Travel and lifestyle companies big and small have adapted their business strategies to help support those impacted the most in the fight against coronavirus.
From small independent businesses to large multinational corporations, brands from all sectors across the globe have been responding to the pandemic. Expansive demand for face masks and hand sanitisers have seen manufacturers reorientate their production lines, and hospital workers are being housed, fed and transported free of charge. Also, bigger companies are making substantial monetary donations to help struggling small businesses.
Whatever it is, Covid-19 has shown an empathetic side of brands that are prioritising community. Here are some of Culture Trip’s favourite examples.
The Scottish-based brewery started making ‘Punk Sanitiser’ hand gels at its Aberdeen distillery in response to the national shortage. Free cases were delivered to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary’s Intensive Care Unit, along with distribution to key workers and charities across the country. Over 50,000 units have been packaged and delivered so far. BrewDog is also starting “online bars” – mass group video calls recreating local boozers as a platform “to give locals and regulars a chance to reconnect and share a beer”, as well as providing interactive online content such as live music, pub quizzes and even a home-brewing masterclass. On top of all that, BrewDog has promised to give everyone a free Punk IPA when its bars reopen.
Empty rental locations are being offered as either free or subsidised accommodation for up to 100,000 healthcare personnel, emergency responders and relief workers all around the world. So far, over 6,000 healthcare professionals were able to find accommodation in France and Italy. The properties have to follow new cleanliness protocols based on recommendations from medical experts.
Research shows that DIY masks made with a single layer of cotton can remove around 50 to 60 percent of virus-size particles. Los Angeles designer House of Woo heard this information and altered its production output towards refashioning old garments and transforming them into comfortable, stylish face masks. Its factory, which usually produces beach-style dresses, was repurposed, and within days it was manufacturing the masks. They are on sale to the general public, with the proceeds going towards shipping mask donations to hospitals across the country. House of Woo set a fashion trend, with other designers following suit, all with the aim of protecting people against the virus while helping the fashion industry tick over.
Initially, the London-based folding bicycle company started a service in partnership with Spinlister to get the public to lend 200 of their bikes, free of charge, directly to healthcare workers in need of transportation. With demand through the roof, Brompton decided to donate its bikes as well. Currently, over 500 NHS staff have registered to receive a bike, with more expected to do so. What originally started as a target of providing 200 bikes has now become 1,000. Cycling UK is also supporting NHS workers by offering three months of free Cycling UK Membership, which issues free third-party liability insurance and access to its legal advice line.
Bars around the world will be some of the worst affected businesses under lockdown. Stella and Bacardi separately decided to start campaigns to provide much-needed support. Rally for Restaurants, launched by Stella, invites consumers in 10 different countries to purchase a voucher to their favourite bar, with Stella promising to add an additional 50 percent to the value of each voucher.
Cape Town online ticketing company Webtickets has partnered with Food Flow to work with local farmers who are still producing food but are losing business with restaurants being closed. The partnership aims to support farmers and the vulnerable by shifting the food flow and getting the produce to those who need it most during the lockdown. Sponsorship of a bag of food will help families in communities facing food insecurity, especially children who normally rely on school-feeding schemes. So far, Food Flow has collected over 3,500 bags of produce to help provide food to those in need.
Ride-hailing giant Uber is pledging 10 million free rides and deliveries of food for frontline healthcare workers, seniors and people in need around the world. In the UK alone, they’re committing 200,000 free rides to and from work for all staff with a valid NHS or HSC email address. Uber is also covering 100,000 free meals through Uber Eats – all delivered to first responders’ homes or even the wards. The company is also providing disinfectants and cleaning methods to drivers so that people and food can be transported in the safest way possible.
Italy has been one of the countries worst-hit by Covid-19. Its hospitals are being overwhelmed by the virus, with the shortage of equipment proving one of the biggest issues. Italian luxury fashion house Armani decided to respond to Italy’s troubles by repurposing its manufacturing plants to make single-use medical overalls, on top of a €2 million (£1.75 million) donation to hospitals across the country. In America, Ralph Lauren is donating $10 million to help those impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and has started the production of 250,000 masks and 25,000 isolation gowns. The same is happening in France, as Louis Vuitton redirects its workshop output towards protective face masks and hospital gowns.
Luxury hotels around the world have offered their services to help combat the virus, whether it’s offering vacant rooms to frontline healthcare workers to stay in between shifts or using their kitchens to produce and distribute much-needed food within their cities. Hilton Hotels and Resorts are donating around 1 million hotel nights at locations around the USA. The Four Seasons in New York is closed to the public but open to healthcare workers. Claridge’s has offered free accommodation to 40 NHS workers. Orania.Berlin has pledged to cook 800 meals for homeless people who can no longer rely on the closed food banks. Hôtel Chais Monnet is delivering chef-cooked meals to the local Cognac hospital. The five-star Jamaica Inn is donating all of its towels and linens while they’re not in use to local health centres.
Car rental company Indie Campers is offering up its 850 campervans situated in 15 countries around Europe to be used as “makeshift ambulances” and food delivery trucks. According to a company statement, “We’re [Indie Campers] making many of our vehicles available to hospitals, governments, NGOs or other public entities serving those locations that are being affected, aiming to assist them in whichever way they deem relevant to address this crisis.”