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April 30, 2014

Fairmont Hotels Incorporate Social Responsibility into Corporate Events

While plenty of hotels have internal corporate social responsibility platforms, Fairmont Hotels and Resorts is trying to get its corporate guests involved in worthwhile causes as well: The company’s Meetings That Matter program lets event planners booking a meeting of 50 room nights or more donate 10 percent of the room revenue generated by the event to the charity of their choice.

Groups supporting the arts, fighting HIV/AIDS and helping children with disabilities have been popular beneficiaries of this incentive, which has been available at Fairmont hotels for several years. If the event attendees want to get physically involved, they can volunteer to clean up waterways, help local school children or support local craftspeople. Jeff Doane (pictured, right), vice president, sales and marketing at FRHI Hotels & Resorts (the umbrella company for Fairmont, Raffles and Swissotel), told International Meetings Review that the company specializes in both “socially responsible and signature events options” that are authentically local to each of the brand’s properties.

These activities, Doane added, can ultimately be beneficial for groups. “We have noted an increase in a variety of team-building activities during meetings and conferences,” he said. “[Planners] are placing a heightened value on ensuring that their teams are aligned and engaged with one another. These activities tend to drive that alignment/closer working relationship.” Fairmont also has a dedicated green conferencing program.

Technology Improvements

Beyond social responsibility, Fairmont has made efforts to keep up with other popular trends. Technology, for example, is ever-expanding, and all of the company’s hotels are constantly increasing bandwidth capacities to keep up with demand. “All of our hotels in North America are High Definition Video Conferencing-certified,” he added. This technology lets groups “beam in” speakers remotely, combining virtual and face-to-face interaction. In conjunction with event technology company PSAV, Fairmont also recently debuted a new event app, the Mobile Meeting Manager, at its North American properties.

And as more bookings go completely online (and as fewer planners have time to visit the site before the event), the company also redesigned its Fairmont Meetings platform, incorporating it into the Fairmont Corporate website with interactive floor plans and online banquet menus for all of the properties. “Additional developments include Fairmont Signature Events [with] turnkey themed banquet events for groups, and health and wellness events,” Doane said, adding that the company’s Lifestyle Cuisine program (which offers low-carb, low-fat, Mediterranean and vegetarian menus) is now being incorporated into group events.

Global and Local

Doane has noticed “a significant increase” in business travel in the Americas region compared to other regions worldwide. “With regards to banquets and events, the Southwest and California region is doing extremely well; particularly the Scottsdale and Northern California hotels.” 

Looking ahead, Doane expects that mobile apps for both meeting attendees and planners will become ubiquitous--especially if planners seek to reduce paper waste at their events. “Socially responsible meetings have become increasingly more important,” he said. “Meetings and events that provide an authentic destination, coupled with innovative facilities and corporate social responsibility have become the new normal.” 

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