Many readers love to give back when traveling, whether it is helping build houses for the underprivileged with a church group, or simply packing with a purpose to bring much-needed basic daily supplies to those in need.

Ritz-Carlton has just launched Impact Experiences, which is a way you can give back while staying at many of their properties for a group function such as a conference. The new program was ushered in at the Travel + Social Good summit that was held at the United Nations, and was developed by Ritz-Carlton’s Community Footprints program. Some examples of Impact Experiences according to their website

  • Heritage farming project on an organic farm in Arizona
  • Supporting critical coastal trail and rain forest restoration in Kapalua, Hawaii
  • Protecting the natural wetland environment in Donau-Auen National Park near Vienna, Austria
  • Planting the endangered native species of trees in Dubai
    Collaborating with The Battery Conservancy in New York to help beautify the 25-acre public park
  • Building bird nests for migrating rare bird species at the remarkable wetland that is the Futian Mangrove Natural Reserve Area in Shenzhen, China

To me, all of these sound like a wonderful way to get involved locally and make a positive difference.

There are also on-property options mentioned that conference leaders can incorporate into their lunch breaks or receptions, such as –

  • Partnering with the hotel’s culinary team to prepare the ingredients for a regionally adapted dish for donation to a local hunger relief organization.
  • Assembling school supplies and art materials in backpacks for donation to students whose academic success is threatened by poverty.
  • Collaborating in teams to assemble emergency preparedness kits to be shipped to a disaster relief facility or community organization.

Interested meeting planners are urged to contact their sales representative, so my educated guess is that these activities are all available at an add-on price just like adding soft drinks to the lunches. As an organizer of events myself, I know that attendees of conferences love added benefits and something like this seems perfect for team-building exercises. Making a positive change in the local community is great on so many levels and hopefully the experiences don’t come with such a large price tag that companies cannot justify them. I’ll be curious to see how popular a program this becomes.

If you’re a company owner or organizer, would you include one of these experiences at your next company function? Or, if your company had one of these experiences included during a function would you attend one as a participant?