Major hotel brands are providing rooms to Ukrainian refugees while pausing projects in Russia

Mar 11, 2022

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As the situation in Ukraine intensifies, governments around the world are continuing to place heavy sanctions on Russia while businesses and major brands, such as McDonald’s, Coca Cola and Starbucks, are stopping activity in the country.

Now, major hotel chains including Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott, IHG and Accor are making public statements about Russia, which invaded Ukraine on 24 Feb., and their plans in the country moving forward.

So far, Hyatt, Hilton, IHG and Accor have decided to suspend development activities and future investments in Russia, meaning that unopened properties and projects in the hotel pipeline will, at least for now, be on hold if not ultimately cancelled.

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Hotel operations, however, are continuing for many non-Russian brands with a presence in the country despite the fact that Hilton, IHG and Marriott have closed their corporate offices in Moscow.

“At this time, we have made the decision to suspend our development activities and any new investments in Russia, effective immediately,” Hyatt said in a statement. “We will continue to evaluate hotel operations in Russia, while complying with applicable sanctions and U.S. government directives as we hope for a resolution to this crisis.”

Currently, Hyatt has five hotels open in Russia with one, the Hyatt Regency Rostov-On-Don, that was scheduled to open in May. In its statement, Hyatt said that it’s working to determine how to best care for its Russian hotel colleagues and guests in the country.

Related: How the Cold War shaped air travel, and what’s happening now

Hyatt is also offering much-needed support to Ukraine. “The global Hyatt family has come together in inspiring ways to care for those impacted by this tragedy, including providing refugee accommodations across Europe, sending supplies to the people of Ukraine, job transfers for Hyatt colleagues and a relief fund for our Hyatt colleagues in need of basic necessities, relocation support and care. We will continue to work to expand our humanitarian efforts across the Hyatt portfolio.”

Meanwhile, Hilton, which has 26 hotels in Russia and three that were set to open later this year — a DoubleTree and Hilton Garden Inn in Moscow and a DoubleTree in Vladikavkaz — has partnered with American Express to donate up to 1 million hotel rooms in support of refugees and humanitarian relief efforts in Europe.

“Our hotels have always been part of the fabric of the communities we serve, and we are committed to supporting the places where we live and work,” said Christopher J. Nassetta, Hilton’s president and CEO. “Even in these dark times, we believe the light and warmth of hospitality can make a difference when it matters most, which is why we are welcoming refugees and supporting relief efforts in countries across Europe.”

Profits from Hilton’s business operations in Russia are being donated to humanitarian efforts for Ukraine and the Hilton Effect Foundation has donated £38,191 ($50,000) to chef José Andrés’ World Central Kitchen as well as Project Hope.

Like Hilton and Hyatt, IHG, which has over a dozen hotels in the Moscow area alone, is working to provide support for refugees, its staff and guests in both countries.

“IHG has a commitment to look after the people and communities where we have a presence around the world,” the Atlanta-based company said in a statement, adding that it’s working with hotel owners in countries neighbouring Ukraine to offer refugees temporary accommodations alongside making donations to CARE International and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to support in getting aid, food, water, shelter and other supplies into Ukraine.

Marriott, in a statement, said, “We are deeply concerned to see the humanitarian crisis impacting the people of Ukraine and [neighbouring] countries and our teams are mobilizing to help those in need. Supporting the communities in which we operate has always been part of Marriott International’s culture and the company has a long history of working with numerous international organizations in support of refugees and displaced peoples globally.”

The brand is encouraging Marriott Bonvoy members to help support Ukraine by donating points to UNICEF or World Central Kitchen directly through the Marriott website. This year, Marriott Bonvoy will match donations point-for-point up to 100 million.

With more than 50 hotels currently open in Russia, Accor is focusing on supporting its roughly 3,500 employees in Russia, according to the Financial Times. The company has suspended work on five hotels currently in development in Russia and is working with European authorities and organizations to provide humanitarian relief to refugees with at least 15 hotels, 5 of which are in Paris, opening their doors to help, reported Bloomberg News.

Of course, there are many ways you can help as well. We’ve pulled together resources to help you donate to organizations that are making a critical difference during the conflict, including ways you can put your points and miles to use to help those affected by the tragic situation.

Featured image by Sergey Alimov/Getty Images.

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