It was a year ago that I first wrote here about the launch of Kind Traveler. For those of you not familiar with the hotel booking platform, the way it works is simple: travelers give a $10 nightly donation to a local charity that positively impacts the neighborhood they are traveling to, or to a charity of choice; as reward for their donation, travelers unlock an exclusive hotel rate and special perks with curated hotels and unique properties throughout the United States, Mexico, Canada, the Caribbean, and Costa Rica. According to Jessica Blotter, CEO & Co-Founder of Kind Traveler, 90 percent of the time the rate is at least as competitive or more competitive than the hotel’s own website. Perks given by hotels range from resort fee waivers to wine at check-in to restaurant or spa discounts. All of the donations raised on the Kind Traveler platform are given to charity. The actual booking takes place on the hotel’s own website.
When launching a year ago, it was Blotter’s goal to double the number of hotels and destinations in the first year. Instead, that number tripled. “We have seen consistent growth month after month,” she says. Now, there are 57 hotels, 49 charities, and 24 destinations that have teamed up with Kind Traveler. I strongly encourage your participation. If you are not currently working with a charity, Kind Traveler can help match you with one.
Kind Traveler does have some work to do to expand its geographical base. There are many states without representation. “We definitely want to have the primary and secondary markets in the U.S. covered before we expand internationally,” Blotter says. “Our target is U.S. travel. We do receive requests for different destinations.” Cities coming soon include Seattle, Portland (Ore.), Phoenix, San Diego, Denver, Orlando and Boston.
Blotter says she is anticipating rapid growth in the coming year. “We are in the process of seeking investors,” she says.
More Than $7,000 Raised in First Year
Year one saw $7,300 raised for charities. “In New York, we fed 500 New Yorkers through City Harvest,” Blotter says. “We planted 100 trees with the Arbor Day Foundation.” Almost 4,000 pieces of literature about breast cancer were distributed. Seventy-seven days of care were provided for animals rescued from illegal circuses.
Kind Traveler has eight people on staff, not all of whom are full time. The organization has a publicist and was recently featured in the Los Angeles Times. Its weekly newsletter reaches 200,000 subscribers and it has 76,000 social media followers.
“Hotels are very proud of the partnership,” Blotter says. “We suggest that hotels celebrate the partnership on their website.”
Kind Traveler’s goals are purposefully aligned with the United Nations’ Global Goals for sustainable development that includes preventing poverty and hunger, protecting the planet, and promoting wellbeing for individuals and animals.
Kind Traveler’s timing could not be better. According to the 2017 Cone Communications CSR Study, 89 percent of consumers will switch to a brand that supports a good cause over one that does not, given similar price and quality.
Sustainability Seminar Finalized for HX: The Hotel Experience
The sustainability seminar, “2020 Vision—Lodging’s Leaders Set the Sustainability Bar Higher,” has been finalized for HX: The Hotel Experience. The event will take place on Monday, November 13 from 11:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on the Hotel stage at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City. Don’t miss this seminar including Denise Naguib, Vice President, Sustainability & Supplier Diversity, Marriott International, Inc., Gardner Jackson, Assistant Vice President, the Nalco Water division of Ecolab USA Inc., and Lindsay Wilkinson, part of InterContinental Hotels Group’s Corporate Responsibility team focused on Environmental Sustainability. I will be moderating the session. Attendee registration for HX: The Hotel Experience, November 12 to 13, 2017, is now open at the newly redesigned website, www.thehotelexperience.com.
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