What is Room to Reward?
By the end of 2019, the hotel industry will have donated £500,000 worth of breaks to society’s Hidden Heroes at virtually no cost.
This landmark achievement is made possible through Room to Reward – a unique charity that works on a simple premise. Hotels donate their anticipated unsold rooms, charities and communities nominate their inspirational volunteers for a break, Room to Reward make it happen.
Come the end of the year, over 1000 Hidden Heroes will have been nominated for a Room to Reward break. People like Denise, an inspirational source of help and support for Hospitality Action. Her nomination explained how “Denise is an invaluable help to Hospitality Action. She visits grant applicants who need support, hosts lunches and teas, writes around 2,000 Christmas and birthday cards and helps post 1500 newsletters every two months. She has made such a huge impact on so many people’s lives over the years. She’s amazing and really is our hero.”
Why does it matter?
There are Hidden Heroes like Denise all over the country. People who give up their time and skills to help and make a difference to those in need. Nearly 12 million people volunteer at least once a month. They are the lifeblood of their charities and communities yet ask for nothing in return for their dedication.
Room to Reward enables the voluntary sector to recognise the impact and importance of the Hidden Heroes and give them just a little bit of time to take back for themselves.
Every night of the week, there are – on average – 140,000 unsold hotel rooms across the U.K. This equates to £5billion in wasted assets every single year. With just a fraction of these empty rooms, Room to Reward is creating memorable experiences and saying ‘thank you’ to those who give up their time to help others and truly make a difference.
“One of the first things you learn in hotel management is that an empty room has no value,” says Peter Ducker, Institute of Hospitality’s CEO and an Ambassador for Room to Reward. “By working with Room to Reward, you do unlock tremendous value in them.”
Over 400 hotels have joined the initiative since its foundation in 2015, a number that is set to rise to more than 500 in the next few months. Properties working with the scheme include commercial groups, iconic industry titans, boutique independents and small B&B’s. Regardless of a hotel’s size or stature, the principle of utilising an unsold room applies universally.
What impact has Room to Reward had?
“Room to Reward is such a simple way to put rooms that would otherwise sit empty to great use. It’s an easy thing for hoteliers to be part of and we are delighted to support this charity.”
Andrew Stembridge, Executive Director, Iconic Luxury Hotels
“We are excited to be part of Room to Reward. Inevitably, there are times during the year when our hotels have empty rooms, so we are delighted to use a handful of these to say ‘thank you’ to people who do so much for our society.”
Jason Carruthers, Managing Director, Jurys Inn
“We are fortunate to have the support of lots of tremendously dedicated, passionate and talented volunteers, and it can be a little frustrating for us as staff that our budget cannot stretch to a way to thank them adequately. Working with Room to Reward is incredible as we are able to recognise those volunteers who really go above and beyond with a much-deserved trip away at some fantastic hotels. Volunteers volunteer their time because they care about a cause, but it’s really valuable for us as an organisation to recognise that care and thank our volunteers wherever we can – that way the volunteers are likely to feel motivated to volunteer with us for longer, and that’s very important not only for us, but for the young people we work with. Thanks Room to Reward!”
Amy Senior, Volunteer Programme Manager, Whizz-Kidz
“When I was a teenager, I was horse-mad. I spent every weekend and most of my school holidays at Billy Walsh’s stable on Ham Common. Many times, in a horse box, I visited the New Forest where Lord Cowdray’s team were playing Ham. I vowed to myself that one day I would be a guest at the Balmer Lawn. I am now almost 82. Thank you Room to Reward for making it possible.”
Denise, Hidden Hero, Hospitality Action
Room to Reward’s next target is to reach £1million worth of donated breaks. A big target, but one that can actually be achieved with less than 1% of the annual number of unsold rooms.
“Room to Reward is a genius concept. Simple, effective, highly motivational and something that you should be taking part in. Collectively we can make a real difference to the lives of those who deserve our thanks and applause.“
Robin Sheppard FIH MI, Chair: Institute of Hospitality & Room to Reward Ambassador