Consider this: as of 2018, 11.8 percent of the U.S. population was below the poverty line. That’s 38.6 million people.
As a hotel owner, you have the power to touch the lives of millions and be a part of something bigger that impacts more than your hotel and its patrons. Simple decisions like deciding to contribute to an organization that runs a free school for the homeless or buying raw materials from stakeholders who give back to the community or even donating leftover hotel food to the hungry can all be powerful avenues that shape the dreams of countless lives. All that’s needed is a socially conscious heart and the will to make a difference.
The choices are straightforward for you as a hotelier, yet the impact could be a life-changing difference of those both young and old.
Many businesses like yours have implemented socially responsible programs for their employees and guests. Continue reading to learn more about their intiatives and how your business can give back to the community, too.
1. Social Upliftment of The Homeless
A great example of a socially conscious hotel giving back to society through charity is The Goring Hotel in London. They run a joint venture called Hotel School with The Passage, the largest homeless resource center in London.
The joint venture teaches hospitality skills to the homeless and disadvantaged individuals and supports them as they take baby steps toward employment. The initiative is fully supported by London’s Five Star hotel community.
The program consists of a one-week taster course, followed by a 10-week level 1 introduction into the hospitality industry. It teaches basic hospitality and culinary skills, customer service, and food service and kitchen tips.
The candidates who can successfully complete the course are awarded a nationally recognized certificate and are eased into work with one of The Goring Hotel industry partners.
The program has made the hotel stand out in a crowd of its competitors, simply because it chose to make a difference in the local community.
2. New York City to The Rescue
Now let’s take an example of 11 Howard Hotel in New York City.
It is a hotel steeped in societal consciousness and partakes in a lot of charity work. As a result, it has inspired a lot of other hotels to take up similar activities.
The hotel allows guests to take a leading role when it comes to serving the poor. For example, whenever guests reach for the minibar in their room to quench their thirst, they are actually helping fund ‘Feed,’ an initiative that supplies food and micronutrients to malnourished children all over the globe.
They have also come up with an initiative that gives a percentage of the revenue received from any direct hotel booking to Global Poverty Project, a project aimed at eliminating extreme poverty.
As a leading socially conscious hotel, it has generated vast goodwill and continues to enjoy the patronage of socially conscious travelers who know they can trust on the hotel to stand by those in need. Not only is it good for business, it’s also great for spreading the positivity the world needs right now.
Restaurants aren’t far behind in charitable initiatives.
They are another section of the hospitality industry that’s been trying to contribute to society, which takes us to our next example…
3. Helping Refugees Stand Up
The newly opened Falafel Inc. in Washington D.C. is trying to bring to the world the plight of the middle-eastern refugees who have been displaced due to ongoing regional strife.
The restaurant uses the Share the Meal app run by the World Food Program (UN) and donates a percentage of the gross sales that week. Every $10 contributed is equivalent to a day’s meal for a hungry refugee.
The pictures of refugees are hung on the walls, which influences patrons to buy and contribute more to the betterment of human life half way across the globe.
4. Addressing Crises Plaguing the World
Let’s take the example of Compass Rose restaurant in Washington D.C. They have built a program to educate public opinion and have a healthy conversation about various crises plaguing the world every month. These are called the ‘khachapuri dialogues,’ named after their crowd favorite dish, the Georgian butter pizza.
The topic for the month of May was the Syrian refugee crisis. The restaurant regularly holds refugee dinners and contributes a percentage of their sales on specific days toward humanitarian relief.
5. Inclusivity of Every Restaurant Goer
The Red Raven restaurant near Boston has taken being socially conscious to a whole new level. By offering Purple Table Reservations, guests know that the restaurant and staff will go above and beyond to accommodate every guest’s needs.
That means offering a superior dining experience to those with dementia, Alzheimer’s, PTSD or autism.
By incorporating programs like Purple Table Reservations, restaurants can offer great food and great experiences for every individual, not just a percentage of the population.
Similarly, the Soul Kitchen from the Jon Bon Jovi (JBJ) Soul Foundation opens its doors to anyone and everyone in need of a meal. The community restaurant suggests patrons who can pay to contribute $20 so those who cannot afford it can still be provided free, warm, quality food. No one is turned away without a three-course meal, and the spirit of a socially inclusive culture is fostered.
6. Plenty of Conscience
Another restaurant leading the way is Rosa’s Fresh Pizza in Philadelphia.
With as little as $1, restaurant-goers can make a real difference in the lives of the hungry. With these little contributions, the restaurant has been able to feed as many as 50 to 100 people every day.
In fact, outside their stores are little snippets and letters of appreciation, thanking the individuals who contributed to Rosa’s and made their meals possible at a time when life wasn’t going too well for them.
It is intangible goodwill, something that money can’t buy.
7. Point donations
A larger portion of the hospitality community is revamping the meaning of loyalty points. What used to be a program benefiting returning guests has now extended its reach to charitable organizations. Hotels like Marriott and Hilton changed their loyalty point program so that guests can redeem their points in the form of donations – a free meal for the homeless, a month’s tuition for underprivileged students, or monetary donations to a wide range of organizations. With simple changes like these, hotels can not only bridge the gap between their business and the community but also help improve the lives of many around them.
Examples That Turn Into Action
As a business in the hospitality industry, take the extra step by not only offering guests your expected services but also expand your reach to local and global causes.
Look to implement charity programs that involve patrons who have the financial backing or time to contribute to the betterment of society. This will not only help your business but also support many organizations that need additional publicity and assistance.
Now that you’ve seen how businesses like yours implement creative giving initiatives, are you inspired?
Let us know in the comments if your business has or is planning to participate in a charitable program.