The Choice Hotel Group's offer of 1,800 free overnight stays was fully subscribed within a few hours of launch, it says
An Irish hotel group offering 1,800 free stays to healthcare workers says an "overwhelming" response saw the allotment snapped up within hours.
The Choice Hotel Group's properties in Ireland include the g, the House and the Hardiman hotels in Galway, the Shoreline Hotel in Donabate, Co Dublin, and Hotel Woodstock in Ennis, Co. Clare.
The offer, launched across its social media platforms last Friday, rewarded the first 1,800 subscribers with a free night's B&B at a hotel of their choice between August 1 of this year and July 31, 2021.
A booking link will now be sent to successful subscribers, it says.
Choice claims the offer is worth €250,000, which would equate to an average value of €138.88 per room, per night, across its properties (Galway's g Hotel is a five-star; its other hotels are four-star).
"It is great to have something nice to look forward to with my husband after all of this," said one of the successful subscribers, Niamh Gantley, a Clinical Nurse specialist at University Hospital Galway.
"All of this", of course, is a stunning crisis that sees Ireland's health services now battling a surge of coronavirus cases.
"We wanted to express our deep gratitude to those on the frontline bravely working on our behalf, and by giving our frontline workers a well deserved break to look forward to when all this is over," said Andy O’Neill, Group CEO.
"They are truly amazing people."
Covid-19 has also thrown Ireland's economy into chaos, with thousands of tourism and hospitality businesses now fighting unprecedented closures, cancellations and cashflow problems.
According to the Irish Tourism Industry Confederation (ITIC), as many as 150,000 jobs may already have been lost in its sector alone.
As the vice tightens, however, other hotels have also taken action to help healthcare workers and vulnerable local community members.
In Co Kildare, for example, the owner of the five-star K Club has offered to make the property available to the Government and the HSE.
"The hope is that its location and setting will make life a little more comfortable for the emergency staff, first responders and citizens who may need it during this time," the resort said in a statement.
Other hotels, caught on the hop with closures, donated kitchen food surpluses to local charities. Some have teamed up with local volunteers to deliver meals to isolated community members. And still others, like restaurants, have responded to calls for PPE such as gloves and gowns, delivering them to hospitals.
In Bearna, Co Galway, The Twelve Hotel has launched a drive-through takeaway service that is offering local first responders like gardaí and medical personnel a free pizza or healthy spinach frittata.
“It was with a heavy heart that we made the difficult decision to close our restaurants to the public,” says Fergus O’Halloran, its general manager.
An "edited" food offering allows the hotel to retain "a handful" of jobs, offer some support to local suppliers and keep spirits up, however.
"We look forward to feeding some of our amazing first responders from our drive-through too, and the Bakery at The Twelve will be delighted to deliver at no charge to any vulnerable person in the vicinity."
The Irish Independent understands that the HSE has been talking to other hotels around the country as regards help with supplies, kitchen facilities or accommodation for healthcare workers.
The HSE did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
"Public health is No.1," says Elaina Fitzgerald Kane, President of the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) and Sales Director at Fitzgerald's Woodlands House Hotel in Adare, Co Limerick.
"Everybody as an individual has a part to play, and hotels have a part to play. We're there to assist the HSE and the government in whatever way we can."
Meanwhile, the Choice Hotel Group is preparing its next offer for healthcare workers, details of which were due to be posted today.
Its focus? Christmas parties.
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