operations, leaving essential workers no choice but to walk long distances. With this, employers are providing them with free shuttle services and hotel rooms

6. Providing job opportunities to hotel team members

The pandemic caused a big number of job losses, including jobs in the travel and hospitality industry. The good news is several chains continue to provide their workers roles so they can continue to function and earn despite the lack of hotel reservations. 

For example, a hotel accommodation chain in the U.S. is working with AHLA to make available additional relevant job opportunities for affected hospitality professionals. 

7. Donations of food to the local community

Several hotel brands have stepped up to help, not only the medical front liners but also the local communities. Hospitality giants offer safe spaces for temporary lodging and are partnering with charities to feed people in need with high-quality and nutritious food that may otherwise go to waste. 

For instance, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has announced a partnership with OzHarvest, a leading food rescue charity in Australia, to help feed hungry Australians. Through this partnership, IHG will prevent good food from hotel chains from going to waste and use it to provide quality, nutritious meals to the less-fortunate communities. 

Author Bio: Carmina Natividad is one of the seasoned writers for Holiday Inn Parramatta Hotel, a modern hotel located in the heart of Western Sydney, delivering top-class Parramatta accommodation. She has always been passionate about traveling, taking photos, and writing travel tips and tricks.