From Commercial to Compassionate

volunteer wearing an American Red Cross coat

We don’t often think of commercial enterprises as centers of compassion. Hotels can be the exception.

In one recent instance, the American Red Cross placed a family whose home had been destroyed in a fire for an open-ended stay at our Holiday Inn L.I. City – Manhattan View in Long Island City, New York (Queens borough). Unlike traditional guests who arrive at the front desk with carefully packed suitcases, this family showed up with not much more than the clothes on their backs. Needless to say, they were in a state of shock, still processing their loss, particularly their children.

Much to their credit, the front desk team and other hotel associates showed tremendous sensitivity in helping the family get settled. We train our team members to be welcoming and friendly and to feel empowered to respond to guests’ special needs or requests. But that training doesn’t always address the depth of the need in crisis situations like this.

The American Red Cross and other relief organizations are the front line of support in terms of providing clothing, toiletries, medical care, counseling and temporary housing. But the hotel team − from the front desk to guest services to housekeeping − stands ready as a second line of support, if just providing friendly guidance, a warm greeting or genuine expression of concern ─ in other words, compassion.

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