Just as firefighters were the heroes of 9/11, first responders are justifiably earning universal praise for their courage and dedication. Hotels are playing their part giving medical personnel the VIP treatment with free or discounted room rates as they battle COVID-19’s spread.
Marriott Bonvoy launched a new program, “Rooms for Responders,” in collaboration with its credit card partners, American Express and JPMorgan Chase, to provide up to $10 million worth of hotel stays at no cost in hard-hit cities in the United States.
About 100,000 room nights will be dedicated to nurses and doctors in New York City, Newark, New Jersey, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Los Angeles, Detroit, Las Vegas and New Orleans.
The Emergency Nurses Association, a 50-year old organization that acts as a resource for the global emergency nursing community, and the American College of Emergency Physicians are assisting in identifying personnel in need of hotel rooms.
“Marriott understands that the pulse of the world beats as one to overcome COVID-19 and its devastating impact around the globe,” said Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson. “As we all watch the news unfold about this unprecedented event, it’s clear that there is a need to assist and bolster healthcare workers and community caregivers who are on the frontlines working to contain this disease.”
Marriott Bonvoy members can also donate their points to relief organizations that are active in COVID-19 responses around the world and that Marriott is also supporting, including the American Red Cross, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, UNICEF and World Central Kitchen.
Hilton, too, is donating 1 million hotel room nights to first responders. American Express is again covering the costs.
“During this crisis, we have seen so many examples of medical professionals working in the most challenging circumstances, sacrificing their own needs for the greater good. They truly are heroes,” Christopher J. Nassetta, Hilton’s president and CEO said. “We are honored to extend our Hilton hospitality to them during this difficult time.”
As part of the Hilton-American Express partnership, Innisfree Hotels, Northwest Florida’s largest owner of beachfront hotels, also announced it will donate up to 6,300 room nights to frontline medical professionals.
“It is an honor to offer the healthcare heroes in several of our communities a place to rest and recharge during this time,” said said Ted Ent, president and CEO of Innisfree Hotels. “Our goal is to support individuals who would otherwise have to spend their own money on accommodations as a show of both thanks and compassion.”
Visit Milwaukee announced this week an initiative to also assist the medical efforts. A new page on its website serves as a portal for discounted rates for responders in the Wisconsin city.
Peggy Williams-Smith, president & CEO of Visit Milwaukee, said: “We are unbelievably grateful to the police, fire, EMS, health care workers, sanitation workers, municipal employees, and all the essential workers who are reporting to work every day to keep our community going. Our hope is that this website provides resources for them to find a safe place to sleep without the risk of bringing the virus home to their loved ones.”