COVID-19 Hotel Heroes for staff welfare
In terms of staff layoffs and furloughs, the accommodation sector was perhaps one of the hardest hit during the pandemic. In June 2020, 94% of Travelife hotels reported in a survey that they were closed and some of them were not able to reopen until as recently as spring 2022. As time went on it became more difficult for properties to support their staff so that many hospitality workers were left without work and very little prospect of finding alternative income, particularly in destinations that are highly reliant on tourism.
We were proud to hear that so many Travelife Certified properties were doing all that they could to support staff, their families and their communities during the pandemic. 89% of them told us that they provided support for their employees that went above the legal minimum with the most common examples including topping up government schemes so that staff were able to keep 100% of their salary, wage advances and interest free loans.
Those staff that remained employed were often given flexible working arrangements to accommodate lockdowns and caring for family members who were sick with COVID-19. Some properties set up, or supported, funds that provided financial aid to staff families who needed assistance with healthcare of living costs because of the pandemic.
Below are just a few examples of the Travelife hotel heroes for supporting their staff during the pandemic.
Tiger Mountain Lodge Pokhara, Nepal
COVID-19 forced the property to shut down, yet they still continued to provide full pay for 6-months in order to support the community. Towards the end of that period the staff themselves, concerned with the long-term outlook, volunteered to take a pay cut. Discussions were held involving all employees when a better solution was agreed whereby 50% of pay would be provided upfront, with the remaining 50% deferred to when guests returned. Tiger Mountain Pokhara Lodge has managed to continue providing full medical cover throughout the pandemic and supported a COVID-19 vaccination programme.
Legian Beach Hotel, Indonesia
With almost 80% of the Bali economy relying on tourism, the pandemic hit this beautiful Indonesian island especially hard, resulting in wide-spread layoffs. Realising the strain this would put their staff under, Legian Beach Hotel worked quickly to find win-win solutions to support staff wherever they could through the pandemic. Discussions were held with employees and their union, and a solution was reached that would keep employees on payroll , even though this has meant running at a loss for more than 19-months. In addition to keeping the hotel open, this extended quiet period enabled the property to focus on staff training and to work with staff to find ways for improving the guest experience.
TUI SENSATORI RESORT BARUT FETHİYE, Turkey
This resort understands that the well-being of their own staff directly impacts the general well-being of the community. For this reason they put measures in place to support staff that were facing difficulties because of the pandemic, such as quickly taking advantage of government support programmes so that the most employees possible could benefit from these, providing food aid to seasonal staff and setting up a financial support fund for employees facing extreme hardship, including healthcare support that extended to family members.