First responders can now search for free or discounted Hilton, IHG hotels on Google

May 21, 2020

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Healthcare workers, first responders and essential workers have been on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic. By day (or night), they work with patients or perform other essential jobs to keep the economy running.

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But life after their shifts can be as equally perilous. Many first responders have decided to self-quarantine at Airbnbs or hotels to avoid possibly infecting loved ones.

The coronavirus pandemic has altered the travel industry, with many airplanes flying with fewer than 10 passengers on board, hundreds of thousands of empty hotel rooms and travelers everywhere scrambling to postpone or cancel trips altogether. But amid the crisis, several companies have stepped up to make life easier for first responders.

Google on May 21 announced that it would make it easier for first responders to find free and discounted rooms using Google Search or Google Maps. The company says that first responders can search for keywords like “hotels for essential workers in New York” or “hotels in New York.” They can then narrow the results using a brand new filter for “COVID-19 responder rooms,” which will show participating hotels. First responders can simply call the hotel directly to learn more about its policies and book.

Google is working with hotels like Hilton, IHG and Choice Hotels and American Hotel & Lodging Association. You can find the full list of participating hotels here. Note that this new feature is currently only available in the United States and the United Kingdom, but Google says it hopes to launch worldwide coverage “as soon as possible.”

“Our industry is centered around people taking care of people, and this crisis is no different,” Chip Rogers, the president and CEO of AHLA, said in a statement. “Central to every community, hotel employees have risen to the occasion in record numbers to support those putting their lives on the line to care for others.”

Last month, Hilton teamed up with American Express to donate 1 million free nights in select Hilton hotels for medical professionals around the U.S. AHLA also introduced a new initiative called Hotels for Hope, which is working to create a nationwide database of hotels that state and local governments can use to match available hotels to healthcare workers who need lodging.

Google says that hotel owners who have discounts or special accommodations for frontline or essential workers, can sign into Google My Business and add the attribute to your Business Profile, or get help from Google My Business support.

Featured photo by Hilton Hotels

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