November has arrived and holiday season planning is well under way at hospitality businesses all over the world. Teams are busying themselves, readying for the annual bookings surge; scrambling to get decorations in order to dazzle upcoming guests; and creating amazing holiday menus to match the glee of the season. But that’s not the only prepping underway. A lot of accommodation businesses across the globe are also preparing to put their Good Deed hats on for the holidays.
We’re not talking about the behind-the-scenes philanthropy partnerships that many hospitality chains champion throughout the year (which is worthy of admiration!). Instead, we’re referring to holiday-centric charity efforts that engage your team, your guests, and even area residents. It’s the perfect way to jolly up your place, help the community and boost your public image.
Here are some suggestions to consider putting into play this season.
HOST A TOY DRIVE
Help out local chapters of organizations that help families over the holidays (i.e. The Boys & Girls Club, Toys for Tots) by hosting a toy drive at your property. To capture interest and attract donations, offer some enticement! For example, for every toy donation, give a voucher for a complimentary cocktail and appetizer in the lounge — or have room service deliver warm cookies, cocoa and a thank you note that evening.
If time allows for planning, you could also produce a Toy Drive-themed event in your ballroom or social space. Guests can purchase tickets, bring an unwrapped toy to donate, and enjoy a festive evening with a spectacular tree, live entertainment, cocktails and holiday-style appetizers.
Make sure to publicize your toy drive through press releases, on your website, through social media channels and on signage at your property. That way, you can guarantee a great response and enjoy ample free publicity.
BOND THE TEAM THROUGH VOLUNTEERING
A wonderful way to promote the spirit of the holidays with your team is through volunteerism. Arranging a day where management and staffers can work together at a food bank, a disadvantages children’s organization or other community outreach can do wonders for morale, and be incredibly fulfilling as a team. Make sure you take photos to share on social media (there’s nothing wrong with promotion!) — and maybe even create a tasteful photo collage to show guests how your team goes above and beyond for the community.
DONATE A PERCENTAGE OF BOOKINGS TO CHARITY
Donating a percentage of each booking to charities over the holiday season will win guests over every time. Choose a date range for the promotion and select an array of non-profit organizations for maximum appeal (i.e. a children’s hospital, local animal shelter, support for war veterans, Make a Wish Foundation, etc.). When a guest books a room online (or over the phone), give them the option to choose which organization they want to support. When sending out the booking confirmation email or text, make sure to include a blurb thanking them for championing a cause by choosing your property for their stay.
CREATE EASY, CHARITABLE HOLIDAY OPTIONS FOR GUESTS
When the holiday season is underway, generosity is on full display. And offering guests simple, stress-free ways to do some good over the vacation is something they’ll appreciate…and remember. Put together special room packages, such as a Holiday for Pets Package (targeted travelers with pets), where pet fees are waived in exchange for a daily donation to a local animal charity. Or promote a premium holiday cocktail in the bar, which donates 10% of proceeds to a worthwhile cause. The secret to success is subtlety — promotion on the website, social media and in-house signage is all you need — being too forward can work against you.
Does your accommodation business plan on helping non-profits during the holidays? Have you had success with charitable holiday activities before? Tell us your stories!