A simple initiative for hotels helps guests donate items to the local community.
The Giving Bag is a way for guests to signal that the item they left behind is unwanted and can be put to use elsewhere, rather than just an item they missed when packing.
Designed by Cornell University graduates Lilia Karimi and Quinn Cox, they say, “The idea came to us after we attended a conference in Las Vegas. We had too many conference giveaways and clothing to fit in the carry-on suitcase. We wanted to leave the items in the room and hope that an employee would keep them, but having graduated from Cornell's School of Hotel Administration, we knew that if we just left the unwanted items in the room, they would end up in the lost and found for three to six months even though there was no intention of claiming them.
“It didn't seem fair to anyone. It was a waste of hotel employees' time logging these items in the lost and found, and it was a waste of these perfectly good items that could benefit someone in need.”
Giving Bag re-launched as a business this July, with a brand new website and blog: http://www.givingbag.co/ . The newly designed bags are made in Seattle from 100% sustainable and recycled burlap material.
Hotels can place a bag in their rooms allowing guests to leave unwanted items, then donate those items to local charities, bypassing the lost and found. With many families travelling this season for celebrations with family, undoubtedly some will be thinking of others and would like to leave a small gift or donation behind.
Giving Bag is being trialled by several hotels around the world including Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc, The Statler Hotel, Château Saint-Martin Spa Apogee Courchevel, the Lanesborough in London and The Brenners Park Hotel & Spa.
Brice Kemper, Deputy Director at Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc , brought Giving Bag to the hotel following a management course at Cornell University.
He said, “We have a department dedicated to Corporate Social Responsibility in our hotels. Julie Poirot is the CSR Regional Manager for three hotels which are part of the Oetker Collection : L’Apogée Courchevel, the Château Saint-Martin & Spa and the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc.
“Giving Bag is now part of our sustainable development approach with the motto ‘Guests for a safe and guaranteed future’. We encourage our guests to contribute to our vision for a sustainable future and we commit alongside our partners that are linked to the values we defend.”
Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc began using the Giving Bag in 2015 when 24 Bags were donated. In 2016, 62 Giving Bags were donated. Their sister property, the Château Saint-Martin & Spa, adopted the Giving Bag late in 2016 and has donated 20 Giving Bags in their first year. “We are seeing good results already, “ said Poirot.
She continued, "For Brice, it was a perfect idea to link the vision of the CSR department, guests, and Giving Bag. We feel it is important to raise awareness about sustainability among our guests. In this way our clients can directly assist local populations with these donations that are given to the Red Cross. The following year, to thank our guests for their donation, we offer them a cuddly toy from the Red Cross upon their arrival in the room.”
Any hotels wishing to adopt Giving Bag should visit the website for more information .