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The MICE (meeting, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions) and hospitality industries have been two of the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic this year. While 2020 began with optimism for all of us in the MICE and business travel industry, those expectations took a rather abrupt u-turn. And, unfortunately, the forecast has not improved.
In the darkness, however, our industry has provided some incredible examples of solidarity and social corporate responsibility (CSR). To shine a light on those helping support the fight against COVID-19, we aim to create an exhaustive list of MICE initiatives. We want to credit companies leading the charge on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR programs).
We’ve found the below initiatives, but if you know of other examples please send them to [email protected] so that we can continue to build this out and promote solidarity around the planet.
Convention Centres and Arenas: Not many countries have the ability to construct hospitals in a matter of days (hello, China), so these massive open plan buildings have proven to be a great alternative.
Hotels: Have been at the front of corporate social responsibility programs. Beds, cleaning facilities, and kitchens make hotels an ideal place to immediately house those in need.
Catering Companies: With no events to feed, these mobile kitchens have stepped up to use their expertise, supplies, and staff to efficiently provide urgent food solutions.T
Transportation: Bus and car companies, usually moving delegates around the city, have donated their vehicles to help safely transport health care workers.
Here is the full list of companies that have initiated inspiring CSR programs to help support the fight against the coronavirus.
Fira de Barcelona Gran Via: Hall 4 has been converted into a makeshift hospital, providing capacity for 300 patients (with the possibility of up to 700).
IFEMA Madrid: The city’s main convention centre planned to create space for 5,500 beds and up to 500 Intensive Care Units (ICU).
Fira de Barcelona Montjuic: Hall 7 has been set up to shelter the most vulnerable people in the city. According to their website, beds, showers, dining rooms, service areas and activity spaces will guarantee food, safety and hygiene. The centre has 450 beds which could be increased to 1,000. They’ve even set up a pet area for all the homeless people with dogs!
Gastrofira: The Fira de Barcelona’s internal catering department has cooked over 17,000 meals for hospitals and nursing homes throughout the region.
Cotton House, Barcelona: The first hotel in Catalunya to open its doors and provide rooms for the healthcare system. Provided training to staff and is equipped with catering, linens, and cleaning.
AC Victoria Suites: Will be available to the healthcare system in Barcelona to act as a distribution centre to receive material that has been bought or donated.
Centre de Convencions Internacional de Barcelona (CCIB) - With 11,000m2 of conference space and 3,000m2 of kitchen space, the CCIB has also become a main distribution hub where essential equipment such as masks, gloves, gowns and other protective kits are received then distributed.
Melià Sarrià, Barcelona: Re-opened to healthcare professionals on March 29th, with up to 307 rooms available in total.
Hotel Princess del Fòrum, Barcelona: The hotel has been made available to assist with patients from the Hospital del Mar. Hotel staff will continue to run reception and cleaning, while the healthcare staff will manage the patients.
Expo Hotel Barcelona: Rooms and beds made available for coronavirus patients experiencing mild symptoms in Barcelona
Amrey Sant Pau Hotel: Has also been converted to provide coronavirus care to patients with mild symptoms.
Pullman Barcelona Skipper: Beds and rooms made available for healthcare professionals.
Alimara Barcelona Hotel: Beds and rooms made available for healthcare professionals.
Ilunion Bel Art: Beds and rooms made available for healthcare professionals.
W Ibiza - Working with with Santa Eulalia Contigo and the City Hall, the hotel is using its kitchen and staff to help distribute food to 39 homes on the island.
Akommo: The Akommo team has been dedicating their time to a variety of non-profit organisations including the Professional Women’s Network, Amnesty International, and other local associations. We have also helped deliver goods to the elderly. We are extremely proud of Eileen, who bought a sewing machine and has been working with the Zig Zag Club in Barcelona to help make personal protective equipment (PPE) for front line workers.
The 02 Arena: To prepare and educate additional NHS staff, the 02 Arena has been made available as a training facility for healthcare professionals.
London’s ExCel Centre: One of London’s primary convention centres has been converted into a hospital to provide up to 4,000 (!!) beds, ventilators and oxygen.
National Exhibition Centre(NEC), Birmingham: Constructed in only 8 days the NEC has created additional facilities for 500 patients. It can be expanded to 2,000 if necessary.
Big hotel brands often make the news about the fight against covid19, but it’s important to highlight that many small hotels are also showing extraordinary solidarity, despite the economical crisis they are facing. For example, Hotel Le Val D'Or near Paris is cooking every day for the hospital, police and fire station staff and offering accommodation for healthcare professionals to rest.
Back in March, when the spread had just begun in Europe, employer organisations from hotel groups in France, such as Logis Hôtels, had already gathered more than 20,000 rooms (!) all across the country to provide accommodation for those in need.
We often hear about the needs of healthcare professionals and the homeless, but it is important to point out the truck and delivery drivers as well. They are tirelessly working to move goods and are also welcome to have some rest in a real bed in between deliveries. The demand for their work has drastically increased now that online purchases are the primary method of shopping.
The French government, along with hospitals, has launched an initiative where individuals can volunteer to fight against covid, even if they don’t have specific skills or medical degrees. We’ve seen some French event planners joining the programme as stretcher-bearers for instance.
Flemings Hotels: Providing free hotel rooms to doctors, nurses, police officers as well as volunteers within the healthcare field, fire department or technical aid organisations.
Clarion Congress Hotel Prague: Donated the food remaining in their storage to children’s residential homes across the city.
CPI Hotels: Has offered all of its closed properties to the government for people requiring coronavirus related assistance.
Vega Tour: The transfer company offered free transportation of food, shopping or other materials to social services.
The country has scouted over 800 facilities, the vast majority of which are arenas and conference centres including McCormick Place in Chicago, the Music Center in Nashville, and the Michigan Expo Center.
Marriott: In partnership with American Express and JP Morgan, have committed to providing $10 million worth of rooms to healthcare professionals in the hardest hit cities of New York City, New Orleans, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Washington, D.C. and Newark, N.J. The program is called“Rooms for Responders”.
Hilton Hotels and Resorts: Again, in partnership with American Express, Hilton “will make rooms available without charge to doctors, nurses, EMTs (Emergency Medical Technicians), paramedics and other frontline medical staff who need a place to sleep, recharge or isolate from their families through the end of May,” as a CSR initiative.
Four Seasons (New York): The first luxury hotel in the country to donate rooms to medical personnel, an inspiring social corporate responsibility decision.
Lyft and Uber: Two companies beloved by event planners running around the city for site visits, have so far collectively donated over $20,000 worth of free rides for those facing domestic violence, which has seen an unfortunate increase due to the stay at home orders.
Marco Polo Hotels: Their staff have produced 1,200 reusable masks.
It’s also worth noting that hotels around the world have been lighting up their buildings with images of hearts for the healthcare workers. This has been a beautiful and inspiring message of solidarity, offering support and thank you to the frontline workers.
For the entire MICE and hospitality industry, the coronavirus has created an economic catastrophe. For this reason, it is even more inspiring and impressive to watch organisations spend their precious resources and time to join the common fight against the virus.
We Are One - A global film festival that will feature content curated by the Berlin, Cannes, Sundance, Toronto, Tribeca and Venice film festivals, among others, starting on 29 May. It will be free on YouTube, but they will ask for donations for the WHO's solidarity fund for coronavirus.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, and we will continue to update it as new examples come in.