At a moment of a monumental geopolitical crisis, the hospitality sector has stepped up and is playing a role in providing comfort to those who are most distressed. Michael Widmann, Global CEO of PKF hospitality group stated that more than 2,000,000 people have fled Ukraine, where half of his family is from and most of his 20 team members remain, still in Kyiv. A person connected to his family fled Ukraine and was on her way to Vienna with her two young children to stay with his family.
After leaving her husband behind in Kyiv and traveling 72 hours by car, she had to stop for rest in Budapest, where Norbert Lessing, the head of Hilton in Austria and a good friend of the Widmann family, had recently reached out to offer help. After a call from Widmann, Lessing reached out to Peter Knoll, director of the Budapest Hilton, who graciously provided a room for the tired family at no charge. Widmann wrote that once he saw how easy it was to help families who were on the run from Ukraine by providing hotel accommodations for a few nights, he made his first ever post to LinkedIn to request support for families in similar circumstances. The reaction has been strong and more help is being organised.