Hotels lend a helping hand

In the hospitality industry, caring for others is ingrained in everyone’s DNA. It’s no wonder hotel companies make it a priority to help those in need. Here are the stories of five companies who are striving to create positive change in their communities and around the globe.

Editor’s Note: These stories first appeared in the recent “Beyond the Boardroom” digital newsletter, sponsored by DirecTV Hospitality.

Hilton Worldwide Helps Veterans on the Home Front

NATIONAL REPORT—For U.S. military veterans who have admirably served their country and are making the transition from active duty to civilian life, it can be quite a challenge to find employment.

These soldiers have exhibited perseverance, determination and sheer bravery in the face of danger and uncertainty, but they face new challenges on the home front as they seek to serve their country through gainful employment. Hilton Worldwide is among the hotel brands stepping up to make sure these servicemen and servicewomen are supported with the tools they need to succeed in the workplace.

“The effort to hire veterans has been a home run in our company and in our culture, and we’re doing more and more with it. It is our intention to engage the next workforce generation and match our needs and culture,” said Matt Schuyler, EVP & chief human resources officer. “It goes all the way back to our roots. Our founder Conrad Hilton was an Army veteran and served in World War I. It’s been a natural fit based on our heritage and it matches our values, which are pretty straightforward: hospitality, leadership, integrity, teamwork, ownership and now. It was beyond a cause and fundamental to our business and therefore a natural fit. Hiring a vet is the right thing to do.”

Extended Stay America Provides Hotel Keys of Hope

NEW YORK—Designed to be a respite for cancer patients receiving outpatient treatment, the American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge offers a place for them to prepare for the journey ahead, find support resources and focus on their most pressing needs—regaining health and wellbeing.

However, the number of cancer diagnoses are climbing and more facilities such as Hope Lodge are needed around the country. But they can’t do it all alone. With a reach of 630 hotels across the U.S. and Canada, Extended Stay answered the call in 2012 to support cancer patients and their families through the Hotel Keys of Hope program in partnership with the American Cancer Society.

The goal is simple: help cancer patients and their loved ones overcome the financial burden of traveling for treatment. And they are succeeding. The Hotel Keys of Hope program is estimated to have saved cancer patients $1.2 million in lodging costs during treatment.

“When we sat down and they described the Hope Lodge program, we understood that one of the biggest barriers for cancer patients is finding somewhere to stay near where their best option for treatment is located. Often, they can get medical covered, but not lodging and transportation expenses. It’s a huge barrier to treatment because they don’t have somewhere to stay,” said Tom Seddon, CMO, Extended Stay America.

Fairmont Olympic Shows Support for Homeless People

SEATTLE—As a volunteer at a local food bank, Fairmont Olympic Hotel General Manager Markus Treppenhauer saw firsthand the current state of homelessness in the city and the precarious situation many people face as a result. He immediately wanted to help.

“I met with the manager at a food bank and learned homelessness is a big issue in Seattle. He chose not to judge the politics of homelessness, but instead, to focus on what he can do to help the people who have the problem,” Treppenhauer explained. “It’s moving to hear these stories because homelessness can hit anybody, and for the simplest reasons. It can be many tragic incidents.”

An encounter with another local nonprofit organization aimed at combatting homelessness would soon put the wheels of change in motion. Treppenhauer realized how his hotel could provide support to those who need it most. Standing at the ready for families who are facing homelessness is Mary’s Place. Led by Executive Director Marty Hartman, she and a team of caring individuals seek to empower and support homeless women, children and families by providing them with a safe place and the necessary resources to help them get back on firm ground.

Eric Trump Foundation, Trump Hotels Fight Pediatric Cancer

NEW YORK—It’s every parent’s worst nightmare: A child is facing a life-threatening illness. A diagnosis of cancer or another disease has the potential to derail a family’s hopes and dreams for their future. Through cutting-edge treatments and pioneering research, the team at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is providing help and creating hope for the country’s youngest patients and their loved ones.

For Eric F. Trump, it was plainly clear this was a cause worthy of support and there was important work to be done. Since its founding in 2006, The Eric Trump Foundation has been focused on raising money solely for the children of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and funding innovative, world-class research to treat the most invasive of diseases.

“Simply put, we are a charity with one of the lowest expense ratios in the world; we strive to raise a lot of money for kids battling terminal cancer throughout the country, and St. Jude is far and away the best pediatric hospital,” explained Trump, founder of The Eric Trump Foundation and EVP of development and acquisitions, Trump Organization.

HHM Properties Go Blue, Raise Money for Autism

NATIONAL REPORT—Autism Speaks is one of the organizations leading the charge to educate, advocate and fundraise for the cause, prevention, treatment and cure of autism. The group’s annual “Light It Up Blue” campaign—where major landmarks and local businesses turn their buildings blue on Autism Awareness Day—seeks to bring attention to and create a dialogue around this issue.

Autism is the fastest-growing developmental disability in the U.S., with the condition costing a family more than $60,000 a year in medical expenses, lost income, special education, residential care and other services, according to Autism Speaks.

Three years ago, HHM partnered with Autism Speaks to spread awareness about the disorder to staff and customers at 115 hotel properties nationally through indoor and outdoor property lighting in the nonprofit’s signature blue hue. Last year, the hotel management company added fundraising to the mix and surpassed its goal of $50,000 and garnered more than $90,000 in donations. This year, they’ve set their sights on achieving more than $150,000 in donations. HB

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