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Over the past few years, we've seen a variety of attempts by charities to grab the loose change from people's pockets--the most common example being the option to round up to the nearest dollar and donate the difference at the grocery store checkout. But this trend is also spreading to the travel industry.
Airlines have gotten on board, both on-site and in the booking process. Jaunted reported in April that UNICEF's "Change for Good" charity campaign would ask travelers for their excess change at the end of a flight, and you can now also "round up" when purchasing a ticket on certain airlines.
So naturally, we can't help but wonder if hotels will get on board too. We've seen some hotels here and there donating a portion of the room rate to a specific charity cause but that only happens if a guest books a specific package that mentions the donation. And the donation is usually only offered for a short period of time. Yet what if hotels began taking a small percentage of the room rate--all the time, on every booking, no matter what--and gave that to charity?
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We know how hard it can be getting out of bed sometimes. We normally use our iPhone alarm to jolt us awake (followed by a big cup of strong black tea), but we're aware there are other more soothing ways to get the job done. Like...a wake-up call from Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson when you stay at The Strand in New York City.
Sound crazy? Here's a little background: 50 Cent, along with entrepreneur Chris Clarke, founded a line of all-natural energy drinks known as SK Energy Shots back in 2011 (actually, the product name was originally Street King, but in 2012 it got abbreviated to the less confrontational "SK".) Better yet, the SK Energy brand has a philanthropic mission, with every energy shot sold providing a meal to a hungry child through the United Nations World Food Programme.
Now, the Strand has partnered with SK to offer the energy shots in all 176 guest rooms. But to really help raise awareness, the hotel is offering the option of a (pre-recorded, duh) wake-up call from Mr. P-I-M-P himself. No further details have been released, though we're wondering, if it happens to be your birthday, do you get your name called out in a special rendition of In Da Club?
As it's now been over three weeks since Hurricane Sandy hit the east coast, you could be easily fooled into thinking everything is pretty much back to normal. And, in some ways, that would be true: power is back to Manhattan, the subways are running between boroughs again, and NYC & Co has declared that 98% of the city's hotels have all re-opened.
But there is still plenty of work to be done. Many homes in places like Red Hook, Far Rockaway, Staten Island and parts of New Jersey were demolished or declared uninhabitable by FEMA, and volunteers from the Red Cross have been working around the clock to bring relief to those still left struggling to cope with the storm's aftermath.
For obvious reasons, hotels have played a major role in this post-Sandy relief effort by organizing charity drives, housing relief workers, and giving shelter to homeless Sandy victims. The Daily Mail is reporting that the Red Cross has spent $181,000 alone on rooms at the Soho Grand.
Now, here are a few ways you, the philanthropic hotel guest, can pitch in too:
In case you've been living under an internet-less rock recently, the crazy-popular luxury hotel flash sale site Jetsetter.com has officially opened up for business overseas, in the UK. The new Jetsetter.co.uk mirrors the US site in style and most reviews, but offers are tailored to the English traveler. Plus they've now got something the US site doesn't: a charity angle, with celebrity endorsement.
From now through January 9, book any of these 9 London hotels at Jetsetter.co.uk and they'll donate £1 for each night of your stay to the UK charity SleepSmart, a new branch of the huge charity StreetSmart, which directly aids the homeless. You don't need to stay at the hotel before January 9, just book it by then to secure the donation.