Worldwide: A non-profit webinar called Open Door has raised awareness of the various hospitality projects supporting the Ukrainian refugee crisis.
The aim of the webinar was to highlight how the industry is supporting the refugee crisis, and to identify how others can help and contribute.
Open Door was hosted by Jonathan Humphries of HoCoSo, Jon Hazan of Atlas Events, and Chris Mumford of Cervus Leadership Consulting.
Webinar panellists included:
• Nils Omland, Alliance4Ukraine – The project, supported by Google and the BMW Foundation amongst others, provides a one-stop-shop platform providing refugees with accommodation, legal support, clothing and jobs.
• Jan Hase, Wunderflats – Provides housing support for displaced Ukrainian refugees, offering access to apartments at no-cost or significantly discounted rates.
• Felix Oldenburg, Unterkunft Ukraine – An alliance of organisations connecting refugees with available private accommodation.
• Michael Widmann, Hospitality Helps – A platform providing temporary hotel accommodation two Ukrainian residents. Hotels are providing free stays in many countries.
• Alexandra Wolframm, Booking.com – Accommodation providers in certain countries are offering refugees a place to stay for free or at a highly reduced rate. The booking platform is waiving the commission fees for these reservations.
Key findings from the webinar include:
• Demand for accommodation is outstripping supply, and this is being observed in countries such as Canada and Africa where refugees are travelling to.
• Local hotel associations should not try and set up their own dedicated platform, butt try and join those already established.
• Crowd funding and other fund-raising initiatives can be used to offset the cost of providing rooms.
• There is an urgent need for volunteers to support the initiatives, such as: programmers, translators, customer service support and on the ground support.
• Projects are non-profit, and interested investors and sponsors are encouraged to contact the organisers directly in order to allow teams meet the growing demand.
A list of additional industry initiatives launched in response to the Ukraine crisis can be found here.