Though we face unprecedented times, hoteliers across the state have stepped up to help others.
When writing this article, we originally envisioned highlighting one or two of the remarkable actions hoteliers have taken to support their staff and their communities. However, after putting out a call for stories, we were inundated with tales about hoteliers lending a hand and quickly realized that helping others is the industry standard, not a special story. So, with that in mind, here are some of the ways that our industry standard has taken shape during this crisis.
Benbow Historic Inn
Though the Benbow Historic Inn closed to the public on March 22, about one third of their employees live on site at their sister property Benbow KOA. For the month of April, employees are able to pay reduced rents (approximately 80% less than current rates). Additionally, Benbow will most likely continue the program if they cannot open on May 1. To assist the community, the Inn has also donated over $5,000 of fresh foods to the Healy Senior Center for their Meals on Wheels program, in addition to providing food for local encampments.
Beverly Hills Hotel and Bungalows and Hotel Bel-Air
The Beverly Hills Hotel and Bungalows and Hotel Bel-Air came together to provide over 1,000 meals to first responders, medical professionals, and hospitality professionals affected by the coronavirus. Of those meals, 400 signature meals were provided to first responders and medical staff, another 400 were donated specifically to staff members at the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, and an additional 160 meals were made available for emergency room staff at St. Johns Hospital. In addition to their support for medical professionals, the hotels created 200 care packages which included soups, salads, and other food items which could feed a family for up to a week for anyone in the hospitality industry who has been laid off or is now living on reduced wages as a result of COVID-19. In addition to their current efforts, the hotels are also looking to donate an additional 400 meals to the Los Angeles’ Veterans Hospital.
Brewery Gulch Inn
As an inn in a remote section of the North Coast, access to food and supportive services can be limited. Recognizing this issue and the fact that many people are struggling with food security in these pressing times, Brewery Gulch Inn donated 250 lbs of food to the local food bank.
Donner Lake Inn B&B
The owners of the Donner Lake Inn B&B in Truckee are active in the community, running both the inn as well as working second jobs. With the B&B currently closed, Paul, who works as the Pharmacy Operations Manager for Post-Acute Medical Hospital in Sparks, Nevada and Mindy, Co-owner and sewing extraordinaire, wanted to help support medical staff stay safe in light of the current shortage of masks and equipment. So, they turned their breakfast table into a mask making assembly line. Gathering fabric from a number of sources, Mindy pulled out her sewing machine and started making mask covers for the local hospital staff. When elastic became unavailable, she became creative and used nylon from old knee highs or panty hose and continued to make the mask shields.
To help the many people feeling cooped up at home by coronavirus stay-at-home orders, DoubleTree by Hilton shared the official bake-at-home recipe for the brand’s famous chocolate chip cookie. Baked on land, sea, and even in space, DoubleTree has shared one of their closely guarded secrets to help people feel more at ease at home.
Evans Hotels—Creating Care Packages
Evans Hotels, which runs The Lodge at Torrey Pines, the Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa and the Bahia Resort Hotel have partnered with local vendors and farms to provide care packages for its team of over 400 employees. On a bi-weekly basis, the group is running a drive-through center at the Bahia where employees can pick up family packs of home necessities as well as groceries. Care packages consist of items such as farm-fresh eggs, rice, beans, fruits, vegetables, and toilet paper.
The Grande Colonial Hotel
Kim Avant, The Grande Colonial Hotel Director of Human Resources, started a program to allow managers to donate any unused paid time off to hourly staff. Donated hours are converted into immediate cash in hand for the recipient staff. Though the Grande Colonial is a relatively small property with only 15 managers, they have already received nearly $5,000 in converted PTO hours.
We recognize that this is just a snapshot of what our industry is doing to help others and cannot include every act of kindness from every hotelier. So, we are asking for your help. Fill in the this page for your wall or post on Facebook with the hashtag #calodgingcares and be sure to tag us. Be proud of what you have done and know that though times are tough, we will get through it together.