How Major Hotels Around the Globe Are Responding to Coronavirus
The spread of COVID-19 has had a severe impact on the travel industry since the start of this year. Cruises, airlines, trains and theme parks have all temporarily changed their services or closed while the outbreak spreads around the globe — and hotels have followed their lead.
When it comes to accommodating customers who wish to delay their stays or increase their cleaning protocols and safety practices, hotel companies including Hilton, Marriott, IHG and more have responded to the outbreak. Whether you’re curious about rebooking or cancellation procedures or if you just want to be reassured that your hotel will have disinfectant gel, here’s what you need know about your upcoming hotel reservations during the coronavirus outbreak.
Hilton hotels have released modification and cancellation waivers for travelers around the world, according to their website. Guests with reservations in China, Italy, South Korea, Saudi Arabia or Israel can change their bookings through March 31.
Guests traveling between the U.S. and most of Europe (including Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland) can change their bookings from March 13 through April 12.
Any new reservations made between now and April 30 for any future arrival can be changed or canceled without penalty up to 24 hours before your scheduled arrival. Hilton is also changing its points and loyalty program because of the outbreak, although details about the changes have not yet been released.
Guests who wish to alter their reservations should contact Hilton’s reservations and customer care center for more information.
Falling under the umbrella of Hilton Hotels is also Waldorf Astoria properties, Embassy Suites and DoubleTree hotels. At these locations, staff are responding to the outbreak with increased use of hospital-grade disinfectants.
Customers staying at a Marriott properties over the next few weeks will be able to change or cancel their hotel reservation without a penalty, the hotel chain announced in a press release. The waiver is good for stays booked now through March 31 in Italy, mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, French Polynesia, Maldives, India, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, New Caledonia and Samoa.
"The wellbeing of our guests and associates is of paramount importance," they wrote.
Marriott brands include The Ritz-Carlton, St. Regis, JW Marriott, W Hotels, Edition, Sheraton, Le Meridien, Westin, Renaissance Hotels, Aloft and Moxy.
Employees at each hotel location have access to an internal COVID-19 communications hub and training about the virus. Each hotel is increasing the frequency of its cleanings in public areas.
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) announced a waiver of cancellation fees for all existing and new bookings between March 9 and April 30 at all of its hotels around the world. IHG brands include Holiday Inn, Kimpton, Regent, Hotel Indigo, Intercontinental and Crowne Plaza.
Each hotel is bumping up its cleaning procedures with “additional COVID-19 cleanliness specific guidance, training and information consistent with our own high standards,” the group said.
Because of the outbreak, the hotel group is also reducing its Elite membership criteria by 25 percent or more this year. For more information on the new IHG Rewards Club, visit the website.
Hyatt is offering free cancellations or postponements to guests who have booked hotels in China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan and Italy through March 31. For more information on the cancellation policy, contact your hotel directly.
Hyatt hotels include Thompson Hotels, Joie de Vivre, Park Hyatt and Andaz.
“The safety of our guests and team members around the world is a top priority,” Wyndham Hotels & Resorts said in a statement. “We have provided the thousands of independently-owned and operated franchised hotels in our network and our managed and owned properties worldwide with helpful guidelines and safety information provided by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) detailing how to identify COVID-19 symptoms and mitigate its transmission.”
Those with reservations in Greater China, South Korea or Italy can cancel their stays without a penalty through March 31. All other Wyndham Hotels around the world are required to allow hotel guests to rebook if their request is received at least 48 hours before their scheduled arrival. Many Wyndham hotels already have flexible cancellation policies that allow a guest to cancel their stay up to 6 p.m. on their scheduled day of arrival.
Wyndham Hotels include Days Inn, Ramada, Super 8, Travelodge, Microtel and Howard Johnson’s.
“At all Four Seasons locations around the world, we have taken precautionary measures to ensure your wellbeing, along with that of your fellow travellers and our employees,” the hotel group said in a statement. Each hotel is tightening up its food handling, sanitization, disinfection and cleaning procedures at this time, based on recommendations from local health departments and the WHO.
Four Seasons is waiving cancellation fees until April 15 for those traveling to any Four Seasons in the Asia Pacific region or in Europe, excluding the UK.