Preferred Hotels & Resorts, has announced the winners of its 2016 GIFTTS (Great Initiatives for Today’s [Tomorrow’s] Society) program. The awards recognize hotels that go beyond the standard hospitality and show a commitment to philanthropy, sustainability, education and community.
“As travel has become more accessible, it has become an essential, significant priority for hoteliers to incorporate initiatives that minimize environmental impact, support their local community, and preserve these destinations for future generations,” said Lindsey Ueberroth, president and CEO of Preferred Hotels & Resorts in a press release.
Rosen Hotels & Resorts (Florida, USA) - Overall Corporate Entity Winner
Harris Rosen, president and COO of Rosen Hotels & Resorts, says that corporate social responsibility is key to his organization. Recent programs include the Tangelo Park Pilot (TPP) program, which offers pre-school opportunities at no cost to local residents, parenting classes and vocational or technical opportunities for parents with children, and full tuition, room, board, and living expenses for every Tangelo Park high school graduate who is accepted by a vocational school, community college, or public university in the state of Florida.
The program has been copied for the Paramore community with the addition of covering the costs of teachers’ salaries. The company has also gifted $10 million to the Rosen College of Hospitality Management at the University of Central Florida as well as supports more than 50 charities with 3,000 charitable hours in 2016 alone.
Pebble Beach Resorts (Pebble Beach, CA) - Overall Hotel Winner
The Californian resort has a tradition of philanthropic and sustainability programs; it’s donated $130 million in grants to non-profit organizations since 1947.
Last year, Pebble Beach donated more than $10 million to local organizations like the Boys & Girls Club and United Way as well as its internal “outreach team” of associate volunteers dedicated more than 1,250 hours of service on projects such as restoring facilities, planting vegetable gardens at local schools, and clothing and food drives.
The company has also created a “green team” dedicated to keeping the resort environmentally focused. It recently implemented a Renewable Energy Solar System project designed to offset 99 percent of the resort’s annual electrical use.
Royal Lancaster London (London, England) - Philanthropy Winner
The Royal Lancaster London’s motto is “We always care;” it’s evident in their pledge to do one hour of charitable work for every £10 raised. Last year, the hotel’s executive chef participated in a 10-day trek to provide sustainable energy to a remote Peruvian school, raising £11,500 in the process. The hotel also raised £47,000 through its annual ball, with proceeds benefiting The Clink Charity – a prisoner and young offender rehabilitation program – and £14,000 for five charities as part of its Community Consortium including COSMIC (Children of St. Mary’s Intensive Care) and Vital Regeneration.
Casa Dorada Los Cabos (Cabo San Lucas, Mexico) - Sustainability Winner
Casa Dorada Los Cabos has a number of sustainability programs and initiatives throughout the resort designed to conserve resources and preserve the local habitat of Cabo San Lucas. The property has installed solar panels to heat their swimming pools, actively participates in monthly beach cleanups and has retrieved 40 percent of organic waste.
Through the Turtle Sanctuary program, the hotel has rescued 635 nests and 61,477 baby turtles.
The Leela Palace Bengaluru (Bengaluru, India) - Education Winner
The Leela Palace has supported education opportunities for the economically underprivileged for the past 15 years. It offers meals, school books, bags, uniforms, education, and overall maintenance to more than 1,000 students in government-run schools.
Outside the classroom, the hotel worked with five children with disabilities and offered them employment at the hotel. The Leela Palace Bengaluru is also a supporter of the Cuddles Foundation, which provides nutrition for children fighting cancer.
NJV Athens Plaza (Athens, Greece) - Community Service Winner
NJV Athens Plaza takes part in multiple activities that help the underprivileged in Athens, like the SOS Children’s Villages, which helps children who are orphaned, abandoned, or whose families are unable to care for them.
Last year, the hotel adopted three local families, provided wheelchairs for the disabled, participated in the social soup kitchen for the homeless, prepared food for children’s institutions on International Day of Volunteering, hosted two blood drives, collected clothing and food for NGOs, and distributed 3,750 meals. The hotel also hosts free seminars for students looking to pursue careers in tourism.