By: Andrew Carey
Hotels are highly visible members of their local cities and towns, providing great economic benefits, valuable jobs and necessary services. Most importantly, though, hotels can have a profoundly positive impact on their local communities through a wide variety of service and outreach activities.
At its core, the hospitality industry is about improving peoples’ lives. We work every day to answer the lodging needs of our guests, and to provide unique and fulfilling jobs to our associates. But often we forget about the communities in which we live and work. Sadly, these are likely to be the most needy and easiest served. Beyond the simple reality that giving back to your community is the right thing to do, it also yields major financial and operational benefits.
Across the portfolio of Newport Hospitality Group’s hotels, we help many people with their daily living needs as well as their emotional well-being. We culminate each year with a special award to the hotel that has had the most significant impact on its local community. While we recognize the most notable, all efforts are rewarded. To show how your hotel can make a difference, here are two noteworthy ways in which we give back.
We run a hotel located in a major military community, and this hotel is serious about supporting our troops and their families. The property’s associates work with numerous organizations that honor and support local and deployed military personnel. The most interesting was their involvement in Operation Shoebox. The hotel sponsored a program where employees and guests could contribute to holiday packages sent to the troops abroad. This program created an instance where associates and guests could come together to provide a critical service for the local community. A win for all.
At another location, our hotel associates have become integrally involved with a local homeless organization. The first points of involvement revolved around a small group of associates volunteering at a soup kitchen. Over the course of a year, the involvement grew and resulted in a year-end toy drive involving guests and associates. This program alone has helped to create a strong internal community where guests and associates are working together for the benefit of the local community.
Despite the general economic progress of the past five years, many regions are still lacking in many aspects of basic support infrastructure, specifically a collection point for needed items. In these cases, a hotel can step in and become an integral part of the community fabric. As an example, an NHG property located in a remote region serves its district via year-round food and clothing drives. Around this time of year, the hotel provides essentials such as winter clothes, daily staples, holiday meals and Christmas gifts, helping to cement its role as a town leader.
The net result of these efforts is both personal and financial.
Without hesitation, these works create a stronger more cohesive workforce. Our associates continually mention in our annual opinion surveys that they feel a greater bond to our hotels because they are more than simple, isolated workplaces. Their sense of community and teamwork helps to increase job satisfaction, resulting in a significant drop in associate turnover. Additionally, guests enjoy joining with associates as they serve their communities.
Financial success depends on strong community support. Our restaurants and beds are filled with local people or their acquaintances. The more that we build back into our towns, the more that they will reward us with their patronage.
We have all read about how guest loyalty is a key metric for the ongoing success of a hotel. I would suggest that an additional intangible metric be community involvement. Based upon Newport Hospitality Group’s experience in this area, it has already significantly helped increase associate commitment and reduce turnover.
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