COVID-19 impact roundup: How Hilton is setting a positive example
A true industry leader, Hilton models how global hospitality groups can respond in times of crisis. (Photo: Hilton)
Although the coronavirus crisis has hit Hilton hard, the company is optimistic and focusing its efforts on supporting stakeholders at this time.
As the COVID-19 crisis continues to unfold, international hotel groups like Hilton are finding more ways to support their staff, local communities and healthcare workers.
But, of course, Hilton also faces immense losses due to travel restrictions and, in some cases, forced hotel shutdowns.
We find out more about how this hotel giant is weathering the storm.
COVID-19 impact on Hilton
After a strong start to 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic and its devastating impact on the hospitality and tourism industry quickly caught up to Hilton. With many hotels around the world temporarily closed or operating reduced services due to the plunge in occupancy, the group’s revenue has plummeted across all markets.
However, with first improvements being seen in China, the company’s CEO remains positive. “As a 100-year company that takes the long view, we are confident in our resilient business model, the performance of our leading brand portfolio, and our ability to respond appropriately to market conditions,” Christopher J. Nassetta, President and CEO of Hilton said in a recent press release.
Mitigation measures taken by Hilton
To mitigate the situation and maintain liquidity, Hilton has taken drastic measures. This includes the CEO forgoing his salary for the remainder of 2020 and the executive committee taking a 50% pay cut for as long as the crisis will last. Corporate team members will be working reduced hours or will be furloughed. During this time, they will keep their health benefits and may be eligible for unemployment benefits, depending on their place of residence.
Non-essential expenses such as travel, or capital expenditures are suspended and new share buybacks, as well as dividend payouts, are on hold.
Supporting staff in hard times
Due to many Hilton properties temporarily closing their doors, the company has been forced to furlough many of its employees. To support them, Hilton has set up the Hilton Workforce Resource Center where team members in the United States get direct access to over 500,000 temporary jobs with companies like Amazon, CVS and Walgreens. More businesses and jobs are added regularly.
The Team Member Assistance Fund was set up to further support staff who are directly impacted by COVID-19 or have a family member who suffered from it. This effort is funded by donations of points, which are then converted to cash, or direct cash donations.
Standing by our healthcare workers
Apart from doing its best to support its staff, Hilton has also offered frontline healthcare workers support around the world. Most recently, Hilton announced it would provide up to a million free room nights to medical workers fighting COVID-19.
To ensure workers get easy access to these rooms, Hilton is working with 10 associations who represent healthcare workers who would otherwise have to pay for these rooms out of their own pockets.
“During this crisis, we have seen so many examples of medical professionals working in the most challenging circumstances, sacrificing their own needs for the greater good. They truly are heroes,” said Hilton President and CEO, Christopher J. Nassetta in a recent media release. “We are honoured to extend our Hilton hospitality to them during this difficult time.”
But it doesn’t end with free or reduced-rate rooms. Hilton staff have been taking the extra step to make healthcare workers’ lives a little brighter in this gloomy time, like the Hilton London Paddington, for example, which sent Easter eggs to all their medical worker guests.
Supporting local communities
Hilton’s support also extends to local communities. Here are some great examples.
The Hilton Pune Chinchwad distributes food to workers on the frontline and neighbours in need. At the Downtown Embassy Suites in Knoxville, Tennessee, the valet lane was converted into a drive-through food pick-up station for service workers from local hotels, restaurants and bars who had been recently laid off. Finally, the Hilton Bournemouth donated its food supply to local care homes when it suspended operations.
Several more of Hilton’s initiatives are listed here.
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