Hospitality Brands Support Ukrainian Refugees

Published 07 March 2022

As the devastating war in Ukraine displaces millions of its citizens – an exodus the UN estimates could surpass four million in the coming weeks (WeForum, 7 March 2022) – travel and hospitality brands are stepping in to help support these vulnerable refugees.

Hospitality Brands Support Ukrainian Refugees

Stay the Night

A number of housing rental services are offering temporary lodging, including Airbnb, which has pledged free short-term and some longer-term accommodation for 100,000 refugees in Poland, Germany, Hungary and Romania through its non-profit organisation Airbnb.org. Individuals around the world are also booking accommodation in Ukraine via Airbnb to directly support locals, for which the platform has waived all fees to ensure hosts receive the maximum amount.

Similarly, German short-term commercial rental technology company Numa Group is offering free accommodation for refugees in Berlin, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Florence, Milan, Barcelona, Madrid, Vienna and Prague. Meanwhile, US travel booking app Hopper has freed up $50,000 in its in-app credit system Carrot Cash for those fleeing the war to book temporary accommodation.

Hotels, hostels, hosts and alternative accommodation providers globally can list their free accommodation for refugees on new site Hospitality For Ukraine, set up by marketing agency Stay The Night and online booking site BudgetTraveller (both US).

Transport companies are also getting involved. Hungarian low-cost airline Wizz Air is offering 100,000 free flights for Ukrainian refugees from four neighbouring countries in March, which anyone with a valid Ukrainian passport can book via a dedicated ‘rescue’ URL. It is also offering reduced-cost rescue flights for refugees from elsewhere in Europe. The France-UK trainline Eurostar, meanwhile, is offering free train journeys from Paris to London for Ukrainians who’ve acquired a UK visa.

A number of charitable campaigns have also been launched by individuals and brands in the restaurant industry. UK food influencer Clerkenwell Boy and chefs Olia Hercules, Alissa Timoshkina and Zuza Zak – born in the Ukraine, Russia and Poland, respectively – have launched #CookForUkraine. Restaurants and bars encourage diners to add £1, £2 or £3 to their bill, with funds going to Unicef to support families throughout Ukraine.

Participating restaurants are also serving Ukrainian dishes on their menus, whilst consumers are encouraged to hold fundraising bake sales and supper clubs. The campaign has raised over £69,000 ($91,000) at the time of writing.

As the situation develops, more travel and hospitality brands worldwide are showing their support for Ukraine every day. This immediate response is reminiscent of the sector’s charitable efforts during the Covid-19 pandemic, when hotels offered up their properties as overflow hospitals and rooms for homeless individuals.