As Benjamin Franklin once famously said, ‘’Do well by doing good’’
For those of us in the hospitality industry, this is a phrase that resonates deeply. As DMCs--hotels, convention bureaus, cruise lines (the list goes on)--we all make our living from the destinations and local cultures that we are operating in.
Without our destinations, we wouldn’t have a business--there would be no beautiful parks, no eclectic cities full of historic buildings, no museums, no pristine beaches, no homegrown produce, no unusual wildlife, flora or fauna. Quite simply: Without a unique destination offering, what is left for us to sell and promote?
HOW CAN WE HELP?
With this simple fact in mind, companies within our industry constantly need to ask themselves: What CSR efforts can we do to go a step further than just what we pitch for in our client programs? How can we use our businesses to improve our local communities?
CSR is having quite the ‘’renaissance’’ within the industry at the moment--and with that spotlight, now is a great time to look internally and see what could be done by our teams in order to “give back” to our planet.
One action item for a company could simply be to set a specific intention and timeline to paper, and share it with the industry. Having this in writing puts a sense of ownership to the commitment--quite simply, it’s harder to get away with not following through if you have championed a cause or organization in public!
Getting the team together for a group “think tank” on unique ways to give back to the local community in a way that is iconic to that specific destination is another great way to promote a corporate social initiative within a company. It also can be a fantastic way to get to know your community better (something every supplier in our industry is always looking to achieve) and give you ideas and concepts for future client program offerings
For example, what local artisan suppliers have opened recently that could use some support and guidance? What public spaces are looking tired and in need of a touch-up? What nonprofits have been set-up to improve local community spirit that the team can get involved in?
PRAISE FOR ‘PUP’
One such initiative is a social enterprise in Indianapolis called PUP: People for Urban Progress. PUP is a nonprofit that salvages the city’s discarded materials and redesigns them for public benefit--creating everything from public seating and bus stops to products for sale such as duffle bags and purses.
The items that PUP makes are created from waste that is unique to Indianapolis—for example, the demolition of RCA/Hoosier dome, seating from Bush Stadium, and signage from the Indy 500 and 2012 Super Bowl, therefore reducing the waste of the city while creating jobs in the process. Their motto is ‘’we make goods for good.’’
Simple, effective, creative--the perfect example of a company that we in the hospitality industry, who use the very venues that naturally create waste, can look to support.
Another unique offering that a destination has put together is an annual celebration of women called “FestiGals,” which takes place in New Orleans each June. Founded in 2011 by Diane Lyons, CMP of ACCENT New Orleans, this event is approaching its eighth year of giving back to the local community with an exciting weekend that attracts women from throughout the nation to a city that loves to party and ties in with today’s focus on corporate responsibility.
FestiGals takes a different spin on the festival culture for which New Orleans is so well known by offering an exciting celebration focused on inspiring and empowering women. The nonprofit FestiGals organization has generated funds for the Cancer Association of Greater New Orleans, Breastoration, and the New Orleans Family Justice Center with a Bodacious Bras for a Cause Brunch and Stiletto Stroll Second-Line Parade. These fun events support local charities that help women in their struggles with cancer, domestic violence and sexual assault.
When you take a step into the world of CSR, it becomes quickly obvious there are many companies within our own communities already doing good with which we should be aligning ourselves. All it takes for us as an industry community is to get on board and give the spotlight and support that they may need to take their service offerings to the next level.
This is something that we can easily do by supporting their initiatives and introducing their concepts to our clients. It’s a win-win situation--we have come up with a unique offering for our clients and we have helped create a better environment where we live. What could be sweeter?
Happy 2018, everyone!
Dan Tavrytzky is the managing director of Addison, Texas-based DMC Network, included on the latest Special Events “25 Top DMCs.” Founded in 1978, the DMC Network has grown from a handful of local offices into the meeting and event industry’s only fully member-owned community of award-winning destination management companies operating in more than 75 destinations across the United States, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central America.