Here, we spotlight the ways several hospitality companies and individual properties have chipped in to help frontline medical workers and the most vulnerable members of society.
Centara Hotels & Resorts
Since April 1, Thailand-based Centara Resorts & Hotels has been providing complimentary hotel accommodation and meals to healthcare workers, including at its flagship Bangkok property Centara Grand at CentralWorld, which has hosted doctors, nurses, and other medical staff from the nearby Police General Hospital. More recently, the group has just rolled out a campaign called Help the Heroes that aims to support those in need by channeling donations to the Chaipattana Covid-19 Aid Fund and the Thai Red Cross Society.
The initiative is designed to directly benefit health workers and vulnerable communities impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Here’s how it works: When a customer buys a Centara cash voucher (available in increments of THB1,000, or about US$31) online for a future escape at one of the group’s 60-plus properties in Thailand or overseas, Centara will add a further 50 percent to the purchase value. Half of that will go to the buyer by way of a 25 percent top-up to the value of the voucher, which can be redeemed for hotel stays and any other hotel spend until October 31, 2021. The other half will be made as a donation to whichever of the two charities the customer chooses.
Established earlier this month by the royally sponsored Chaipattana Foundation, the Chaipattana Covid-19 Aid Fund provides support for under-resourced Thai hospitals with items such as personal protective equipment and other essential medical supplies. The Thai Red Cross Society provides medical supplies to local hospitals and masks to the most vulnerable people.
Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong
The newly launched #MOCares campaign from Mandarin Oriental’s flagship hotel reveals how staff members are taking time out from their usual work to volunteer with local charities. Employees have been packing masks, hand sanitizers, and other hygiene products for underprivileged families and street cleaners under the guidance of Oxfam Hong Kong; ensuring food security for homeless people through ImpactHK; and repairing second-hand computers with Crossroads Foundation for students in poverty. Another partnership has been made with Food for Good—an NGO that runs community kitchens and raises awareness of food waste—to distribute meals cooked by hotel chefs for disadvantaged elderly residents. The Mandarin is also sending homemade brownies to Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital and Ruttonjee Hospital, and healthcare workers in three more public hospitals on Hong Kong Island will receive sweet treats on International Nurses’ Day (May 12), when the hotel will light up specific guest rooms to form a glowing heart on its facade from 8 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Through the brand’s Community Caregiver Program, more than 80 hotels across the Asia-Pacific region are supporting frontline healthcare workers by offering significantly discounted rates so they can stay close to the hospitals where they work. Marriott Bonvoy members can do their part by donating points to organizations involved in the global Covid-19 response, such as UNICEF, World Central Kitchen, and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies via the rewards program’s Giving Platform. In recent weeks, Marriott International employees in the Asia-Pacific region have collectively volunteered over 40,000 hours to serve local communities, donating food, making personal protective gear for frontline medical staff, and securing shelter for medics and journalists.
Pan Pacific, Perth
This 500-room waterfront property has partnered with the Western Australia state government to implement a pilot project known as Hotels With Heart, using empty rooms to keep some of the most vulnerable members of society out of harm’s way. Since early April, Pan Pacific has taken in 23 homeless people unable to self-isolate should they fall ill with Covid-19. That is but a fraction of the up to 1,000 estimated Australians who sleep rough in Perth’s central business district, but the move does mark an important first step in a long-term plan to move them into permanent housing. Hotels With Heart is currently nearing the end of a one-month trial period; if it proves successful, Pan Pacific will expand the initiative, opening up a total of 120 rooms to more non-paying guests including those forced out of their homes because of domestic violence, which has seen a sharp rise around the world due to lockdowns and stringent stay-at-home orders.
Rosewood Hotel Group
Last week, the Hong Kong–based hospitality company formally launched its Rosewood Raise relief fund to keep furloughed staff paid and help the wider community. Close to US$2 million has already been donated by the group’s corporate executives and other employees; the company itself is matching all employee cash contributions with money from its own reserves. The initiative includes a dedicated fund for workers across its three brands (Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, New World Hotels & Resorts, and the new millennial-oriented Khos), with priority given to those facing financial difficulties due to health issues. On the community level, New World Hotels & Resorts’ properties in Wuhan and Guiyang provided free accommodation to medical professionals in their respective cities as the initial outbreak hit mainland China. Globally, hotels such as Rosewood Hong Kong and Rosewood Bangkok have been supplying meals to first responders, hospital staff, and local relief organizations. Rosewood is set to continue the fund well into the future after the current pandemic passes.