VISION HOSPITALITY GROUP is one of the largest Asian American-owned hotel companies in the U.S., but it still has felt the pain caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and concurrent economic downturn. The company’s President and CEO Mitch Patel has felt it personally.
He had to furlough 1,100 of his 1,500 employees, according to CNN.com
“That’s really broken my heart,” Patel told the news station. “Every day I get up and I think about ‘how can I bring my people back?'”
However, the company also has kept up what support it can for the furloughed employees. That includes care packages during the Easter weekend.
“These care packages are made up of items that are currently difficult to obtain during these trying times such as non-perishable food items, paper products, and even items for Easter baskets in an effort to ensure every associate has an enjoyable holiday,” the company said in a statement.
Some of the company’s hotels also have continued outreach to their local communities, too. The Hilton Garden Inn Chattanooga/Downtown employees cooked, packaged and delivered breakfast to the staff at a local hospital. The DoubleTree Chattanooga/Downtown collected and donated food to a local food bank. The hotels set up a “grocery store” for furloughed associates to provide food, including packed lunches for the children.
Vision Hospitality’s Atlanta hotels have hosted Army National Guard soldiers and hospital staff assisting in the fight against COVID-19. The Guard awarded the employees there medals for their efforts.
“This is an unprecedented time in our lives, and I believe the American spirit will prevail,” Patel said. “One thing is certain is that this time will pass and because of our strong commitment to our people and our values we will thrive once again.”
Other hotel companies also have offered rooms to emergency responders, including OYO Hotels and Homes which also formed the OYO Welfare Fund to help its employees who have been impacted by the pandemic.
Marriott International has formed two initiatives to help emergency healthcare workers. Its Rooms for Responders initiative, launched in cooperation with American Express and JPMorgan Chase, provides $10 million in hotel stays for the healthcare workers in U.S. cities hit hardest by the outbreak, including New York, New Orleans and Los Angeles.
In the company’s Community Caregiver Program, hotel owners and franchisees are providing deeply discounted rooms to medical personnel who are staying near the hospitals where they work. That program includes almost 2,500 hotels in the U.S., Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America.
“With both initiatives, our goal is simple – we want to support the frontline heroes who are selflessly supporting us,” said Arne Sorenson, Marriott’s president and CEO.