“The accommodation sector is opening its doors to Ukrainian refugees in many ways, but more is needed.” By acting together, the accommodation industry can become a “beacon of hope” for the refugees.
A non-profit webinar initiative entitled ‘Open Door’ was held on Friday 1st April 2022 to raise awareness for the various projects providing accommodation solutions to aid the grave Ukrainian refugee crisis currently affecting many European states. The hospitality sector is already supporting the refugee crisis in numerous ways and the webinar brought together representatives from several initiatives to talk about their projects, discuss the challenges they face, and to identify how others can help and contribute. Open Door was hosted by the hosts of the Hospitality Resilience Series (which was a series of webinars with experts to help hospitality professionals be in a better place to get through the Covid-19 crisis): Jonathan Humphries, HoCoSo; Jon Hazan, Atlas Events; and Chris Mumford, Cervus Leadership Consulting. The hope is that this simple initiative can boost the profile of these desperately needed humanitarian projects to all countries across Europe, helping those currently operating or those who want to help but are not sure how to do so.
The need to provide accommodation for the millions of Ukrainian refugees will only continue in the coming months. By acting now, the industry can put measures in place to meet this need.
Alliance4Ukraine, Nils Omland
A one-stop-shop platform for refugees from Ukraine entering Germany. This project is supported by Google and the BMW Foundation amongst others. The platform is able to provide multiple solutions to many of the refugees’ needs, from accommodation, legal support, clothing and jobs.
Wunderflats, Jan Hase, CEO & Co-Founder
Housing support for displaced Ukrainian refugees providing access to apartments at no, or very low cost.
Unterkunft Ukraine, Felix Oldenburg, Board Member
An alliance of mission-driven organisations supporting solidarity in civil society and connecting refugees with available private accommodation.
Hospitality Helps, Michael Widmann, Co-Founder, & Preben Vestdam
Providing temporary hotel accommodation to Ukrainian residents by connecting them with hotels providing free stays in many countries.
Booking.com, Alexandra Wolframm, Head of Public Affairs DACH
Enabling accommodation partners in certain countries to support refugees by offering them a place to stay for free or at a significantly reduced rate. Booking.com will waive commission fees for these reservations.
How accommodation providers can help
- There is a desperately critical need for rooms. This can be a variety of short and long stay, large hotels, small hotels, apartments, landlords etc. Each initiative highlighted demand for accommodation far outstripping available supply.
- The need is global, not just limited to countries bordering Ukraine. The wave of refugees is spreading far and wide and accommodation is needed for example in Canada and Africa just as in Europe.
- Local hotel associations and companies and individuals and the like should not try and set up their own platform, they should join an existing one such as those highlighted on the webinar.
- Use crowd funding or other fundraising initiatives to raise money from the public that can in turn be used to offset the cost of providing rooms.
- There is an urgent need for volunteers to support these initiatives. These providers need programmers, translators, customer service support and on the ground support to point refugees in the right direction from their point of arrival.
- Investment in these initiatives is crucial to allow these small teams to meet the growing need. They are all non-profit initiatives putting any funding raised directly into the needs of the refugees. Investors and sponsors are encouraged to contact the organisers of any of these initiatives directly.
For further information about any of these initiatives please contact the webinar panellists directly through the links provided.
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About the Hospitality Resilience Series
The Hospitality Resilience Series is a combination of online events, discussions, and insights aimed at helping build personal resilience and inner immunity within hospitality professionals. It is born from a collaboration between Jonathan Humphries, Chairman and co-founder of HoCoSo, Chris Mumford, founder of CERVUS Leadership Consulting and Jon Hazan, Founder and Executive Coach at ATLAS Coaching. The three co-host the series that aired in 2021 with a list of elite experts in the fields of wellness, wellbeing, nutrition, sleep, performance and mindfulness.