• Putting to Use 'Hotels for Hope'

     
    POSTED March 26, 2020
     

As the spread of the novel coronavirus continues to put immense pressure on the U.S. health care system and the people who keep it running, the American Hotel and Lodging Association is working to connect hotels with health workers who are struggling to find housing.

Announced in a March 24 press release, the Hotels for Hope initiative, working with AHLA partner state associations nationwide, "has identified over 6,500 properties nationwide located in close proximity to established healthcare facilities that are at the ready to assist government efforts and work with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), in coordination with the U.S. Army CORPS of Engineers and local emergency management and public health agencies to provide access to hotel properties to support the health community and our nation’s first responders who may be in need of temporary housing during this crucial time.”

The association is working to create a Hotels for Hope database that will operate nationally and locally through state-level associations, enabling public officials to search for participating hotels based on where they are, according to the release.

Chip Rogers, president and CEO of the American Hotel and Lodging Association, said in the release the effort makes sense because hotels have always been active members of their local communities. “As an industry of people taking care of people, the hotel industry is uniquely positioned to support and help strengthen our communities and first responders who are on the frontlines dealing with this ongoing public health crisis.”

Per the release, hotels interested in joining the initiative can volunteer here. Examples of hotels partnering with local and state officials in communities are being reported in Chicago and California, and more efforts are expected in the coming days and weeks, including New York City and Texas.

After almost 20 years of vacancy, the Cook County Hospital in Chicago will be put to use once again. A $150 million adaptive reuse project restored the historic, 106-year-old hospital, which has become a combined Hyatt Place and Hyatt House hotel, as well as medical offices, a museum, a food hall and more. While the opening is multi-phased, the hotels are scheduled to open in late July.  

 

Jumpstarting tourism in cities across the country will be more complicated than simply opening doors again – especially in cities with large populations like Chicago. However, working together proves more effective, and in Chicago, more than 250 businesses are banding together to join Choose Chicago’s new initiative, Tourism & Hospitality Forward. It bolsters a safe reopening that encourages tourism as well as meetings and events in

 

Due to COVID-19, non-essential travel was, or has been, banned for months. Long anticipated trips and in-person gatherings were canceled and people have adjusted to the new normal: staying at home and meeting over Zoom. However, states have been slowly lifting restrictions, and non-essential travel will soon be happening across the country again. However, some may not be as comfortable with the thought of traveling as they were before the pandemic.