With millions of hotel rooms left unoccupied due to stay-at-home orders and travel restrictions due to COVID-19, hotels are finding creative ways of giving back during the pandemic.
This week, Marriott launched a $10 million program called “Rooms for Responders,” in partnership with American Express and JP Morgan Chase, announced in a press release. The program will provide free rooms to healthcare professionals in parts of the country most affected by COVID-19, including New York City, New Orleans, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Washington, D.C.
Marriott is working with the American College of Emergency Physicians and the Emergency Nurses Association to match doctors and nurses with free accommodations near the hospitals where they work.
Other Marriott hotel owners and franchisee partners are working on an initiative they call the “Community Caregiver Program,” which offers rooms significantly discounted rates to first responders and healthcare professionals at hotels nearby their hospitals. The offer is valid at more than 2,500 Marriott hotels throughout the U.S., Canada, the Caribbean, and Latin America.
Marriot Bonvoy members can also donate their loyalty points to organizations assisting in coronavirus relief efforts, like Unicef, World Central Kitchen, or the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
Hilton is also organizing a similar program. In partnership with American Express, the hotel chain will donate up to one million hotel rooms to frontline medical professionals, including doctors, nurses, EMTs and paramedics. The rooms will be available starting next week at a variety of Hilton brands through May 31.
William Jaquis, MD, FACEP, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians, said the room donation will be welcome relief for the thousands of medical staff enduring long hours under challenging circumstances.
“Knowing that there is a safe, clean and comfortable hotel room waiting for you at the end of a long shift can make all the difference in the world right now,” William Jaquis, MD, FACEP, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians, said in a statement. “The kind of compassion and caring that Hilton and American Express are offering has never been more welcome.”
Employees at hotels that remain open for medical professionals will undergo health and safety training. They will also clean and disinfect rooms and common areas with industrial-grade cleaners.
Even smaller hotels are launching similar programs. In Baltimore, the Hotel Revival has discounted rooms for medical professionals and free rooms for military and first responders. The hotel has also offered free restaurant space to struggling small businesses.