In today’s age of digitalization, charitable actions don’t require sacrificing time or effort to make an impact. Simply making the right choices can make all the difference in the world.
In the case of travel, especially with millennial travelers who are becoming more conscious than ever about giving back to society, know that these potential hotel guests will look to their itinerary as a way to fulfil their altruistic desires.
In fact, ‘Good Travels: The Philanthropic Profile of the American Traveler’ states more than 50 percent of Americans have given money, time or goods to the communities that they visited. Among those surveyed, 86 percent gave cash, and 78 percent delivered in kind while traveling.
So when guests come knocking on your door, open up your hotel to visitors who wish to give back to the community during their stay.
Here are five ways your hotel can participate in charitable activities:
1. Donate to Charities
Let’s take the example of the yet-to-be-built Purpose Hotel, in Nashville, Tennessee.
It plans on becoming a beacon for hotels that believe in giving back to society. The idea of the hotel is to acquire every item for the hotel – raw materials, soaps and dishes all the way to the art on the walls – from partners who raise funds for charities or help the community at large.
And with more than 4,200 individuals pledging to raise more than $600,000 in the hotel’s support, it looks like it is already on track to be a success.
But that’s not the only example.
More and more hotels across the US are linking their services with a donation to charitable causes. For every reservation made with Omni Hotels, the company donates a percentage to Feeding America, a non-profit organization that has more than 200 food banks and provides meals for a family of four as part of its acclaimed Say Goodnight to Hunger program.
Hotel patrons want the option to donate to a charity that they support. Look to surveying your customers to help pick the top charity(ies) your hotel should stand by.
2. Spread Awareness and Support a Cause
Guests also prefer hotels that spread awareness about health, environmental and societal concerns.
Let’s take the example of the Sheraton Tysons Hotel. It participated in Go Red by putting up banners and collecting donations at its hotel premises to support and spread awareness about the greatest killer of women in the US – heart disease.
Other examples include hotels diving deeper into activities like beach clean-ups with the money from hotel bookings. By engaging in these activities, hotels act like a bridge, connecting people who can contribute to organizations who devote all their time to making a difference. Actions as simple as these can promote a strong message among potential guests.
One of the greatest examples of a hotel-influenced beach clean-up was done by Sola Strand Hotel in Norway. Situated by the bay, the hotel decided to do something about the increasing pollution of the oceans. It wanted to give back to the same environment that was doing so much for its guests.
In collaboration with Clean Shores Norway, they ensure that the beach environment is never at risk due to merrymaking by hotel residents.
No matter the project, hotels that build their brands alongside a cause can strengthen their corporate social responsibility in addition to attracting more guests who support the same cause(s) dear to hotel staff and executives.
3. Involve your employees
Hotel guests don’t have to be the only participants at a socially responsible hotel. As a hotelier, create programs that your employees can participate in to help an organization of their choice. For instance, in the 1990s, Caesar’s entertainment created HERO, a voluntary program that connected their employees with charitable efforts in the community. By 2016, nearly half of their employees participated and provided more than 400,000 hours of their time.
By offering opportunities for both your employees and guests to give back, you are not only helping build a charitable hotel but also a stronger community around it.
4. Make Dreams Come True
Outside of money and activism, socially responsible hotels also lend a hand to homeless and low-income individuals.
This can come in many forms, but one of the best ways to give back is to provide these individuals skills to acquire jobs that can boost their quality of life.
Whether it’s training disadvantaged high school students in hospitality skills to work at a company like yours or offering classes to adults to learn a new trade, actually working with the community around you shows hotel patrons that their hard earned dollars are going toward helping other individuals have a better life.
5. Reduce Waste and Improve Individuals’ Well-Being
Socially conscious hotels don’t have to provide something new to be able to donate to a good cause. By upcycling existing hotel items, hotels can not only reduce the amount of waste that they produce but also donate these items to charities that need them most.
In fact, an increasing number of hotels are jumping on the bandwagon to help promote good hygiene and sanitation with the same personal cleaning supplies provided to guests. But instead of trashing half-used bottles of shampoo and bars of soap, charities and non-profit organizations collect these items from hotels and supply them where needed around the world.
IGH chain of hotels has managed to do just that. In fact, those hotels have donated 99,000 pounds of soap to Clean the World, which resulted in the creation of more than 400,000 bars of soap distributed around the world.
What Your Hotel Can Do
If you’re looking to improve your hotel’s level of social responsibility, know that there are many ways to achieve that goal outside of pure monetary donations. Now you’ve seen first-hand that connecting your hotel and its staff to local and global organizations that help the betterment and promotion of social, environmental, animal and individual causes, not only help the causes themselves but also attract more guests who want to support them. So when are you starting?