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Hotels & Other Suppliers

In an age when engagement in the support of the well-being of a destination - its residents and environment - is receiving greater attention by the media and travelers alike, hoteliers and other suppliers have a distinct advantage - freedom of choice. Then, the question becomes: Is your property or transport company ready to choose voluntary service as your practice in support of your destination's well-being?

Photo Courtesy Of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, LLC All Rights Reserved

An Overview

If the argument for getting involved in VolunTourism were simply limited to social responsibility, one could easily suggest, and rightly so, that an alternative form of "making a difference" could be more functional and beneficial to a hotel or other supplier. "Greening" your operations is certainly one option that would demonstrate commitment to social responsibility and reduce overall costs. But what if you represent a Five-Star property or similar venue where "greening," by some of its very practices, poses a challenge to your "Diamond Status"?

In the case of VolunTourism you have other attractive elements:

  • It has the potential to positively affect your balance sheet;
  • It can be applied to your in-house employee-giving programs;
  • It can become an affinity program for your clientele; or
  • You may choose to utilize it to strengthen relationships with your vendors & supplier

Why you engage in a VolunTourism initiative may seem irrelevant. For example, if you think of VolunTourism as simply another PR opportunity, you are completely overlooking the potential.

In order to maximize "The Role of VolunTourism" as it relates to your entity, you must be very clear about what you envision as the outcomes of developing your strategy - be very clear from the outset - this IS strategic. A variety of suppliers are utilizing VolunTourism in many different ways. The Hilton San Francisco, for example, has a full-time staff person, Jo Licata, dedicated to organizing VolunTourism projects for in-bound meeting groups. Travelocity and Orbitz (via CheapTickets) have organized their respective approaches to VolunTourism as well. On 1 April 2008, The Ritz Carlton Hotel Company, LLC, launched its Give Back Getaways program; and since that time a number of properties worldwide have begun offering similar engagements including: The Mandarin Oriental, Six Senses, Fairmont, Rock Resorts, The Good Hotel, and numerous others.

In four steps you must:

  1. Determine WHY you will use VolunTourism
  2. Determine WHAT resources you will invest in the initiative
  3. Determine HOW you will implement your strategy, and
  4. Establish a PLAN for implementation, evaluation, and modification

It will take effort, a strong team member to lead the charge, and lasting commitment. Measuring your success will be relatively easy if you have clarified your "Why."

For additional resources, review the webcasts and articles listed below, or look to archives of The VolunTourist Newsletter, The VolunTourism.org Blog, or The Research Forum with Dr. Nancy McGehee and other sections of this website. Should you have in-depth questions about how to approach VolunTourism as a Hotel or Other Supplier, feel free to contact us.

THE VOLUNTOURIST - Past Webcast for Hotel & Other Supplier Representatives

The Concierge & VolunTourism - 24 February 2009


Hoteliers are increasing their capacity to assist guests in identifying voluntary service projects in which they may participate while staying at a property. The concierge has a role in this process, but what is it?

1) What is the role of a concierge?

2) How can a concierge assist a guest, or guests, in identifying voluntourism experiences within a destination or in connecting with an existing program at a specific property?

3) How can such a service benefit all voluntourism stakeholders?

Guests addressed these topics and discussed others during this episode of The VolunTourist.

[Listen To The Webcast] (Click Here To Download)


Cynthia Adkins, Founder of Concierge At Large; Clive Charlwood, Executive Director of One Brick; Emily Oestreicher, Sales Manager of the Good Hotel; and Lyn Santos, Ecology Manager for the Fairmont Mayakoba.

Eco & Sustainable Lodges & VolunTourism - 2 December 2008


(1) What are the characteristics of eco- & sustainable lodges?

(2) What are some of the VolunTourism initiatives that eco & sustainable lodges are addressing in their neighboring communities and villages?

(3) How can VolunTourists play an active role in supporting the development of more VolunTourism efforts in conjunction with eco & sustainable lodges in destinations around the world?

Guests addressed these topics and discussed others during this episode of The VolunTourist.

[Listen To The Webcast] (Click Here To Download)


Phill Klamm, President, Wrestling The World; Charles Motley, Founder, Chachapoyas Tours; Jeff Pzena & Holly Masek, of Cotton Tree Lodge, LLC.

The Ritz Carlton & VolunTourism - 25 March 2008


How has The Ritz Carlton Company, LLC, created its VolunTourism Initiative? Why are they branching into this arena? What are some of the challenges to keep in mind when developing such initiatives? Guests address these topics and discuss others during this episode of The VolunTourist.

[Listen To The Webcast] (Click Here To Download)


Mark Sherwin, General Manager, The Ritz-Carlton, Tyson's Corner; Sue Stephenson, Vice President, Community Footprints, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, LLC.

Suggested Readings From The VolunTourist Newsletter

VolunTourism del Hilton - Jo Licata, Community Projects Manager for the Hilton San Francisco, shares her thoughts on VolunTourism and how it has impacted clients, staff, and the local community

Outrigger Waikiki - Hotel employees were at the heart of a local volunteerism effort when guests began to express interest in joining them as Voluntourists.