Helping others is energizing. Helping others as a team is invigorating and bonding, which is why corporate social responsibility (CSR) continues to be a popular component of offsite meetings and incentive travel programs.
While figures from the Incentive Travel Industry Index show that inclusion of CSR in incentive events is lower overall than last year, the 24-month scenario and regional story are quite different. Comparing the results from 2015/2016 with 2017/2018, CSR is actually up two points across all regions. The most recent index study is a joint effort of The Society for Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE), Incentive Research Foundation (IRF), and Financial and Insurance Conference Professionals (FICP).
Across all global regions, CSR and sustainability are second only to the national economy in terms of impact on planning and implementation of incentive travel programs.
Caesars Entertainment has long been at the forefront of helping its group travel clients incorporate socially responsible efforts into their programs. Its “Meetings for Good” menu provides a number of volunteer opportunities through nonprofit organizations focused in key service areas. Each organization focuses on different areas of service, offering both on-site and off-site volunteer options for groups of different sizes and schedules.
Organizations that Caesars collaborates with include the Anti-Defamation League, with its mission to take a stand against hate and stop bullying by supporting inclusive school environments; Wind Dreams, which supports older individuals in need of assisted living homes; and Clean the World, which builds hygiene kits from recycled goods to prevent hygiene-related disease.
“CSR is an important component for many companies,” says Reina Herschdorfer, director of marketing for national meetings and events at Caesars Entertainment. “Caesars Entertainment knows that meetings are built upon the foundation of creating personal connections, driving business and building stronger communities.”
In a blog post written this summer for the Society for Incentive Travel Excellence, Ben Sauvage, CEO of Connect DMC in the Dominican Republic, says that CSR actions create a bridge between travelers and the local communities where they hold their events. Sauvage’s post was written after participating in a CSR event his company helped create for a corporate client. That particular group of volunteers helped complete a longer project of rebuilding a neglected school that was damaged by Hurricane Irma. Over 200 volunteers worked together with children from the community on the final touches and donated books, backpacks, dental kits, uniforms, shoes and even bicycles for those who live remotely and have to walk a couple of hours to get to school every day.
Over the course of the entire project, Connect DMC and its corporate clients also planted trees and grass surrounding the property, and closed it in with a new painted fence and gravel. “Most important of all was installation of internet and electricity so the children could have access to new technologies and discover the world,” he says.
“Looking at this accomplishment and its meaning for this amazing school and community, I realize the important role CSR has in the incentive travel industry. Giving just a little bit of time, we created a lasting legacy that has transformed the lives of the community and also inspired teamwork and collaboration,” Sauvage adds.