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Hotel chains do their bit to fight COVID-19

By Pavan Lall
April 06, 2020 16:57 IST
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The strident support from the hotels comes at a time when the industry is itself caught off guard with a sharp dip in both in-bound traffic from foreign markets, reduced domestic traction as well as a total shut-down of MICE business that has led the country top players by market cap to lose over half their value in just a little over a month.

Hotel chains of all sizes across the country are rallying resources to support local authorities, medical teams, and those in need of basics such as food and medicine.

In some cases, companies are even taking hotel supplies and using them for personal protection.

 

Ajay Bakaya, managing director at Sarovar Hotels & Resorts, says: “We are taking fresh linen from half a dozen properties and those are being made into masks for those in need.”

Sarovar is operating 14 of its 83 properties because of a national vacuum in business, but is dishing out 500 free meals a day in conjunction with local police and authorities in Chandigarh at its Hometel property.

Similarly, Tata-owned IHCL, which runs the Taj and other hotel brands, has dedicated resources to feed migrant workers in Mumbai, officials say.

“During these challenging times The Taj Mahal Palace, Taj Lands End, Taj Santacruz, The President and Ginger MIDC Andheri in Mumbai; and Ginger Madgaon and Ginger City Centre, Noida, are offering rooms free of charge to the medical fraternity,” an IHCL spokesperson said.

Four other Ginger hotels across the country are also being used for quarantine purposes, and include Ginger in Bhubaneshwar, Faridabad, Bengaluru, and Andheri to accommodate medical workers.

In addition, IHCL is distributing meals cooked at by the TajSats to colleges (Lady Hardinge Medical College, New Delhi) and seven hospitals in the National Capital Region.

Marriott International, the world’s largest hotel chain, is driving on ground-assistance in a bid to help flatten the curve and support local government.

The JW Marriott Aerocity, New Delhi, and the Westin Gurgaon are distributing cooked meals, with as many as 500 packed meal boxes being distributed every day.

The Delhi hotel has distributed close to 5,000 boxes to date.

In Maharashtra, hit hardest by coronavirus so far, the JW Marriott, Pune, the Ritz Carlton and the Marriott Pune Hinjewad, in collaboration with the Panchshil Foundation, are distributing “Care Packages” across the city.

The package contains 1 kg rice, 750 gm lentil, 1 litre of cooking oil and six eggs.

Marriott is aiming to distribute 30,000 packets through the city collector’s office in Pune.

Vijay Dewan, managing director, Apeejay Surrendra Park Hotels, says: “Amidst the current lockdown the senior citizens and the underprivileged suffer the most.”

The Park Hotels has launched a neighbourhood service initiative, wherein anybody especially senior citizens can call for help groceries, medicines or food, and a team responds to the request immediately taking all safety precautions.

“Locals can directly call these hotels for any emergencies or any pharmaceutical needs, and the concierge of the hotel will help them get those,” he says.

“All these hotels are centrally located and anyone living within the 5 km radius can avail this service, available 24X7, with no additional charges, to help in time of crisis.”

Park Hotels is also providing free food to the underprivileged and has ear-marked 20 free rooms for doctors and staff fighting corona in Kolkata.

Europe’s biggest hotel chain, the Accor Group, through its hotel Ibis New Delhi Aerocity, is extending its assistance as a quarantine facility.

Zubin Saxena, managing director and vice-president, Operations, South Asia, Radisson Hotel Group, says along with their partners his company has collectively reaching out to some 20,000 beneficiaries per day with food and food supplies.

The strident support from the hotels comes at a time when the industry is itself caught off guard with a sharp dip in both in-bound traffic from foreign markets, reduced domestic traction as well as a total shut-down of MICE (meetings, incentives conferences and exhibitions) business that has led the country top players by market cap to lose over half their value in just a little over a month.

Photograph: Kham/Reuters

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Pavan Lall in Mumbai
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