Save money on your next trip and help the hotel industry at the same time

Apr 11, 2020

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It’s no secret that the travel industry is hurting right now — from major hotel brands and airlines to small tour operators and rental property owners. The government did sign a $2.2 trillion stimulus package, billions of which go toward helping travel companies pay employees’ salaries.

But in a statement to USA Today, the American Hotel and Lodging Association cited a limitation in to how these funds will help individual hotels. There is a provision that limits a Small Business Administration loan to 250% of the average monthly payroll, which according to the American Hotel and Lodging Association, “will not allow a business owner to meet both payroll and debt service obligations beyond an estimated four to eight weeks.”

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A few different campaigns to help the hotel industry have popped up over the past few weeks, including a few similar programs that help out travelers in the long-term, too.

Buy Now, Stay Later hotel “gift cards”

The Buy Now, Stay Later initiative is an industrywide program for independent hotels worldwide. Travelers purchase hotel bonds now in increments of $100. After at least 60 days, you can then book a stay at a $150 value for every $100 spent. Essentially, you’re giving the hotel a short-term loan, and in return, you’re getting added value on your future booking as interest, of sorts.

The initiative is meant to help hotels support their staff and prevent layoffs. The program does have a website that lists out the current participating hotels, but you purchase your bond directly through the hotel — not through a third-party.

Right now, the list of participating hotels is limited, with several new additions coming soon. But among the initial participants are notable locations, including LondonHouse Chicago, part of Hilton’s Curio Collection. The Buy Now, Stay Later website does have a form for interested hotel owners to request more information about joining the initiative.

Related reading: What you can do to give back during the coronavirus outbreak 

Porter & Sail “Hotel Credits”

The travel app Porter & Sail has launched a new online Hotel Credit store. It’s essentially a gift card that you’re purchasing at a discount to use for hotel stays later. Within 24-72 hours from purchase, you’ll receive a digital voucher that you can use directly with the hotel at a later date (though you will have to book over the phone since it is a special deal).

Related reading: 30 essential travel apps every traveler should download

The current list of participating hotels is a bit more extensive than the Buy Now, Pay Later program, but it’s still on the small side. There are some great options, though, including Akyra Thonglor Bangkok (which is part of the Hyatt partnership with Small Luxury Hotels of the World).

You can purchase these hotel credits at varying rates per hotel. For example, the Akyra Thonglor Bangkok is offering a $300 hotel credit for $200, or a $150 credit for $120. The hotel credits can be used for booking rooms, dining at eligible on-site restaurants and occasionally even for shopping at some property facilities.

Each participating hotel offers its own set of terms and conditions for the credits, including expiration dates. So far, all of the credits are valid through at least the end of 2021.

You do pay for the hotel credits through Porter & Sail (which may affect how the purchase codes on your statement), but all proceeds go to the hotels to keep staff employed. Porter & Sail is not taking any fees.

Related reading: You can support coronavirus relief efforts — and earn points and miles 

Bottom line

While no one should be traveling right now unless absolutely necessary, many of us travel enthusiasts have already started looking ahead to where we might go once travel safely resumes. These programs offer a way for you to both help independent hotels continue paying their staff while also saving money on a trip down the line.

Featured image courtesy of the Akrya Thonglor Bangkok. 

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