Travel agents and industry professionals will gather in Detroit next month for the highlight of Tourism Cares’ annual volunteering series.
Tourism Cares has been visiting various destinations over the past decade, bringing travel industry volunteers to community works projects around the country. Last year they focused on our national parks; in 2017, they’ll head to four cities: Oakland, CA; Detroit, MI; Providence, RI; and Toronto.
At the Oakland event last month, travel industry professionals from more than 65 companies provided $20,000 in value to the city. Tourism Cares for Detroit is being held in May 11 and 12, Tourism Cares for Providence is in September and Tourism Cares for Toronto is in October.
“The whole purpose is to unite the industry to give back to cities,” said Tourism Cares CEO Mike Rea.
The event in Motor City will mark the first time volunteers offer pro-bono consulting to local organizations. “The industry has so much knowledge in our heads and hearts to give,” Rea told TMR.
The company surveyed institutions around the city, asking in which areas they needed assistance, and found that everyone wanted information on tourist demographics and target audiences, branding, and direct marketing and social media.
The Detroit Historical Society, for example, wants help creating unique behind-the-scenes experiences for tours, while the Detroit Creative Corridor Center asked for assistance building an effective brand as first UNESCO City of Design in the US. Tourism Cares will connect these organizations with travel-industry volunteers in related fields.
The event will kick off with a community learning breakfast led by a panel of marketing and branding experts. Rea said, “In addition to coming in and cleaning up, we’re engaging more of the travel industry to help the community.”
Rea noted that when companies volunteer together, employees are more inclined to recommend them as a great place to work when they participate in some form of community service, and potential employees appreciate companies with a strong social commitment. Giving together also strengthens employee loyalty and leadership skills.
The plans for the program extend beyond Detroit, Rea said. “We’re trying to become the match-maker for small and medium travel companies that want an easy way to get started in pro bono volunteering. This is a way to unlock that potential and support the cause. Contact us if interested!”