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Articles & publications • 2022-03-30

HospitalityHelps platform accommodated more than 20,000 Ukrainian refugees


HospitalityHelps platform accommodated more than 40,000 Ukrainian refugees

More than 600 hotels in 47 countries provide free hotel rooms for up to five days to Ukrainians fleeing the war, using the platform. During the weeks of the platform's operation, more than 40,000 Ukrainians have been accommodated in hotels in Europe and on other continents. The project started as a private initiative and has now become a global non-profit platform for the accommodation of Ukrainian refugees. The platform is also supported by Ukrainian volunteers who moved to Austria after the start of the war.

Sofia Widmann, a Ukrainian living in Austria and one of the initiators of the project: “While living in Vienna, I shuddered every time I received notifications about bombings in my hometown Kyiv and other cities in Ukraine. My friends spent nights in basements and drove for 72 hours non-stop, running away from the war. After placing our first friends in hotels in Vienna, Berlin, Prague and Budapest, we started working on an online platform, together with Jonathan Worsley of The Bench, Preben Vestdam of HotelSwaps and my husband, Michael Widmann of the PKF hospitality group. Our goal is to give temporary accommodation to Ukrainians who have lost their homes and their usual lives. We provide a safe place to stop, catch breath and decide what to do next. When we launched the platform, we had to work 24 hours a day in order to accommodate people. As we fell asleep, we called our Ukrainian friends in New York to continue working”.

The global initiative has already received support from many of the world's leading hotel groups, including Accor, Hilton, IHG, Marriott and Radisson, as well as regional players such as Dorint and Ruby.

The teams of PKF hospitality group and The Bench, are working on attracting new hotels. Christian Walter, Global CEO of the PKF hospitality group and co-initiator of #HospitalityHelps: “My main focus is to connect with our friends and business partners in the global hospitality industry. We are trying to convince them to provide hotel rooms. We need more hotels, more hotel rooms. The number of people having to leave Ukraine continues to rise”.

Initiators of #HospitalityHelps are the PKF hospitality group, The Bench, HotelSwaps, Moodley, Museum Booster and Zoocha – supported by In2Consultng, STR and many others who volunteered to help.

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