Real Hospitality Group

How to Put the "FUN" in Fundraising And Engage Your Team For A Great Cause

By Mary Rudd and Matt West

Mary Rudd is the Talent Acquisition, Development and Corporate Responsibility Coordinator and Matt West is the Director of Talent Acquisition, Development and Corporate Responsibility at Real Hospitality Group, a partner of ECPAT-USA and member of The Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct (The Code).

Real Hospitality Group embarked on a mission this summer to put the “FUN” in Fundraising as well as to engage with our associates and come together for a great cause.  To do this, we decided to hold Real Hospitality Group’s first ever Fete en Blanc Eastern shore and RHG’s second Cycle for Freedom with SWERVE Fitness.

Fete en Blanc 2019:

Modeled after Dîner en Blanc held in Paris, a Feté en Blanc is an event in which picnic-goers gather in a public space to set up a temporary, chic dining experience.  An invitation-only, popup feast to celebrate our associates, the community where we live and work, and the summer solstice. Party attendees must provide their own provisions, table set ups and decorations and are required to be dressed “to the nines” in all white.  To build excitement and pique interest, there is a mysterious twist in that the location is kept under wraps until 24 hours prior to the event.  

As a hotel management company, RHG is working relentlessly to raise awareness and to help eradicate child trafficking in the hospitality industry and the hotels we manage.  We aspired to create a unique and whimsical event that would get the word out and maximize the monies donated to our chosen cause – ECPAT USA. What a better way to symbolize the innocence of children than with an all-white, decadent popup picnic?   

ECPAT USA’s mission is to protect every child’s human right to grow up free from the threat of sexual exploitation and trafficking, placing a strong focus on the hospitality industry.  Working one-on-one with communities throughout the nation, the legislatures and corporations, ECPAT-USA is leading the charge to end human trafficking around the world.   

Attendees received an email on Friday, May 31, to reveal that the first Annual Real Hospitality Feté en Blanc (scheduled on June 1) was to be held at the Windmill Creek Winery in Berlin, MD.  Guests arrived in their finest white regalia and were greeted at registration with a fantastic gift bag full of “all white” goodies donated by our very generous vendors. Activities included entertainment throughout the night, lawn games, henna tattoos, silent auction, selfie station, food trucks and of course delicious food.  Our MC closed the evening with the award to the group with the most grand and opulent “all white” table set up.  

This was a great event which brought together the community and RHG Associates, helped raise awareness of the issue of Human Trafficking and Exploitation and got various vendors involved in this cause. Our first Feté was a huge success with 75 attendees.  We are looking to build on to next year’s event and are now scouting for the venue for the 2020 Feté.

RHG Cycle for Freedom 2019:

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In New York, we hosted our second “RHG Cycle for Freedom” on June 29th 2019.  Our first Cycle for Freedom last year was a great success and very popular with our Associates.  Real Hospitality Group rents a studio with 48 bikes at SWERVE Flatiron District. Associates across our hotels can register a team of up to five people to take part.  The event is completely free for associates to register – all we ask is that they raise as much as possible using our Crowdrise fundraising page and ask friends/family/colleagues/vendors and communities to donate to the team.  The Cycle for Freedom is a fun filled 45-minute rhythm ride and the bikes are arranged into three teams. The team dynamic keeps you motivated, supported, and accountable, without ever singling you out. This was a great event to bring associates together from various hotels who may have never met but are on the same team – just like RHG working together towards a common goal.  Again, this event created a lot of awareness with our vendors making kind donations towards the cause. We can’t wait to do it again next year!

The goal of all of our fundraising activities aside from raising money for ECPAT-USA is to bring people together, have fun and raise awareness.  With these two events, we believed we were successful in achieving our mission.

To learn more about how to incorporate employee engagement and corporate responsibility activities to your company, check out our blog or email info@ecpatusa.org

ECPAT-USA Recognizes RHG As A Tourism Hero For Being Proactive In Fight To End Trafficking

Throughout National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention, we are celebrating those who have taken a stand against sex trafficking in the tourism and hospitality industry with #TourismHeroTuesday. Every day, our private sector partners are helping to protect children around the world from exploitation.

Today, we’re recognizing Real Hospitality Group (RHG). An associate of RHG was recently working at the front desk of a hotel in New York City when they noticed a teenage boy sitting in the lobby by himself. When an hour or so later he was still there, the associate approached him and struck up a conversation. The associate learned that he had run away and had taken a bus nearly 500 miles from his home in Virginia. The associate called the police, who attended the scene, and contacted the child’s parents, and waited until both arrived to make sure the boy stayed safe.

As runaway and homeless youth are a population particularly vulnerable to traffickers, we applaud RHG for their proactive work and taking action to prevent a potential trafficking situation before it starts.

“The initiatives of ECPAT-USA have been a critical part of our corporate responsibility platform and we have continued to use our sphere of influence to educate and train our field team members to identify and help put an end to child trafficking and exploitation,” said Ben Seidel, President and CEO of RHG. “We have invested a great deal of time to develop a program that can be successfully deployed at our hotels and contributes to the goals of ECPAT-USA.”

By Presidential Proclamation, January was officially named National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention to bring awareness to that fact that there are still over 20 million people living in slavery today. Over the years, incredible progress has been made through partnerships between governments and nonprofits: laws protecting victims have been passed, offenders put in jail, the number of services have gone way up.

In the last few years, the private sector has stepped up and gotten involved in fighting trafficking, especially when it comes to child sex trafficking victims. Learn more about how your company can join us in creating a world where no child is bought sold or used for sex here.

ECPAT-USA and The Code Announce 2017 US Top Members

The Tourism Child Protection Code of Conduct (The Code) recently announced their 2017 Top Member companies. Eight companies, two based in the United States, are newly-recognized as Top Members for their “exceptional work to integrate child protection practices into their businesses.” In total, twenty Top Members are based in the United States and are guided through their membership and implementation with the support of Local Code Representative, ECPAT-USA.

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The Code is a set of six voluntary guidelines that travel and tourism companies implement to comprehensively and proactively combat the commercial sexual exploitation of children. In order for a company to be recognized as a Top Member, companies must implement all six of The Code criteria within their business operations and report publicly on TheCode.Org website.

“We are encouraged that our Top Members are committed to comprehensive policies and training that protect children,” said ECPAT-USA’s director of private sector engagement, Michelle Guelbart. “The travel industry continues to mobilize on this issue and we look forward to seeing more Code Members join these leaders in 2018.”

The 20 United States 2017 Top Members are:
Adventure Travel Trade Association (trade association)
Altruvistas (tour operator)
Caribe Royale Orlando (hotel)
Carlson (hotel brand)
CorpTrav Management (travel management)
Elevate Destinations*
EmpireCLS Worldwide Chauffeured Services (ground transportation)
Envision Meetings & Incentives (meeting & events)
Hilton Worldwide (hotel brand)
Hospitality eResources (hospitality consulting)
Hyatt Hotels Corporation*
International Tour Management Institute (educational institute)
Maritz Travel (travel management)
Meaningful Trip (tour operator)
Meeting Professionals International – WA State Chapter (trade association)
Nix Conference & Meeting Management (meeting & events)
Platinum Travel & Events (meeting professionals)
Real Hospitality Group (hotel management)
Sabre (global distribution system)
Society for Incentive Travel Excellence (trade association)

* companies newly promoted to Top Member status

See all of the US Code Members and learn more about our work with companies to prevent child trafficking and exploitation.

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