It introduced special day rates for those who need a quiet place to work. Its workspaces include Wi-Fi, communication packages, and in-room coffee. If desired, guests are even able to bring a well-behaved pet along to keep them company.
Additionally, like the Four Seasons, Red Roof has been donating a limited number of its available rooms to the country’s first responders – nurses, doctors, and emergency medical providers – who are in need of a place to stay.
FabHotels is a network of 3-star budget hotels in India. It was founded in 2014 by Wharton School alumni Vaibhav Aggarwal and Adarsh Manpuria. Because the hotel is primarily focused on business locations, it stopped receiving bookings on March 24 when business travel came to a halt. However, the FabHotels team worked hard to explore new demand channels.
They launched the Work-from-FabHotel campaign, which allowed IT, consulting, BPO, and essential service providers to stay at FabHotels and maintain social distancing, all the while ensuring top team productivity.
Clients were provided with high-speed internet access, work desks, and in-room dining. More than 150 FabHotels adopted this approach in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, and Bengaluru. The chain has also adjusted its on-site communication to emphasize that it has introduced new COVID-19 sanitization standards.
Like other hotels on this list, FabHotels is partnering with medical professionals who may live far from the hospitals where they work. It is helping to provide discounted stays in sanitized rooms to reduce the physical and mental strain that comes with caring for patients during a pandemic.
5. Hotel Zachary
Hotel Zachary is a 4-star hotel that’s only minutes from the Wrigley Field Stadium in Chicago. It’s a Marriott Tribute Portfolio Hotel that’s owned by Hickory Street Capital.
While the real estate company initially made the decision to close the hotel in the early days of the pandemic, it has since reopened to frontline medical staff who work at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center.
Source: Chicago Hotels Now
Now, the boutique hotel helps to provide aid by offering complimentary accommodation to medical professionals.
In order to secure more bookings as restrictions lessen, Marriott International has also created a special Global Cleanliness Council that consists of in-house and external experts on food and water safety, hygiene, and infection prevention.
The council now oversees the highest cleanliness standards not only in Hotel Zachary but also in 7,300 other Marriott-managed locations across the globe.
Walks is a tour company that has had to pivot its model from in-person touring to online touring. It launched its Tours from Home program as a way to feature limited-time-only content covering topical, provocative, and fascinating subjects not generally covered on its tours.
It is a calendar of on-screen excursions within city tour locations, which feature expert guides, chefs, and storytellers in conversation from their homes.
Customers can purchase access to the online programs and receive a $25 future travel credit voucher. Through this, the company continues to engage its audience despite social distancing measures.
As COVID-19 restrictions have been eased across several locations, the company has re-introduced some of its offline experiences into its offer. All in-person tours are now carried out in accordance with strict health and safety standards guaranteed by the SanSee shield – a certification given only to tour operators who meet rigorous sanitation standards.
7. FTLO Travel
FTLO Travel (For the Love of Travel) advertises itself as modern group travel for people aged 25-39. It promotes sustainable slow travel for solo tourists and is widely considered a “Millennial” group travel company.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, it has pivoted in a number of directions.
- It has held Travel Trivia Tuesday Happy Hours, where participants can mingle online and earn FTLO Travel credits.
- It has re-launched its Weekender Series. This series is aimed at getting people out and about relatively near (within 200 miles of) their homes. So, travelers will go on domestic trips, meet new friends, and see somewhere new.
Tara Cappel, the founder of FTLO, says:
"The trivia nights have been a fun way to keep our community connected. We place people on smaller teams, so they actually get to make friends as they work together to answer the trivia questions. I’ve even seen teams create group chats on WhatsApp or Instagram to keep in touch after the game is over."
8. Sophy Hyde Park Hotel
Sophy Hyde Park Hotel opened less than two years ago as a 4-star luxury boutique hotel in Hyde Park, Chicago. Back in March, Sophy Hyde Park Hotel closed entirely to the public and opened (free of charge) to University of Chicago Medical Center staff
This offer remained valid to frontline workers until at least April 17. The goal was not only to give workers a place to stay if necessary but to give them a place to relax.
As of August 2020, Sophy Hotel had already reopened to travelers. The entire hotel staff had undergone additional training to ensure that they abide by WHO and CDC health and safety protocols.
This includes touchless ID confirmation and payment upon check-in, strict social distancing observance in the restaurants and common areas, and complimentary face masks and gloves for hotel guests.
9. Le Bijou
Le Bijou is a boutique luxury apart-hotel in Zurich. Le Bijou almost didn’t suffer as a result of COVID-19 because it was already set up so guests could avoid human contact altogether. Although, given the circumstances, the hotel still pivoted to best serve the needs of their clients.
Le Bijou has 42 units at properties across Switzerland (think: luxury Airbnbs). These units have full-service kitchens, saunas, fireplaces, gyms, and Jacuzzis. Aside from cleaners, the units operate without staff, so guests don’t have to worry about contact with any outside personnel. However, they can order meals, groceries, cabs, and more through a private app and remote 24-hour concierge.
The hotel created its COVID-19 Service as a customizable stay with add-ons. These add-ons include doctor’s visits, in-room COVID-19 testing, and 24/7 nurse care. They have also partnered with a private clinic to provide medical services.
The catch? The hotel costs anywhere from $800 to $2,000 per night, depending on which property you’re at, so it’s definitely not for those on a budget. That said, the new model has been successful, and reservations are now being made for stays spanning anywhere from two weeks to two months.
10. InterContinental Sydney Double Bay
One of Australia’s most iconic hotels switched its model in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. The 5-star hotel is a luxurious seaside accommodation and – prior to the coronavirus – used to have $400-$500 per night rates in the middle of the week. However, as the demand for accommodation dropped, the hotel had to adjust its strategy.
Firstly, it slashed its rates for voluntary self-quarantine packages. Guests can stay for up to 21 days for highly reduced rates, including unlimited Netflix and stunning views. These rooms have been used by the Australian government to house dozens of individuals returning from overseas travel.
Secondly, to support medical staff, it introduced the “Heroes” discount code, offering lower rates to healthcare personnel engaged in the coronavirus fight. InterContinental also offers 20 free rooms daily to medical workers from nearby hospitals so they have a safe place to stay.
The hospitality industry’s response to COVID-19
The hospitality industry has taken several effective steps to maintain operations during the COVID-19 lockdown. Firstly, many hotels have offered their unoccupied rooms to healthcare workers to offer them a comfortable space to regain strength after long hospital shifts.
To increase occupancy rates, several hotel chains, like Four Seasons, Red Roof Inn, Marriott International, and FabHotels, have also decided to change their rooms into office space for remote workers.
Other companies, including Airbnb and FTLO Travel, have focused entirely on introducing online experiences, like virtual tours and meetings with inspiring individuals from around the globe.
The above-mentioned steps have all helped companies survive the most extreme times, allowing them to reopen their doors after restrictions were lifted. However, with the pandemic’s end nowhere in sight, it’s expected that hospitality companies will need to proactively fight for customers’ attention for many months to come.