HNN Highlights: Hoteliers adapt and give amid adversity
HNN Highlights: Hoteliers adapt and give amid adversity
20 APRIL 2020 8:22 AM

Hotel News Now editors recap and relay news from across the global hotel industry, with a focus on positive, hopeful and helpful stories our readers might have missed.

GLOBAL REPORT—Hoteliers continue to give in the face of adversity and adapt to less-than-ideal circumstances to accomplish what they can.

This week’s top highlights include hoteliers finding ways to woo future business via virtual tours, more than 100 hotels donating rooms in the U.K., and the Easter Bunny making a special visit in Nashville, Tennessee.

Hotel project management firm 10 or More has launched an online initiative in which hotels and chains can donate rooms to the United Kingdom’s National Health Service workers and other frontline staff in the battle against COVID-19. At press time, more than 100 hotels or firms had taken up the call to provide weekend breaks.

Some hotels are open now, albeit in a lessened state, to give stressed, worried and tired staff a break. Others will offer their donation when travel returns to some degree of normalcy. Those responding include independent hotels and hotels that are part of major chains.

The NHS has been rightly praised in the U.K., with Prime Minister Boris Johnson saying it had saved his life following his serious bout of coronavirus that required him being in intensive care for several days.

See more on the scheme’s Facebook page or via its Twitter hashtag #hotelsthankthenhs.

—Terence Baker

Virtual meetings are the norm these days, and one hotel is using this approach to attract and book future group business while the hotel is temporarily closed to guests.

The Hotel at the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland, recently launched virtual tours of its meetings and event space to clients. Jeff Brainard, VP of sales and marketing at Southern Management Corporation, which manages the hotel, said virtual tours were needed to show off the hotel’s 4,300 square feet of meetings and event space.

This allows clients to get comfortable with the space and provides a more personal experience, he said.

The hotel hosted its first three site tours for wedding inspections early last week, and Brainard said the parties were happy with the experience and the space.

Check out HNN’s Independent Insights newsletter on Wednesday to hear how The Hotel at the University of Maryland and other hotels have shifted social media messaging in the current environment.

—Danielle Hess

At a time when many hotel kitchens sit idle, The Hotel at Auburn University, in Auburn, Alabama, has baked up a new revenue source that also serves a need in its community (and around the world): to express gratitude, compassion and kindness.

The hotel’s pastry chef, Dallas Kee, has been baking “Acts of Kindness” cakes since early April, and to date has sold more than 100 (in two varieties: strawberry basil and Nutella lavender), according to a news release.

“Acts of Kindness” cakes created by The Hotel at Auburn University’s pastry chef sell for $18, serve six, are available for order online at, and can be picked up curbside at the hotel. (Photo: The Hotel at Auburn University)

“The idea behind the ‘Acts of Kindness’ cakes was to help spread a little joy during a difficult time,” Hans van der Reijden, managing director at the hotel, said in the release.

“We wanted people to think of someone who has helped them recently—whether that’s a friend who provided dinner, a neighbor who cut grass or the doctor who treated a loved one—and offer them an ‘Acts of Kindness’ cake as a way to show gratitude.”

Click here to read about other delicious ways in which hotels are adapting their food-and-beverage outlets and utilizing them for good.

—Robert McCune

We hear a lot that “we’re all in this together,” but I’m not sure I fully realized how true that simple statement is until this week. A perfect example, from a city that’s close to our hearts at Hotel News Now, was Easter Sunday at the Hermitage Hotel in Nashville. A staffer dressed like the Easter Bunny helped with curbside Easter meal pickups as the rain poured down in Music City. At one point—shown here in a post from the hotel’s Instagram page—a city bus driver stopped outside the hotel, opened his bus door and belted out “My Girl” while the bunny swayed along.

—Stephanie Ricca

Just weeks ago, the hotel industry saw a critical shortage of talented tech workers, and it is not a huge stretch to think there will be a similar circumstance in the relatively near future following the depths of the current crisis. It will make retaining as much of the IT labor pool as possible even more of a challenge. Hospitality Technology Next Generation’s new Career Center, however, is helping boost that.

The industry group billed the new tool as offering “a wide range of helpful career and recruiting resources.”

—Sean McCracken

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