Author Mara Schiavetti
Being kind to your neighbors and the planet has just extended its wings into the travel realm. Kind Traveler is A Give + Get Platform.
Using the Kind Traveler platform, travelers first give to a local or global charity and as reward for their donation, they then get an exclusive rate to book directly with the world’s best hotels and unique properties. One-hundred-percent of the donations raised on the Kind Traveler platform are given to charity. Considering the financial power of the seven-trillion-dollar travel industry -last year alone, this new travel site has tremendous potential for positive global impact...
According to Phocuswright, a global travel market research company, nearly 75% of travelers polled think it’s important, somewhat important, or extremely important that their travel dollars benefit the communities they visit. The study also found that price is still the leading reason for booking with a particular travel company. By offering an exclusive rate on the hotel stay as a reward for a donation, Kind Traveler has created a solution that addresses both the consumers’ price motivation, as well as travelers desire to make a difference.
with over one billion trips placed last year,
Kind Traveler sees this as one billion opportunities to
become a force for good.
Kind Traveler is completely different from an online travel agency (OTA), primarily because of the booking process and the manner in which they profile the hotels listed on the site. In terms of booking, the Kind Traveler development team created a unique technology that sends the traveler’s information from the Kind Traveler’s site directly to the hotel’s booking engine, to complete the transaction. This direct booking provides a significant value for the hotel and traveler, allowing them to communicate directly – before, during, and after a hotel stay. In terms of the hotel profiles, Kind Traveler highlights each property’s local charitable affiliation and ‘Kind Factors’ – the term they use to explain how hotels are impacting individual wellness, sustainability, and community. This unique way of telling a hotel’s story communicates a commitment to corporate social responsibility, at a time when transparency is expected from today’s travelers and consumers.
Another major distinction between Kind Traveler and other travel booking sites is their desire to educate. To inform their customer’s, Kind Traveler’s uses a blog format to provide stories meant to inspire travel while underscoring the importance of giving back, living consciously, and choosing with purpose. According to Phocuswright’s research, “three of 10 ‘giving’ travelers were prompted to volunteer or donate because of something they read, heard, saw, or experienced.”
Kind Traveler is positioned to make an impact on both a global and a local level. The company’s goals are purposefully aligned with the United Nations’ Global Goals for sustainable development. Their UN goals are preventing poverty and hunger, protecting the planet, and promoting wellbeing for individuals and animals. Through their network of global charities, Kind Traveler aims to tackle these global issues. Their network of charities include: The Salvation Army, Make-A-Wish Foundation Foundation, American Red Cross, World Food Program USA, WildAid, Arbor Day Foundation, The Keep A Breast Foundation, Project AWARE®, Animal Defenders International, The Gentle Barn, Little Kids Rock, and Bright Pink.
On a local level, when a hotel joins the platform, Kind Traveler helps them facilitate an alliance with a local charity. This gives travelers the ability to address hyper-local issues through its network of local charities. Their network of local charities include: Surfrider Foundation Miami Chapter, Feeding South Florida, Boys & Girls Club of Hollywood, 2 Hands 2 Cans, Boys & Girls Clubs of Coachella Valley, Pacific Marine Mammal Center, Donda’s House, StreetWise, New York Restoration Project, City Harvest, Community Housing Partnership, San Francisco SPCA, Raymond Gardiner High School Turks & Caicos, Solmar Foundation, and Fundación Brisas.
CEO and Co-Founder Jessica Blotter says about the company:
'Our win-win platform offers solutions for everyone. For travelers, they become warriors for good and support hotels that are making a positive impact in the world – while receiving exclusive hotel rates. For hotels, they cultivate new relationships with cause-minded consumers and take another step towards corporate social responsibility. For charities, they receive 100% of donations and a new, sustainable channel for fundraising.
We don’t claim all hotels are Leed certified, sustainable, but they do have KIND factors. The hotels on our platform have efforts in place - promoting individual wellness, sustainability, or community impact. For KIND Hotels, we one-hundred-percent guarantee they are making an impact on the community through alignment with local charities as well as through connecting with all the global charities'.
Founder and visionary Jessica Blotter is incredibly passionate about the planet and its animal inhabitants. In fact, she gets upset at travel campaigns that promote traveling to destinations that are disappearing, i.e. rainforests, barrier reefs, and Africa’s wildlife reserves, without an offsetting call to action such as preservation or giving back to the area and communities. She feels that travel businesses should have a sense of responsibility in protecting local communities and their environment.
'I think there’s an incredible opportunity to make change by aligning everyday purposes and values through the hands of the consumer. In the travel industry, there were over one billion trips placed last year, Kind Traveler sees this as one billion opportunities to become a force for good. In a time of war, terrorism, and uncertainty, there’s no shortage of a need for more kindness on our planet, so my biggest message for travelers is for them to understand the power that they have to make the world a kinder place, just by considering how their dollars are spent. The love of travel cannot be separated from the state of the world'.
Kind Travelers can now book hotels in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Miami, Palm Springs, Orange County, Los Cabos, Acapulco, Manzanillo, and Turks and Caicos, with more destinations to come. This charity-driven social enterprise would not be possible without the support of hotel partners such as Virgin Hotels Chicago, 1 Hotel South Beach, 1 Hotel Central Park, The James Chicago, The Benjamin, Paséa Hotel & Spa, COMO Parrot Cay, COMO Metropolitan Miami Beach, The Hollywood Roosevelt, Two Bunch Palms, Colony Palms Hotel, Hotel Angeleno, Hotel G, Serrano Hotel, Kensington Park Hotel, The Mosser Hotel, Grand Solmar Land’s End Resort & Spa, Playa Grande Resort & Grand Spa, Las Brisas Acapulco, and Las Hadas Golf Resort & Marina Manzanillo.
Source: Phocuswright’s Good Travels: The Philanthropic Profile of the American Traveler © 2015 Phocuswright Inc.