Czech hotels offer free accommodation to Covid-19 front-line workers

Illustrative photo: Matt@PEK, Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Zachran hotel, or “Save a hotel” in English, is the title of a new initiative aimed at helping the Czech accommodation industry overcome the coronavirus crisis. The project, a joint effort of the travel website Amazing Places and the technology company Mervis, also wants to help those working on the front lines by providing them with free accommodation.

Illustrative photo: Matt@PEK,  Flickr,  CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
I discussed the details of the project with Boris Petr from Mervis:

“The initial idea was to help the struggling Czech hotels, because the Czech government decided to close down the accommodation business, but also to help them find people who they want to help.

“Despite the fact that many hotels are threatened existentially, they still want to help people working on the front lines, such as doctors and other medical workers, by offering them free rooms to stay in.

“For a lot of them it was quite complicated to find a platform where they could offer this free accommodation, so we created a website where they can list their free capacities.”

So how exactly does the system work?

“Any hotel can offer their accommodation capacity by simply listing their details in a system, which is accessible to everybody. It is a free service, so we don’t charge any fees for it.

“The medical workers can come to these webpages, pick whatever accommodation they want to use and contact the hotel through a special voucher.

“It’s important to say that we are not an online travel agency or a website that would process the reservations. What we want to do is to establish contact between the hotel and the client.”

Are you saying the accommodation will be free of charge?

“Yes it will. One of the requirements is that the people on the front lines will get the accommodation for free and just pay for any additional expenses.”

How many hotels or other accommodation facilities have joined the project so far? How many beds are you currently offering?

“We currently have around 50 hotels, which is great, because we only launched the system last week. Currently we have around 3,000 beds and the first people are using the system, which we are really happy about, because we can see that we are actually helping in the crisis.”

Can the general public also contribute to the project?

“This is a very important part of the project, because a lot of the hotels are running into problems. The hotels that are helping now will also need to receive help in the future. But since we believe in free enterprise, we understand that the government cannot help everybody.

“So people can come to our website and buy a voucher to stay in one of the hotels after the crisis. This way they will help the hotels survive the most difficult times, because a lot of them have a problem with cash flow and any money coming to them will help them pay their rents at home or their employees.”