NEWS BRIEFS update April 28, 2019

One thousand B.C. rooms for the homeless

Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction.

VICTORIA — The province is working with the cities of Vancouver and Victoria to transition people living in encampments in Oppenheimer Park, Topaz Park and on Pandora Avenue into safe, temporary accommodations with wraparound supports to protect their health and safety in the overlapping COVID-19 and overdose crises.

Since March 2020, the province, in partnership with BC Housing and local municipalities, has worked to secure and operate 686 hotel and community centre accommodations in Vancouver and 324 hotel spaces in Victoria. This allows people from the encampments to safely physically distance, with access to important health, social and other supports.

“Providing safe, temporary accommodations and wraparound services for people facing homelessness has been an urgent priority for this government for a long time,” said Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “Now, more than ever, with the concurrent emergencies of the pandemic and the ongoing opioid crisis, it is time to implement long-term housing solutions that take care of and protect our most vulnerable people.”

Accor announces All Heartist Fund

Accor, which owns Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, Raffles Hotels and Resorts, Sofitel Hotels and Resorts, Novotel Hotels, Swissotel Hotels and others, announced a trading update and response to COVID-19 on April 8.

Today more than half Accor branded hotels worldwide are closed, likely over two thirds in the coming weeks. One piece of good news is the confirmation of initial recovery of the Chinese hotel market, with mild improvements in occupancy and F&B activity. 

In these unprecedented times, Accor stands more than ever by its employees, partners and communities, providing time, resources and access to its local and global network.

After consulting with the group’s main shareholders, Accor has decided to launch the  “ALL Heartist Fund,” a Covid-19 special purpose vehicle. 

This fund will typically assist:

  • The group’s 300,000 employees, pledging to pay for their COVID-19-related hospital expenses, for those who do not have social security or medical insurance,
  • On a case by case basis, furloughed employees suffering great financial distress,
  • On a case by case basis, individual partners facing financial difficulty,
  • In addition, the group will further deploy its solidarity initiatives to support front-line healthcare professionals and non-profit organizations.

This initiative reflects the ambition of the group and its shareholders to provide a meaningful and significant contribution to global solidarity initiatives to address the current health crisis while planning for future needs.

This decision has received unanimous support from the board members, who collectively decided to reduce their attendance fees by 20 per cent to the benefit of the “ALL Heartist Fund”. 

Additionally, Sebastien Bazin, chairman and CEO of Accor, will forego 25 per cent of his compensation during the crisis. The cash equivalent will also be contributed to the fund.

Best Western’s hotelier relief and guest support

David Kong, Best Western Hotels & Resorts.

PHOENIX, Ariz. — On April 13, Best Western Hotels & Resorts launched a support package designed to offer a helping hand to front line workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The package includes a discounted rate at participating BWHR-branded hotels, a custom loyalty offering for essential workers and expanded donation offerings supporting COVID-19 relief efforts. 

“Each and every day we see essential workers, from healthcare providers and first responders to transportation workers and infrastructure professionals, putting their own health at risk to lead the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic,” said David Kong, president and CEO for BWHR. “These front line workers are making tremendous sacrifices for the greater good. While no token of appreciation will ever be enough, we are proud to show our respect and gratitude by keeping our doors open in their time of need, extending a loyalty upgrade and supporting the relief efforts through donations.”

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, front line workers have emerged as heroes, selflessly fighting a daily battle to keep communities around the world safe and healthy. Many of these professionals need a safe place to sleep to help them continue the fight against COVID-19. BWHR has created a special rate plan that extends a discount of at least 10 per cent to essential workers at participating properties across North America. The rate plan is effective immediately and available for stay dates through June 30, 2020. Essential workers can select the rate plan when booking on www.bestwestern.com and will need to provide their work identification upon check in.

In addition to keeping its doors open to essential workers in their time of need, BWHR is offering a Best Western Rewards Elite status upgrade to those on the front lines. Eligible essential workers can visit www.bestwestern.com/frontlineheroes for their status upgrade. Elite BWR members can enjoy bonus points for every stay, exclusive promotional offers, and discounted rates at BWHR-branded hotels worldwide. 

To round out the relief package for front line workers, BWHR has made it easier than ever for its loyalty members to support essential workers. BWR members who donate their rewards points to BWHR’s charitable arm, Best Western for a Better World, or charitable partner, the Red Cross, will see their donations go directly to supporting COVID-19 relief efforts.

New cleanliness partnership for Hilton

Cleaning of Canopy Hilton Hotel, Friday, April 24, 2020 in Washington, DC. Photo by Will Newton

MCLEAN, Va. – On Monday, Hilton announced a new program to deliver an industry-defining standard of cleanliness and disinfection in Hilton properties around the world. In a first for the hospitality business, Hilton will collaborate with RB, maker of Lysol and Dettol, and consult with Mayo Clinic to develop elevated processes and team member training to help Hilton guests enjoy an even cleaner and safer stay from check-in to check-out. 

Hilton CleanStay with Lysol protection, as the program will be called in North America, will be a rigorous system that incorporates RB’s trusted know-how and scientific approach to cleaning practices and product offerings. Experts from Mayo Clinic’s Infection Prevention and Control team will advise and assist in enhancing Hilton’s cleaning and disinfection protocols. 

Hilton CleanStay will build upon the already high standards of housekeeping and hygiene at Hilton properties worldwide, where hospital-grade cleaning products and upgraded protocols are currently in use.  The goal of Hilton CleanStay is to provide guests with assurance and peace of mind when they stay at any of Hilton’s more than 6,100 properties representing 18 brands. The initiative will create a focus on cleanliness that will be visible to guests throughout their entire stay – in their guest rooms, restaurants, fitness rooms and in other public spaces. 

Hilton CleanStay was developed to meet evolving consumer expectations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Research indicates that consumers have heightened concerns regarding hygiene on their journey, and trust in cleanliness standards will be critical to restarting travel. 

“Our first priority has always been the safety of our guests and team members,” said Christopher J. Nassetta, Hilton president and CEO. “Hilton CleanStay builds on the best practices and protocols we’ve developed over the last several months, allowing our guests to rest easy with us and focus on enjoying the unforgettable experiences we have to offer – while protecting our Team Members who are on the front lines of hospitality.”

Marriott offers $1.5 billion in revolving credit

BETHESDA, Md. — On April 13, 2020, Marriott International, Inc. entered into a commitment letter providing for a 364-day senior unsecured revolving credit facility in an aggregate principal amount of $1.5 billion . The commitment letter provides that the available aggregate principal amount of the 364-day credit facility will generally be reduced by new debt issuances (including senior notes), equity issuances and asset sales, in each case subject to certain exceptions. The closing and funding of the 364-Day Credit Facility is contingent on the satisfaction of customary conditions, including the execution and delivery of definitive documentation in accordance with the terms sets forth in the commitment letter.