No doubt — we are living through unchartered travel(less) territory these days. For those of us with itchy travel feet, not only are we grounded, but we are unsure just when we CAN travel again. And then the other question remains, what will happen to some of our favorite hotels? Will they financially survive the halt on travel and can we help? Yes, we can help! Here are ways to support hotels today and plan for future travel — from purchasing gift cards to booking hotel stays now for dates in the future.
Raise your hand (or better yet comment below) if you’ve had to cancel upcoming travels including hotel reservations? No fun, right? While we all stay-at-home and practice physical social distancing, most of our readers (and us!) can’t wait to get back out there and explore the world. We reached out to our friends within the hotel community to ask “how can we help and plan for future travel?”
To follow are the hotel’s creative responses including virtual hotel travel, order take-out, purchasing hotel gift cards, booking now with travel flexibility, and offering long term accommodations to healthcare and government workers.
Virtually Connect with Hotels From Home Today
Hotels are joining the “virtual travel” trend, by offering online escapes to grounded travelers.
For those seeking an escape from the comfort of their homes, Massanutten Resort launched a new social media series of 15-20 segment guided virtual video experiences. These videos are led by its talented staff every weekday afternoon and activities include yoga, cardio exercises, crafts, and cooking for all ages. Find a complete look at all of the videos in the series thus far at MassResort.com/MassanuttenMoment.
Ready for breathtaking sunsets, oceanfront views, and more? Velas Resorts (Puerto Vallarta, Riviera Nayarit, Los Cabos), Velas Resorts’ Instagram (@velasresorts) posts daily stories featuring at-home activities, including crafts, wellness tips, food and drink recipes, and more from the brand’s new #BetterTogether online program.
Available on their magazine’s website, content from the #BetterTogether program ranges from how to make easy crab tostadas, create soothing mandalas, enjoy yoga with your baby, learn about the origin of chocolate in Mexico, tips for tequila and mezcal, and more.
Along with recipes of your favorite food and drinks at the resorts, Velas’ 25 world-class chefs are available to share recipes based on ingredients already in your kitchen. Read more about the What’s In Your Pantry? activity and submit your own ingredients here.
- Its virtual music program includes performances from world-renowned talents such as tenor Matthew Polenzani and violinist Sylvia Volpe of the Metropolitan Opera, bringing comfort to millions while also benefiting musicians.
- The team at Monteverdi is releasing at-home treatments curated by Sara Trabalzini, manager of the award-winning Spa at Monteverdi, including easy-to-make Homemade Body Scrubs, made with ingredients you likely have in your home.
- In A Taste of Tuscany, Monteverdi Executive Chef Giancarla Bodoni will be sharing simple, easy-to-follow recipes that are popular at Monteverdi and signature to the region. is set to debut next week.
Order Take-Out from Hotel Restaurants
While many of the hotel restaurants are closed for dine-in, consider supporting the hotel and its staff by ordering take-out and/or room service. And in some cases, your order will also benefit area charities.
While many employees were furloughed, the Epicurean Hotel kept on some staff by creating curbside “Gourmet Market to Go,” providing meats, vegetables, dairy and pantry selections. For Easter, the hotel added meal pick up, which included egg dying kits, benefiting Feeding Tampa Bay. In addition, the Epicurean worked with the Johnny Damon Foundation to deliver 300 meals to area healthcare providers. And, the hotel provides drastically reduced rates for staff from Tampa General Hospital as they work tirelessly to control this pandemic.
Sage Restaurant Concepts, with restaurants in hotels all over the country, including Denver’s Kachina Cantina at The Maven Hotel and Urban Farmer at The Oxford Hotel, created the new Keep Calm and Carry Out program. Open to any restaurant with more than 50 already signed up (restaurants in Colorado, Chicago, Nashville, Atlanta and more), participating restaurants pledge to donate $1 to Feeding America with every takeout order. This organizing helps local food banks responding to COVID-19.
Buy Gift Cards for Future Stays
When purchasing gift cards, many hotels are offering value incentives, such as dining credits. While others are donating a portion of proceeds to their furloughed staff.
Migis Hotel Group’s Director of Operations Phil Kronenthal says “We are asking consumers to buy gift cards and offering incentives for them to do so. One such example is Maine’s Higgins Beach Inn, offering a $20 voucher with every $100 gift card purchase. Consumers can help ensure that we can continue our stewardship of this historic property dating back to 1922 and re-open for the summer season.”
Greenwich Hospitality Group’s Founder & CEO Charles Mallory says, “DELAMAR hotels are donating 50% of all purchased gift certificates to our employees. Also please support the GoFundMe pages set up to help hospitality workers.
Travel Flexibility: Book Your Summer and Fall Vacations Now
Most hotels have created more lenient cancellation policies. Many hotels are waiving change and cancellation fees, so your reservation will have little to no risk. And the best part is that you have a tangible reservation to look forward to and plan.
Hyatt Hotels are waiving change and cancellation fees through June 30, 2020, adjusting their policies to allow future travelers flexibility for reservations made through Hyatt directly. Many of the major hotel brands (including Hilton, Marriott, Disney Resorts and more) are also offering travel flexibility with the ability to cancel and reschedule reservations without penalty. The following is the guidelines for the majority of these brands:
- Change or cancel at no charge up to 24 hours before scheduled arrival for existing reservations (booked April 1 or before) for arrivals through June 30, 2020.
- For new reservations booked between April 2 and June 30 (for any future arrival date), travelers can also change and cancel 24 hours before scheduled arrival.
Before making any decision, be sure to click through to the website to confirm the updated rules for your specific hotel reservation.
Located on Grace Bay Beach in Providenciales, Turks & Caicos, Seven Stars Resort & Spa is another hotel offering flexibility for new reservations. Plan for your beach vacation with thir new, 24-hour cancellation policy for any reservations made between now and May 31 for travel in 2020.
Harbor Hotel Collection’s CEO David Hart says, “We ask that travelers have faith that the government will take the appropriate actions, allowing America to open for business again sometime this summer. This is the peak season for many hotels. Please make your summer reservations now, given that there is no risk due to flexible cancellation policies. Make plans to travel domestically and take short stay-cations within driving distance. Given that group business will be later to return, the recovery of the hotel industry will rely on individual travelers. Please fill up our reservation pipeline with advance bookings so that we can feel confident that our valued guests will soon fill our rooms again.”
Read Hotel-Scoop writer Susan McKee’s scoop on these New York Harbor Hotel Collections: 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel, Chautauqua Harbor Hotel, Lakeside, in Celoron, NY, and Watkins Glen Hotel in NY Finger Lakes.
Supporting Healthcare and Government Workers
Located in Mexico’s Riviera Nayarit, Casa de Mita’s doors might be closed to the public during the COVID-19 pandemic, but their hospitality continues to extend to their hotel employees and their community. Currently, their kitchen is open only to serve the essential hotel employees and to donate AND furnish meals for both patients and employees for the Punta Mita Hospital!
Greenwich Hospitality Group’s Founder & CEO Charles Mallory says “Some of our hotels, such as DELAMAR in Southport, CT, offer suites with kitchens for long-term stays. We want guests to know that we’re taking every precaution to keep them safe and that our hotels can provide a safe haven during this difficult time, especially for government and healthcare professionals that need to be in the area.”
Demonstrating its gratitude for the heroes of the Coronavirus crisis, the Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin has set aside a block of more than 1,000 overnight stays for Berlin’s healthcare workers to use as soon as the crisis abates and the restrictions on hotel accommodations are relaxed. Through March 2021, doctors, nurses and other frontline healthcare practitioners can spend a night free of charge in Berlin’s most iconic hotel; and the stay will be entirely dedicated to the relaxation and pampering of stressed helpers. Under the keyword “Heroes in Health Care,” overnight stays can be requested at
firstname.lastname@example.org and reserved according to agreement and availability.
Coming together as one nation, the following Jamaican properties join the collective fight to keep the country safe and healthy.
- RIU Hotels in Jamaica are giving donations of food to Fresh Bread Ministries International, a locally and Internationally mission-based church with headquarters in Montego Bay.
- Located in St. Elizabeth, Jakes Treasure Beach is the first local hotel to offer its 65 rooms for quarantine or isolation purposes for COVID-19 patients, allowing the Ministry of Health & Wellness access to its entire property. This includes hotel rooms and villa accommodation, a gesture owner Jason Henzell said was the “right thing to do.”
- Sandals Resorts International (SRI) offered the Government the Carlisle Inn, a 52-room hotel in Montego Bay, to be used as an incubation center. SRI also helped to finance 40 ventilators at a cost of $20 million JMD to be used to treat COVID-19 patients. Sandals also decided against laying off its permanent workers, opting to pay 40% of their basic salary and retain benefits such as health insurance and paid vacation despite the temporary closure of all its resorts in the Caribbean.
- While the family-owned and operated Bluefields Bay Villas’ doors are closed during this time, the owners decided to forgo their own salaries. Instead they committed to covering health insurance for all employees, providing a weekly $2,000 stipend for any team members who are 55 years and older, and offering complimentary lunch for those in need, seven days a week.
- In collaboration with Jamaica-based Hanover Charities, Round Hill Hotel and Villas is accepting donations for the resort to gather funds to assist staff during this difficult time. Hanover Charities is a mission-based organization focused on initiatives to improve the health, welfare, and education of Hanover Parish in northwest corner of Jamaica. Anyone wishing to donate can visit the Hanover Charities page to donate toward the relief fund for Round Hill employees.
Do you have a story to share about your favorite hotel or resort and how they are connecting with their guests and/or supporting their community? We’d love to hear about it! Please share in the comments below!