Several industries have taken a stance on the invasion of Ukraine. Major companies such as Starbucks and McDonald’s have pulled the plug on operating across Russia. Around late February, corporate hotels started following suit.
In Ukraine, there’s far more independent hotels than chain hotels. They make up 75% of hotels in the country. As far as branded hotels go, the Reikartz Hotel Group operates most of the country’s branded hotels, operating 63 hotels.
Across Ukraine, 17 of Reikartz’s hotels ceased operations on February 25, due to the invasion. Most hotels in the country have temporarily closed, including the Hyatt Regency Kyiv. The Hilton Kyiv is also not accepting reservations. Meanwhile, nearby hotel chains in Poland are using hotel rooms to house over 2 million refugees from Ukraine.
Meanwhile, Google Travel and Trivago are still selling ads to promote Russian hotels and have come under fire for doing so. Travel booking website Kayak, on the other hand, has removed all information about Russian hotels from their website. Tripadvisor has stopped doing business there.
Meanwhile, major hotel chains have made strides to show their support for Ukraine. Marriott has paused opening new hotels and investments in Russia. Hotel chains like Hilton, Hugo Boss and Hyatt have also freezed their developments in Russia.
Here are five hotels and how they responded to the conflict, which is in line with each of their corporate social responsibility goals.
1. IHG Hotels
IHG Hotels closed their corporate office in Moscow and suspended all future investments and openings in Russia.
“We are deeply saddened and shocked by the war in Ukraine and our thoughts continue to be with all those impacted by these horrific events. IHG has a commitment to look after the people and communities where we have a presence around the world,” said a spokesperson in a statement. “We have long-term management or franchise agreements with independent third-party companies that own the hotels in Russia.”
2. Hilton Hotels
Hilton Hotels is offering one million hotel rooms for Ukrainian refugees across Europe in a partnership with American Express. “Our hotels have always been part of the fabric of our communities that we serve, and we take seriously our promise to positively impact the places where we live and work,” Hilton said in a release. Hilton plans to donate profits from its Russian operations (they don’t own hotels in Russia, but operate there) to humanitarian organizations in Ukraine.
3. Hyatt Hotels
“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,” a Hyatt spokesperson said in a statement. “Understanding that many people in Russia face challenges and uncertainty about their future as well, we are determining how best to support and care for our hotel colleagues and current guests in the country.” Hyatt is sending supplies to Ukrainian communities, non-profits, and organizations, using their hotels as refugee shelters in several countries across Europe.
4. Marriott International Inc.
Marriott is using $1 million from its employee relief fund to support their associates who have been impacted by the war. On March 10, Marriott announced they have decided to pause the opening of upcoming hotels and all future hotel developments following the invasion of Ukraine. The company also said it will close its corporate office in Russia. “Our hotels in Russia are owned by third parties and we continue to evaluate the ability for these hotels to remain open,” the company said in a statement.
“We deplore the loss of life, widespread impacts to millions of innocent civilians and the humanitarian disaster in Ukraine. We strongly support those working towards peace and an end to the needless suffering.”
Accor, which has seven hotels in Ukraine, and 53 hotels in Russia, has decided to halt future projects in Russia. A spokesperson for Accor hotels, which has its headquarters in France, said the company will “continue to operate in Russia in some capacity as we play a key role in supporting employees, local communities, [non-governmental organizations] and international media on the ground,” a spokesperson said in a statement. “We have never left a country in turmoil and presently have no plans to do so.”
How Long Will This Go On?
It’s unclear how long the crisis in Ukraine will last. Will we see other major hotel chains take action, or will they lay low until any potential backlash dies down? A lot of U.S. capital is tied up in foreign hotel investments, and the pandemic had already made the asset class less stable.