HNN Highlights: Fundraisers, playlists and cat rescues
HNN Highlights: Fundraisers, playlists and cat rescues
01 JUNE 2020 8:37 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—While hoteliers are still working through their plans on how reopen and bring in business safely, they’re also continuing to find ways to help their local communities and provide some amusement to would-be guests.

I love seeing the different ways people are using their own skills and talents to help their friends, colleagues and industry during this pandemic. This week I learned about Eric Strand, SVP and COO at Drury Hotels, who recently completed the 237-mile Katy Trail in Missouri as a fundraiser for the Above and Beyond Foundation’s Helping Hospitality Urgent Aid Grant Program. The program awards Visa gift cards to frontline hospitality workers “who have gone above and beyond but have lost their jobs due to the pandemic,” according to the website.

Strand (follow him on Twitter @MyLeadFeet) ran 245.1 miles in 3 days for a supported fastest known time for the trail. In the process, he raised a whopping $40,390 and counting for the grant program.

Well done, Eric, on an inspiring project that will help so many people. I think you and Terry Baker should get together for a chat.

—Stephanie Ricca

Perhaps spare a thought for those hoteliers still working in their hotels—some of which are doing valuable work hosting hospital and emergency staff.

Accor brand Fairmont Hotels & Resorts has, and it decided to make a series of fun videos of staff alone in their properties under the title of “The Art of Waiting,” which includes “The Housekeeper,” “The Bellhop” and “The Chef.” The videos are racking up huge click counts and keeping hotels such as the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise in Canada front and center of guests’ minds.

See them all at: 

Music is one of the big success stories of this pandemic, with lockdown employees and everyone else seeking solace in been transported by beautiful sound, and hotels have realized that music also can conjure up and project images and experiences, notably past hotel stays, and even those yet to come.

Here I offer you a special lockdown, hotel-related playlist of 20 top tunes. Enjoy!

—Terence Baker

Three hotels in Bloomington, Indiana are stepping up to offer housing for students when Indiana University classes resume. Hyatt Place Bloomington, SpringHill Suites Bloomington and the Graduate Bloomington will be available as housing options for students during the 2020-2021 school year, the Indiana Daily Student reports. Only the Hyatt Place Bloomington shared its semester rate on the record with the student news site: $6,000 for a one-room bed and $7,800 for a room with two beds.

“This is really just another alternative that’s available to students in addition to the other housing opportunities available in Bloomington,” said Mike Banas, director of communication for White Lodging, Hyatt Place’s management company. “We’d love to offer a safe and comfortable place to stay.”

All three hotels will offer meal plan options to resident students and keep the properties clean and sanitized regularly. Floorplans for housing students vary by property.

“The goal would be to have all the students on one floor, knowing that there would be a better control for quiet time, study time, things of that nature,” said Kirby Brown, GM of Hyatt Place Bloomington.

—Dan Kubacki

In this week’s highlight, I am talking about hotel cats … again.

In my daily Instagram search for hotels with cats, I came across Eden Cottages, which is a boutique hotel located on Gili Trawangan island in Indonesia.

Eden Cottages posts many cute cat photos on its Instagram feed, but the hotel also is associated with the Cats of Gili Foundation and houses rescue cats on property.

You can find out more about the foundation here and see an island cat from the hotel’s Instagram below.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Eden Cottages (@edencottages) on

—Danielle Hess

Memorial Day Weekend in the U.S. is usually time to gather with friends and family to kick off the start of summer, and for seasonal hotels, it’s a time for reopening their properties. Traditional celebrations weren’t much of an option this year due to the pandemic, but The Surf Lodge—Montauk, New York’s hotel/musical venue—decided against letting the weekend go to wasteThe Surf Lodge Founder Jayma Cardoso and her team partnered with the Governors Ball group and Bumble to put together an online concert with headliners such as Snoop Dogg, Vogue reports. The Surf Lodge plans to reopen to guests in July.

“For us, it's a big deal,” Cardoso told Vogue. “And I know that for our entire team, it's the light at the end of the tunnel.”

I love to see all the creative ways hoteliers are joining the public and their staff together for unforgettable moments during a challenging time.

—Dana Miller

It’s safe to say 2020 is not going according to anyone’s plans. The pandemic has thrown out the window so many things people hoped to do this year, including getting married. A luxury hotel in Boston, however, is offering couples a way to get married in a beautiful location while staying safe with a $1,000 “We Still Do” wedding package.

The Fairmont Copley Hotel will reopen 1 July and offer couples a place they can hold a small ceremony and invite up to 10 people with appropriate social distancing. The package includes a ceremony in one of the hotel’s ballrooms with exclusive access to additional ballrooms, the presidential suite, the Fairmont Gold Lounge and an outdoor roof deck (if available) for photos, a wedding cake, a sparkling toast and more. Couples would also receive a 10% discount on holding a reception in 2021.

Planning a wedding can be a lot of work, and it must be incredibly frustrating and disappointing for those who wanted to get married this spring or summer and had to rework, cancel or postpone their plans. While what this hotel is offering is not necessarily what couples originally had in mind, it’s certainly a great alternative that still lets couples tie the knot this year in style.

—Bryan Wroten

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