Viewpoint: How many empty rooms do you have tonight?
You can't resell an empty hotel room, so why not offer it up to those who deserve a break and give something back, asks Nicolas Roach
Giving back has never been more important. It's important for reputation – both for individual hotels and the hospitality industry as a whole. It's important for staff recruitment, retention and motivation – people are proud to work for an organisation that does its share. Ultimately though, it's most important for who we give back to.
As hoteliers, we have more ways to do our bit than most. Whether it's sustainability drives, charity functions, auction prizes or giveaways, the industry presents numerous unique opportunities for us to give back.
That's why I'm so proud and delighted that – alongside what they already do – many hotels are taking advantage of the easy method of giving back offered by our charity, Room to Reward.
What began as a little idea back in 2015 has grown into a leading initiative through which hoteliers can recognise hidden heroes in our society. Room to Reward works on a simple premise: hotels donate their unsold rooms, charities and community groups nominate their outstanding volunteers for a well-earned, one- or two-night break, and we make it happen.
More than 500 hotels across the UK have come together to give some time back to over 1,000 hidden heroes. Collectively, they have donated in excess of £500,000 worth of breaks, at virtually no cost.
This is an incredible achievement by the hospitality industry, and testament to the generosity and desire to give back that exists across it. Room to Reward is supported by major hotel groups, iconic properties and small, independent B&Bs. Across the sector, the concept of using an unsold room is the same. It's a wasted asset that can never be sold again, so why not use it to recognise the extraordinary dedication of our unsung heroes?
It's an initiative that enables us all to do our bit and give something back to a group of inspirational people who – until now – have never been given a tangible ‘thank you' for what they do. We all benefit from the work of charities, community groups and public bodies.
Without dedicated volunteers, these organisations simply couldn't function. Room to Reward has helped recognise hidden heroes right across the voluntary sector. From major national charities to small-butvital organisations, the NHS to the police, volunteers are everywhere, making major differences. A short break away is our way of making a difference to them in return.
We are uniquely positioned to do something meaningful with inventory that would otherwise go to waste. The donation of a few unsold rooms a year is simple – the impact is huge.
Of the thousands of Room to Reward breaks taken so far, many have been lifechanging. Family holidays, special celebrations and once-in-a-lifetime trips that, without the support of our hotels, would not be possible.
This year, our aim is to donate £1m worth of breaks to thousands of volunteers. I urge you to join our journey and help us give a little bit of time back to the Hidden Heroes.
Find out more at www.roomtoreward.org Nicolas Roach is founder of Room to Reward and chairman of Nicolas James Group, the owner of Harbour Hotels Group
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