A feel good trend

Kleenex invited random individuals to send complimentary packs of tissues to family and friends who had fallen ill. A Hyatt allowed staff members to unexpectedly pick up the tab for bar drinks or spa services. KLM surprised customers at check-in with personalized gifts to be used during their trip. Coca-Cola set up a special vending machine on a college campus that dispensed endless drinks. And as a hotel supplier, it was a no-brainer to drop off bedding samples to a local SPCA and coffee for the nurses at the Children’s Hospital.

Whether it’s a full-fledged Pay It Forward campaign or a spontaneous Act Of Kindness such as comping a guest’s WiFi fee or picking up their parking or bar tab, the holidays and hotels are the perfect pairing to exercise either trend.

Rennick Andreoli, the President of RDA Hotel Management Co., recently took the trend a step further with a touching stroke of genius. Beginning with a personal $10,000 investment meant to awaken the urge in those attending an Awards Banquet, he cleverly distributed envelopes with $20.00 each to the 500 people in attendance and asked each recipient to “Pay It Forward,” by selecting one of three charities listed on the envelope, or, by writing in a fourth, to receive the money.

By the end of the night his initial investment “doubled” as his goal of “awakening the urge to give” kicked-in thanks to those who added more money to their envelopes before turning them in!

Below are some simple ideas that are easy for hotels to execute and perform.

  1. Ask Housekeeping to set aside out-of-commission items such as soaps, shampoos and bedding to donate to a local shelter or Goodwill.
  2. Host year-end babysitting services for staff members so they can run holiday errands after work or enjoy a night out.
  3. Invite staff and guests to write a handwritten letter of gratitude to an individual, include a complimentary upgrade or services card and mail it on their behalf.
  4. Offer holiday favorites such as eggnog, hot cider, cookies and milk to guests arriving for a holiday week check-in.
  5. Offer your pool cabana at no charge to those interested in hosting a last minute New Year party and in exchange, give a percentage of the F&B tab to a local charity of their choice.
  6. Host an Ugly Christmas Sweater Day for staff members who agree to donate their sweaters to a local shelter after wearing them during their shift.
  7. Inspire local school children and express gratitude to a Teacher of the Year by lending a meeting room to host class for a day.
  8. Offer complimentary car washes for guests using valet and donate a percentage of the tips to a local charity.

This week’s trend takeaway is a reminder about how little it takes, whether it’s a dollar or a smile, to make someone’s day. I look forward to hearing if you have participated in one of the giving trends this holiday season and if so, what was it?