Other Ways UK Hotels Are Helping…..Claridge’s, Chelsea and Manchester FC Hotels, Best Western, St Pancras Hotels Group, Red Carnation and Others

Main Photo: Claridge’s, part of Maybourne Hotels, which closed for business March 24th

Date: March 2020

Locations: Global

Name: Claridge’s Chelsea and Manchester FCs, Best Western, St Pancras Hotels Group, Red Carnation, The Co-Op, ExCel and Others

No. of Keys: As many as it needs

Who’s Done What Thus Far: Best Western – 19th March 2020 The hotel brand says 15,000 rooms and more than 1,000 meeting spaces will be available to NHS staff, care workers, families, low-risk patients and over-70s to take the strain off hospital wards when the Covid-19 pandemic peaks.

“Since our offer to help at the weekend we have had an overwhelmingly positive response from our hotels,” said Andrew Denton, head of hotel services at Best Western Great Britain.

“Local hospitals, councils and local authorities have also been in touch directly asking for help and today we are re-purposing our technology and our call centre to manage the interest and the demand.

“We would love to plug our supply and support into the NHS system in a coordinated and organised manner.

He urged other hotel chains to join Best Western in pledging support.

April 1st: Claridge’s hotel in London’s Mayfair will host up to 40 key NHS workers from St Mary’s Hospital Paddington from this week. The five-red-AA-star, 197-bedroom luxury hotel will accommodate the workers from Friday (3 April) until further notice, with a view to rolling out the service to the Maybourne Group’s other hotels, the Connaught and the Berkeley, where necessary.

Claridge’s will be providing supper and breakfast as well as daily packed meals for more than 500 NHS workers and community support teams across London via Meal Force.

The teams across the three hotels have been asked to volunteer, with hotel amenities such as soaps, toothbrushes and shampoos already donated to good causes.

Paddy McKillen, co-owner of the Maybourne Hotel Group, said: “Just as it has in the past world wars, Claridge’s has a duty to step up and support the people of London. Teams from all our hotels have volunteered, and we are honoured to help and support the dedicated NHS workers at this critical time. We are forever in their debt.”

Almost 200 hotels have made more than 20,000 beds available around the UK for NHS staff and other vital workers, following a call from hospitality trade body UKHospitality.

Other Ways to Help: Nasdaq listed Trip.com Group, has announced that it will donate one million surgical masks to help combat the spread of COVID-19.

As of today, and led by the company’s co-founder and chairman, James Liang, the initiative has seen the delivery and allocation of surgical mask supplies to Japan, Korea, Canada, and France, among others.

Trip.com Group Chairman James Liang, said “Many ways, to join one journey. Many origins, to reach one destiny. Many friends, to form one family. Many endeavours, to win one victory. It is crucial at this moment in the global fight against the epidemic that all countries come together and support each other, to secure a victory for humanity.”

The move to donate masks is the latest in a series of actions taken by the online travel services provider to minimise impact and beat the epidemic.

As the situation continues to develop, the company has provided daily updates on travel restrictions via its platforms and extended the scope of its cancellation policies to include medical workers as well as those unable to travel due to restrictions and infection.

“We are faced with a great challenge, but amidst these hardships, we’ve learned that we are all part of a larger entity, and we’re all in this together. We are moved by Trip.com Group’s generosity in, of its own volition, extending its support,” said Canadian Ambassador to China Dominic Barton.

NHS staff will be able to stay at Millennium Hotel, Cheslea FC for free…Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich will cover cost. Roman Abramovich will accommodate NHS staff working in London hospitals at the Millennium Hotel on Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge stadium site as the club do their bit to help the response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Chelsea owner has decided the best way he and his club can assist is by providing rooms for medical staff, many of whom are working around the clock and might struggle to get home, particularly after late shifts. ‘It’s our time to give back’: football rallies to fight coronavirus depression.

Abramovich will cover the cost of the accommodation for a two-month period and will then see whether the arrangement needs to continue, based on the circumstances at the time. The medical staff will be those working in the hospitals of north-west London but that may extend to those in other districts.

Chelsea said: “The number of rooms utilised will depend on demand but potentially all the rooms in the Millennium Hotel could be given over for this purpose. No staff showing symptoms will use the hotel.

“Many of the medical staff will be working long shifts and may not be able to travel home or would otherwise have to make long commutes. Local accommodation helps maintain the health and well-being of these crucial personnel at this critical time. Millennium Hotels and Resorts, who manage the hotel, are supportive and assisting the club in providing this service to the NHS.”

Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs have also announced they are closing Hotel Football and the Stock Exchange Hotel, the two Manchester-based hotels they own, and offering the rooms there to the NHS for free in response to the the coronavirus pandemic.

A room at The Stock Exchange hotel, in Manchester, one of two properties owned by British footballer stars Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs that will open without charge for medical staff. Photo: The Stock Exchange

“We have been putting plans together for the past four weeks and have triggered various actions as things have developed,” said Neville. “A key consideration in our plans was to try and support the wider community and more specifically our local NHS hospitals. By offering both our hotels without cost to the health service we hope that this gives some support to the healthcare professionals in a time when they need it.”

However our continental cousins don’ t seem to be so generous! CR7, headed up by Cristiano Ronaldo seems to have offered similar, but then denied that it’s hotels will become makeshift coronavirus hospitals.

A report in Spanish daily newspaper Marca said Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo had said he will turn his CR7 brand into makeshift hospitals, which will be available free of charge. Ronaldo owns two CR7 hotels in Lisbon, Portugal and Funchal, Madeira.

The report said Ronaldo was going to cover the costs of medical staff and other workers, as well as medicines. But a spokesperson later told Dutch outlet RTL Nieuws: “”We are a hotel. We are not going to be a hospital.”

In London, three hotels based near Kings Cross Station are offering free stays to travellers stranded on journeys to or from Paris. The Megaro, The Gyle and The California hotels have confirmed to the UK’s Daily Telegraph newspaper that eligible travellers will be given a “safe haven” – with complimentary accommodation and hospitality where required.

Christian Kaberg, the Ops Director of St Pancras Hotels Group, the owners of the above three hotels and others has added what he is doing internally:

Meantime, couple of things we are doing for our team whilst we await PM final decision.
• Daily communications with all staff
• Prepared Landlord Letters for all staff, assisting them with negotiating rent free period
• Filling in forms with staff, worst case scenario
• Food and household products hand-out on a daily basis
• Maintaining Social Media activity
• Increased language training for all staff who are on courses
• Handing our Heppell’s books to staff for self study
• Cooking and Baking lessons for staff
• Reception training for House keepers
• Maintenance training for all staff
• Regular communications with suppliers (this has proved a life safer for our payroll)

Also in London, the owners of Georgian House Hotel in Pimlico are offering its rooms as temporary accommodation for staff with financial worries. Owner Serena von der Hyde said she has seen bookings plummet and cancellations soar: “Because we are having to shorten hours and therefore reduce the income of staff, [offering them the rooms free of charge] reduces the cost of living for them in a really simple way. Supporting one another is the best thing we can be doing right now.”

She continued: “We already have one member of staff who has confirmed they’d like to use one of our rooms, and three others in the pipeline.”

In the Lake District, The Ambleside Inn has stepped in to help one newlywed couple who were forced to cancel their Gran Canaria honeymoon because of the pandemic. Debra and Michael Tweedy had resolved to spend this week at home, but The Inn Collection Group offered them a complimentary break in the Lake District instead.

“These are tough times for everyone,” Richard Miller, its general manager, told Telegraph Travel. “But knowing we’ve been able to make a difference to people in a situation like this really does give you a lift.”

In Devon, the Cary Arms Hotel & Spa is offering cleaning supplies and support to vulnerable people in the nearby area. As well as reaching out to its “locals and neighbours”, the luxury property is providing a local cancer hospice with much-needed sterilising sprays – which it produces on-site in an aqueous ozone generator.

David Adams, general manager of the Cary Arms, told Telegraph Travel: “We are aware that we are quite a well-resourced operation and that others may be in more need than us. We have contacted all of our regular locals and close neighbours who are in the higher risk age group, making sure they are aware they can give us a call for support if they get stuck for anything.”

Meanwhile, in the South West and South Wales, Miles Morgan Travel is offering its customers assistance with shopping delivery. The company, which has 18 high street travel agents in the region, is inviting those in need to “get in touch”. In a video circulated on social media, owner Miles Morgan told customers: “If you don’t have local friends or local family that can call in with your shopping, please get in touch with us. We will get your shopping for you, and we’ll phone you every day or so just to check you’re alright.”

In Guernsey, staff at the Duke of Richmond Hotel are delivering hot meals to isolating people in the local area. “We delivered meals to seven neighbours yesterday and received heart-warming thanks from each and every one, as well as many offers of assistance from others in our community,” said general manager Gareth Byrne. “We hope to extend our no-contact daily dinner delivery service to dozens of immediate neighbours who need our help.”

Meanwhile, staff at London-based tour operator Experience Travel Group have offered support to vulnerable people in the local community. Co-founder Sam Clark said: “Staff have made contact with their neighbours at home to offer help with shopping, and they’ve volunteered to provide ‘meals on wheels’ to a local lunch club for the elderly that has had to close its doors. We have also circulated information as widely as we can about an online food bank scheme.”

The Co-op is to create 5,000 store-based jobs in a bid to provide employment for hospitality workers.
The Co-op is to create 5,000 store-based jobs in a bid to provide employment for hospitality workers who have lost their jobs amid the coronavirus crisis, the company announced.

The retail giant said it is simplifying its recruitment process so successful candidates can start work within days.

The supermarket chain said on Twitter they were “committed to supporting communities during this difficult time.”

Top chefs remain open in some way…Core by Clare Smyth, the two Michelin-starred restaurant has closed for service, but is continuing to bake bread. This will be given away for free, providing customers email ahead and is subject to availability.

Clapham favourite Bistro Union is to become a community store from Monday March 23 as owner Adam Byatt joins the legions of London restaurant owners trying to tackle the effects of the coronovirus pandemic.

From first thing Monday morning, Bistro Union will sell a choice of pre-prepared dishes, including Toad in the Hole and a Sunday roast of chicken with pigs in blankets, alongside fresh pasta, tomatoes, root vegetables, tinned fish, beans and chickpeas, dried fruits and pulses, tea and coffee and a choice of bakery goods, including cinnamon buns, bread and pastries. They will also sell dairy products too.

And in London, the magnificent job the owners and management of ExCel have done in transforming the city’s major exhibition centre into a hospital capable of taking upto 4,000 patients, in a matter of weeks.

UK Government Ministers have clashed with Travelodge hotel chain after it emerged it gave homeless families and key worker guests just two hours to leave after shutting about 360 (of 550) of it’s UK hotels at short notice to comply with coronavirus measures.

The chain, which is used by many councils to house homeless people, slipped letters under guests’ doors on Tuesday asking them to leave as soon as possible to allow it to temporarily close the hotels ‘‘until further notice” following the UK government’s extended coronavirus physical distancing guidelines issued on Monday night.

This triggered widespread chaos, with reports on social media of guests suddenly left with nowhere to live, receiving no advice on where they could move to, and local authority housing officers scrambling to find alternative accommodation for the homeless families who had been put up in the hotels.

Although the government’s guidance said hotels, hostels and B&Bs should close as part of measures introduced to tackle the spread of coronavirus, it exempted those accommodating homeless people or key workers such as NHS and care workers, which it said should remain open.

The homelessness minister, Luke Hall, wrote to hotel chains on Wednesday morning warning them as “a matter of urgency” not to close if it was hosting exempted residents.

THPT Comment: Hotels, as always show some real community spirit…if every hotel group, globally did similar where they are hospital staff nearby…wow! and maybe keep their chambermaids and kitchens on payroll to provide the quality hotel services all hospitals need so badly? Fantastic tips from Christian Kaberg above. Fab move Co-Op (retail supermarket chain). Can restaurants turn into food shops? Travelodge…use your brains please!

First SeenThe UK Guardian newspaper and The Daily Telegraph

The Hotel Property Team (THPT) is a small group of highly experienced business professionals. Between us, we provide a range of skills and experience which is directly relevant to those involved in the hotel property market.

For more information – Visit www.thpt.co.uk or email info@thpt.co.uk.