Hospitality Unites to Support Refugees

building with glowing sign saying hotel

The hospitality industry is well-known for its desire to support people, from guests to their local communities. At the beginning of the global pandemic, the sector quickly utilised its hospitality skills and networks – converting guestrooms into treatment facilities, supporting frontline workers, and donating supplies, food and time to local charitable organisations.

The recent crisis in Ukraine has been met with similar compassion. Accommodations across Europe, from international brands to small independent operators, have been opening their doors to support people escaping the conflict. Hotels have been providing housing to refugees, ensuring their colleagues are financially supported where operations have stopped, donating to charities to support their efforts, and finding employment for existing staff who have relocated and displaced people needing new jobs.

Further advancing the industry's ability to respond to the crisis, the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance has collaborated with its members, including Accor, Four Seasons, Hilton, IHG Hotels and Resorts, Marriott International and Radisson Hotel Group, to obtain on-the-ground experience and share these learnings. As a result, they have introduced a set of guidelines for hospitality businesses to support the recruitment of refugees and internally displaced people, as well as providing accommodation and a warm welcome to people in transit.

In addition, the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance has curated a resource hub which aims to provide links to job opportunities and access to training resources for people fleeing the conflict to re-skill themselves for jobs in the industry.

A critical part of the alliance's hotel guidance and training focuses on ethical recruitment. The Sustainable Hospitality Alliance encourages the industry to be aware of the increased risk of exploitation and human trafficking caused by displacement. It recommends that businesses review and strengthen their due diligence and protection measures across operations and supply chains.

"Through conversations with our members, we recognised that every hotel was inspired to action by the crisis in Ukraine, and felt an urgent need to show their support and solidarity to colleagues and others impacted by the conflict," said Glenn Mandziuk, CEO of the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance. "By sharing their real-life experiences and resources, it enables us to provide guidance and training to the wider industry that applies not just to this present crisis but the ongoing situations that refugees and internally displaced people continue to experience across the globe. We plan for this resource to continue evolving and developing as we support the industry to deliver net positive hospitality."