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Taking notice

The National Football League in the United States is embroiled in a public-relations nightmare at the moment as some of its players are in the middle of very public legal battles due to separate claims of domestic abuse for hitting a woman and a 4-year-old child. Generally speaking, the public is outraged by the perceived poor response by the league, and it is putting a deep stain on a sport beloved by so many.

This story has importantly brought to the fore numerous discussions about morals and ethics, as well as disgust for how fellow human beings can still be objectified and treated so poorly. Of course, everyone is free to judge as they choose, and the alleged perpetrators are entitled to have their days in court. But it speaks to long and tragic list of bigger societal problems, and it has moved me to write about what a positive impact I perceive the hotel industry makes on people’s lives.

First, this week Carlson’s Radisson brand, which is a big corporate sponsor of the team for which one of the accused plays, suspended its sponsorship of its hometown Minnesota Vikings. I’m sure it was not an easy decision to make based on the popularity of the team, but based on the fact that the Radisson logo was very visible on the wall during the press conference where the team initially supported and reinstated its accused player before finally deciding to exempt the player from activity, and because of what I perceive as the fine values of the Carlson family, they made a great decision to disassociate from the team. I am proud of their actions.

Also this week, Marriott International partnered with A Woman’s Nation “The Envelope Please” initiative, designed to encourage and enable guests to leave tips and notes of thanks for room attendants in designated envelopes.

A January non-partisan report by A Woman’s Nation examined the lives and work of the 42 million women and 28 million children living in or on the brink of poverty in the United States. It called on all individuals to recognize the power they have to impact women, and that one way to do so is by leaving good tips for room attendants when traveling. Marriott’s support of this initiative is a positive step to help the poor. Again, this benevolence should be recognized and applauded. Yes, some might argue Marriott should just pay higher wages, and that is a whole other discussion. Yesterday, however, I chose to look at this move on its face, and I see it as thoughtful and positive.

There is more. Very recently, the Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA) announced a partnership with Clean the World Foundation in a joint community-outreach effort to benefit the homeless and underserved across the globe.

To celebrate World Food Day on October 16, Banyan Tree will launch a special initiative, Stay for Good Feeding Communities Together, to support and empower communities across the world through food. Specific projects include feeding children located near Banyan Tree Phuket, Thailand; helping autistic children at a school close to Banyan Tree Tianjin Riverside in China; or delivering fresh fruit and vegetables to a primary school near Banyan Tree Seychelles, and the aim of each initiative is to create long-lasting ties to empower local communities.

Dress for Success has teamed up with Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants, San Francisco, to create a travel package for altruists. The US$1 million Suite Success travel package wil help get more women throughout the country back to work. All of the proceeds from this package will directly benefit thousands of women with financial support to help them along on their path to professional success and self-sufficiency.

Montage Hotels & Resorts, also based in California, is rewarding young humanitarians with scholarships to pursue their dreams with its second-annual Montage Memory Makers contest. The luxury hotel group is casting a search for 13- to 17-year-old humanitarians who are making impactful changes in their communities based on four criteria: community service; impact of achievement on the community and beyond; creativity of achievement; and inspirational value to others. Five winners will be awarded a US$10,000 scholarship to their accredited college or university.

All of these examples passed my desk in the past two weeks, and there are so many more examples each day. While this industry is not perfect in meeting all of its obligations — and not one industry is — when I see the continual efforts being made to reach out to the less fortunate and support causes that teach tolerance and good values, I feel proud to cover this business. Please, keep it up. Society really needs your thoughtfulness.

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