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Philadelphia Hoteliers Step Up in Aid for Haiti Earthquake Victims

By Suzette Parmley, The Philadelphia InquirerMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News

Jan. 20, 2010--Philadelphia's hotels, which have powerful corporate parents with global reach, have stepped up to help earthquake victims in Haiti through cash donations, payroll deductions, and loyalty membership points.

Marriott International Inc., which manages the Philadelphia Marriott, Courtyard at the Marriott, the Ritz Carlton, and the Residence Inn by Marriott in Center City, has organized relief efforts through its "Spirit to Serve" program worldwide.

Chief executive officer William Marriott announced on his blog Thursday that the company had donated $500,000 to the Red Cross Haiti Relief and Development Fund. The money will go toward providing water, medical supplies, food and shelter.

Hilton Hotels Corp., which manages and owns the Doubletree Hotel Philadelphia, Hilton Inn at Penn in University City, and several other local properties, has pledged to match total member donations dollar for dollar up to $250,000 through its loyalty guest program, Hilton HHonors. Money will go to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

Jeff Diskin, senior vice president of global customer marketing of Hilton Worldwide, said more than 5,000 Hilton HHonors members have donated more than $128,000 in the last four days.

Loews Corp., which owns Loews Philadelphia Hotel on Market Street, wrote a check for $25,000 to the Red Cross Thursday through the Loews Foundation. Each hotel in the chain is raising money, and every dollar will be matched by the Loews Foundation, said regional vice president Valerie Ferguson.

HEI Hotels & Resorts, which owns and operates the Westin Philadelphia and the Embassy Suites Center City, has donated $15,000 to the Clinton Foundation, which is working on immediate relief and long-term support to Haiti. The Westin Philadelphia is encouraging employees to contribute via UNICEF.

Starwood Hotels and Resorts, which manages the Sheraton Society Hill Hotel, will match donations to the Starwood Associate Relief Fund and UNICEF up to $100,000. A spokeswoman said Starwood Preferred Guests points donated Jan. 14 to Feb. 15 will be converted to dollars for the Red Cross.

Hyatt Hotels Corp. is allowing Gold Passport members to donate 5,000 points for a $40 donation to relief efforts.

In addition, said Hyatt Regency at Penns Landing general manager Julie Coker, employees there began making cash donations through payroll deductions last week and will continue through Friday.

Contact staff writer Suzette Parmley at 215-854-2594 or


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