Targeted corporate social responsibility programs bridge the attendee-buyer-supplier experience gap.
“CSR is in the DNA of what we do,” explains Hyatt Hotels Corporation’s SVP of Global Sales, Asad Ahmed. “It’s the cultural embodiment of the company.” We’re chatting with Ahmed about Hyatt’s role in moving the needle on sustainability within the hospitality industry. For Hyatt, the journey begins with what he calls “backyard programming,” or CSR programs that bring together hundreds of hotel employees and MICE groups.
Last year in New York City, they partnered with The Good Heart Group, an organization that brings uplifting art, entertainment and learning experiences to those with special health needs. In Boston and Seattle, they donated more than 100 handbags to Dress for Success, an org that provides professional business attire to women. Backyard programming in Dallas meant giving time to animals at a no kill shelter, and, in Atlanta, the entire Georgia State men’s basketball team joined forces to stuff backpacks with supplies for 350 local elementary school kids.
Keeping a finger on the pulse of the communities where Hyatt properties do or could reside makes room for “growth with intent,” Ahmed says, as an explanation to the hotel company’s slow and steady growth—less than 700 hotels worldwide—and proudly so.
April marks Hyatt’s “Global Month of Community Service.” More than 7,000 Hyatt employees from over 170 properties in 44 countries clocked more than 26,000 hours last year, whether hosting a cooking workshop at Andaz London Liverpool Street that delivered cakes to members of the community who were once homeless, or teaching hygiene, sanitation and human trafficking awareness to school girls in Kathmandu, Nepal. If you’re planning an event in Chicago this year, check out the “Portraits of Understanding” photography exhibit at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. This project connected 28 breast cancer patients and survivors. Hyatt also teams up with two relief and humanitarian organizations—the American Red Cross and Mercy Corps—to assist in disaster response around the world.
CSR is in the DNA of what we do. It’s the cultural embodiment of the company.
By and by, you’d be hard-pressed to find a Hyatt property that doesn’t offer localized CSR programs. This is in addition to their behind-the-scenes initiatives that help employees gain the skills and education they need to feel secure and remain competitive in the workplace. To this, Ahmed says, “CSR is not a one-off.”
CSR Is Trending Big
CSR programs are now a meetings and incentives expectation, with the desire to make and receive a transformational impact high on the to-do list across the spectrum of attendees. If you’re considering Hyatt for your next event, consider adding in a CSR component that connects attendees to the destination and local community in a meaningful way.
Here are two hyperlocal CSR programs to get you started:
Horsing Around in New Mexico
At the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort and Spa groups experience a team building-giveback combo with the Tamaya Horse Rehabilitation Program. The on-site nonprofit provides shelter, care and rehabilitation to neglected and abandoned horses in New Mexico, and groups can interact with the horses and work with stable wranglers to care for the animals and build stables and corrals for new horses in the program. Organizations can also adopt, name and support a horse through rehabilitation, receiving a sponsorship certificate and photo of the horse and regular updates along the way.
Paddle for a Cure in Maui
Hyatt Regency Maui started the annual “Maui Paddle for a Cure” giveback a few years ago and it has since grown into one of the most sought-after CSR experiences in the state. Groups participate in a non-competitive paddle along Ka’anapali Beach followed by a benefit concert that rallies the community and attendees in the fight against breast cancer. All donations and registration fees support Susan G. Komen Hawaii in their efforts for breast cancer education, prevention and treatment programs for women and men in the Hawaiian Islands. In 2016, the event raised more than $45,000.