As soon as July 2020, guests will have free access to medical teleconsultations. They will also get access to AXA’s medical networks with tens of thousands of vetted medical professionals.

This programme is included in the enhanced health and prevention protocols that Accor has put in place notably through its ALLSAFE Cleanliness label in anticipation of the reopening of its hotels across different regions. 

“In an increasingly complex environment, our 300.000 team members on the ground will be able to assist our guests and ensure their safety during their stays, turning our hotels into shelters,” said Accor CEO Sébastien Bazin.

Marriott International has acknowledged that the COVID-19 pandemic is having “a more severe and sustained financial impact on Marriott’s business than 9/11 and the 2008 financial crisis combined”.

In a 27 May communique to its global workforce, the world’s largest hotel operator revealed it would need to implement additional measures in light of the increasing likelihood that it will be some time before lodging demand and RevPAR levels recover.

Specifically, the company informed above-property associates in the US that furloughs and reduced work week schedules which began in April will be extended through October. Marriott is also rolling out a voluntary transition program for on-property and above-property associates US who may choose to leave the company to pursue other opportunities. Similar voluntary programs are being considered in other parts of the world.

Given an expectation that prior levels of business will not return until beyond 2021, the company predicted a significant number of redundancies later this year, but was unwilling to predict exact numbers.

A new report from GlobalData has predicted a surge in M&A activity over the coming months, with smaller hotel companies having no choice but to combine with their larger counterparts in order to survive post-COVID-19 and creating a more consolidated industry in the process

“COVID-19 and its seismic impact on hotel revenues and occupancy rates are almost certain to present investment opportunities for major players as the pandemic progresses and most definitely when it is over,” said Ralph Hollister, a GlobalData travel and tourism analyst.

“In the short-term, travellers will initially stick to what they know best, they will likely become more sensitive towards factors such as hygiene and will want familiarity. Bigger brands will be more likely to convince consumers that they can offer this over independent hotels.

In the UK, Hilton has partnered with social enterprise Open Kitchens, enabling the initiative to double its output and provide 50,000 more free meals a month to those in need.

Open Kitchens had previously been forced to turn down huge quantities of food due to lack of storage capacity. Hilton’s high-capacity hotel kitchens, which usually cater for large-scale conferences and events, have been transformed into regional “Kitchen Hubs”, accepting deliveries of up to 10 tonnes of surplus food per week.

These hubs, situated at Hilton Birmingham Metropole, Hilton London Metropole, Hilton East Midlands Airport, Hilton Nottingham and Hampton by Hilton Sheffield, will store food before it is delivered to local restaurants for preparation and distribution.

In addition, Hilton London Metropole, its largest UK property, will serve as a community kitchen. The hotel’s chefs will prepare 1,000 meals a week to be distributed via The Felix Project to people in need including the homeless, children who rely on free school meals, the elderly and those living in isolation, with ambitions for more community kitchens in Hilton hotels to be added in the coming weeks.

The WTTC has launched the world’s first ever global safety and hygiene stamp.

The specially designed stamp will allow travellers to recognise governments and businesses around the world which have adopted health and hygiene global standardised protocols – so consumers can experience “Safe Travels”.

Eligible businesses, including hotels, will be able to use the stamp once the health and hygiene protocols, outlined by WTTC, have been implemented. Destinations will also help to award the stamp of approval to local suppliers.

The launch of global protocols to recover the Travel & Tourism sector have been embraced by over 200 CEO’s including some of the world’s major tourism groups.

“Now travellers will be able to recognise the businesses and destinations worldwide which have adopted the new set of global protocols that will encourage the return of ‘Safe Travels’ around the world,” said WTTC president Gloria Guevara. “It will, in turn, help the travel and tourism sector to reopen for business and move in a coordinated approach.”