Accommodation providers reach out to key workers

By Andy Hoskins, published 27/03/20

A number of hotel and apartment providers are offering complimentary stays or reduced rates to NHS staff and other key workers during the coronavirus crisis.

Although hotels fall within the list of businesses instructed to close by the government this week, accommodation providers are allowed to host key workers, a range of vulnerable people and non-UK residents unable to travel home, among other exceptions during the pandemic.

Aparthotel company Roomzzz has donated an initial 2,000 overnight stays to NHS workers as many staff are being asked to locate themselves in specific areas.

The group has ten core locations throughout the UK, with its Burley Road property conveniently located close to Leeds General Infirmary.

Meanwhile, James Foice, CEO of the Association of Serviced Apartment Operators, says the organisation is in discussions with the NHS about how its members could support staff by providing accommodation in locations close to hospitals.

The move comes after footballer Wilfred Zaha and business partner Obi Williams offered the NHS 50 apartments owned by their business accommodation company ZoProperties which were “instantly snapped up”.

Former footballers Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs have also made their two Manchester hotels available free-of-charge to NHS staff, while a large number of independent hotels around the country have done likewise.

Aparthotel operator Supercity is offering ‘non-profit’ rates (from £35 per night) at five London locations for emergency workers, while OYO Hotels & Homes is offering key workers flat rates of £32 per night in London or £175 per week.

“A number of hotels under the OYO brand have already partnered with NHS Trusts and councils to offer rooms to those in need - something we are still exploring with other hotel owners and will announce more on soon,” says Rishabh Gupta, Head of OYO UK.

“More immediately, these fixed rates are available to key workers in any sector who might need to cut out lengthy commutes or avoid returning home each night to a household they might share with more vulnerable individuals.”

“This is not an exercise in profitability,” Gupta adds. “Rates have been set on the assumption of longer stay guests and to cover the minimum costs of keeping these hotels operational under the current circumstances.