Accor Gives from the Heart to 65,000 of its Southeast Asia Team Members Impacted by COVID-19
70% of global assistance provided in Southeast Asia, the most severely impacted region
(June 25, 2021 Singapore) With COVID-19 causing surging levels of poverty across Southeast Asia, Accor is proud that its ALL Heartist Fund has provided life-changing assistance to more than 65,000 hotel team members and partners across the region. The €70 million fund was launched in April 2020 and just over a year since its inception, Southeast Asia accounts for around 70% of grants made so far globally. Across the world, Accor has made 77,900 grants with more than €25.1 million distributed so far.
Accor calls staff members ‘Heartists’ because they deliver the art of hospitality from the heart, so the Group was quick to provide heartfelt support when it saw so many team members impacted by the pandemic. Sebastien Bazin, Chairman & CEO (pictured right) said, when announcing the Fund, “in these unprecedented times, Accor stands more than ever by its employees, associates, partners and communities.”
Asian countries were the first to shut borders and lockdown measures of some form are widespread across the region, so the nee d for assistance is enormous and ongoing.
Above: The ALL Heartist Fund has assisted thousands of Accor Heartists and partners across SE Asia including Dwi from Pullman Ciawi Hills and Dewi from Pullman Bali Legian
“Our Heartists truly are our greatest asset and every day they care for our guests, so our immediate priority was ensuring that we had the support mechanisms in place to continue looking after our people,” said Garth Simmons, Chief Executive Officer, Accor, Southeast Asia, Japan and South Korea (pictured left).
“The need in Southeast Asia is enormous. I am so proud of our team, who are working endless hours to process applications quickly and get money to people when they need it most. Sadly, COVID-19 is impacting Asian countries extremely hard and these tend to be the countries where a larger percentage of the population relies heavily on tourism to make a living and where welfare might not be readily available. It has been heart-warming to give back and I have been really touched by the impact this fund has made to the lives of our teams, bringing Heartists even closer together.”
Heartists can apply for support multiple times if their needs persist and it is expected that the Fund will run at least until the end of 2021 as the pandemic continues to hinder the tourism and hospitality industry’s recovery.
Dewi, a housekeeping attendant at Pullman Bali Legian was struggling to cover the medical bills for his father, who suffered a stroke last year and his daughter, who has a heart abnormality, with both requiring regular medication. He received enough money from the ALL Heartist Fund to secure their medications and pay for insurance to ensure their continued health.
“During this pandemic, it was getting harder for me to stand strong for my family, but the ALL Heartist fund has lit a fire in me to never give up. I am grateful for the support and the hope this has given us,” said Dewi.
In a country like Myanmar, in which political instability continues, the ALL Heartist Fund saw a surge in applications from staff members needing urgent support. Accor processed over 3,400 applications in just two months alone in Myanmar and provided USD $628,000 over this period to help Heartists pay for essentials such as groceries, electricity and medical supplies. Re-applications are now being processed.
After operations at Sofitel Inle Lake Myat Min were suspended, a spa therapist of the resort faced a difficult situation as the sole wage-earner for her family. Both her uncle and grandfather passed away shortly after, leaving seven siblings in the household with extremely limited income. After applying for the ALL Heartist fund, the requested amount was doubled by Accor, arriving by chance on her birthday. Overwhelmed with gratitude, she phoned the hotel to explain that she could now buy rice, oil and other essentials for her family to live. Another Heartist in Myanmar was able to get funding to pay for her mother’s urgent surgery and says the grant literally saved her mother’s life.
Thailand is the most visited nation in Southeast Asia and was hard hit by the pandemic, but the Fund was able to assist thousands of staff in the country. Phuket was particularly impacted, with most of its inhabitants relying on tourism for their living. Dang, a room attendant at Pullman Phuket Arcadia, was able to obtain funding to pay rent to ensure his family would not become homeless.
Above: Dang from Pullman Phuket Arcadia was given money to cover his rent; and Bernadette used the funding to cover her mother’s medical expenses.
Bernadette works for Accor Plus, a lifestyle loyalty program, in the Philippines, and spends a large percentage of her pay to cover medical expenses for her mother. She was worried that she would have to cut down to two meals per day for her family so that she could continue to keep her mother well, but the ALL Heartist Fund came through to cover insurance and medicines.
“I feel blessed to work for such a great company and I am more confident than ever that Accor is the right place for me,” said Bernadette.
Sandy is a room attendant at ibis Styles Bogor Raya in Indonesia, whose wife was expecting their first baby when COVID-19 hit and his hours were reduced.
“I did not think my application would be approved because I am just a daily worker, but I was approved within four days,” Sandy said. “The money was delivered just one day before my baby was born and helped to pay medical expenses, cover rent and buy diapers and food for the family. I cried over the phone when I heard the news – it was a life saver for me and my family.”
The ALL Heartist Fund is also supporting partners who rely on Accor hotels for a majority of their income, like Dwi, who worked as an independent supplier to the Pullman Ciawi Hills Resort & Spa. Prior to Covid-19, Dwi sold jamu, a traditional Indonesian herbal drink as part of the hotel’s breakfast buffet, introducing guests to a healthy local experience. When buffet breakfasts stopped because of local regulations, Dwi found herself struggling financially. The General Manager of the hotel put her forward for funding, even though she wasn’t a direct employee. She used the money to buy enough supplies to on-sell jamu through the pandemic to support her family.
“I am so happy to receive this funding. It is not only the money for survival but also the gift of hope,” said Dwi. “I am so grateful because even if I am not a direct employee of the hotel, they made me feel like family.”
In addition to the monetary assistance provided through the ALL Heartist Fund, many Accor hotels throughout the region arranged rice bags, eggs and other essentials not only for their direct employees, but in some cases for their neighbouring communities.
“COVID-19 has shown us that we are only as strong as our most vulnerable and through the ALL Heartist Fund, we have been able to support our most vulnerable team members to get through this crisis. It has been the most humbling experience of my working life and made me very proud to work for a company that truly cares,” said Mr. Simmons.
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