In mid-December, AccorHotels announced a partnership with CSRconnections, a full-service provider of activities designed to fulfill corporate social responsibility objectives for meeting groups. Called "Leave Your Footprint," the offering is intended to help planners using any of Accor's 85 Fairmont, Novotel, Sofitel, and Swissotel properties in North America incorporate CSR into meeting itineraries in the ways their organizations desire.
The program features a menu of activities and charity partners in each destination that planners can choose from based on group size, budget, and preferred charitable focus. Logistics and on-site execution are managed in tandem by AccorHotels and CSRconnections, and charity partners are vetted by CSRconnections. Possible experiences can range from straightforward activities such as packing school backpacks with supplies or packing hygiene kits for homeless shelters, to more complex teambuilding exercises that facilitate creativity and collaboration. These include a scavenger hunt for foodstuffs and supplies for a food bank or community kitchen, a competitive customized wheelchair build, a pop-up arts and crafts studio decorating a children’s hospital “birthday buckets,” or a design makeover of a room in a local youth or crisis center through painting and furniture assembly.
Fully 74 percent of planners intend to incorporate CSR into their upcoming programs, according to the 2018 “Incentive Travel Industry Index” created by Society of Industry Travel Executives Foundation, Incentive Research Federations, and Financial & Insurance Conference Professionals along with J.D. Power. But “one of the challenges in planning such events is the lack of local knowledge, logistical knowledge, and time needed to create a meaningful experience," says Chris Ruane, vice president of meetings & events for AccorHotels. "We wanted to make it easy for groups to leave a positive footprint in the communities they visit."