Chip Rogers on Why Hotels Would Make Good Vaccination Sites

Last week, the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) sent a letter to the Biden Administration, the National Governors Association (NGA), and other government officials offering hotels as potential COVID-19 vaccination sites. Hotels have been used throughout the pandemic for medical professional housing and quarantine sites for individuals, and providing the vaccine is the natural progression for hotels to help stop the spread of the virus, according to Chip Rogers, president and CEO of AHLA. Rogers spoke with LODGING about the thought process behind the idea and how distributing the vaccine at hotels is a win-win for the economy and the community.

How did the idea come about to send a letter to government officials about opening hotels as vaccination sites?

We started Hospitality for Hope in April 2020 as an effort to bring together the hotels that had volunteered—or wanted to volunteer—as a place for people to quarantine, housing for first responders and health care professionals, and as overflow sites for hospitals. We thought we had a good model in place, and it struck us that the quicker that those who want the vaccine can receive it, the better off we’re all going to be. Hotels are located in every community in America. They have ample parking and meeting space. There’s also an ample amount of hotel rooms to house health care professionals, and, in most hotels, there’s some form of refrigeration to store the vaccine. It all adds up. Let’s do our part.

Why is it so important for hotels to be part of the COVID-19 solution?

The sooner we can process the vaccination rollout, the better it is for the economy, including hotels. Also, hotels have always been a hub of community activity, whether it be for business meetings, conferences, weddings, family reunions, and more. It makes sense for hotels to be part of the solution. It is something that’s going to help us, too, in the long term.

What advice do you have for hoteliers who want to get involved?

Kirsten Pierce runs our hospitality program, and they can reach out to her. Right now, we’re gathering all the hotels that want to be part of this while simultaneously communicating with state officials to make a list of hotels that will have the vaccine.



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Robin McLaughlin is digital editor of LODGING.