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Advocates for a worthy cause: SU2C

In a recent Hotel Business exclusive (April 21, 2014, page 1), it was announced that Room Key, the search engine founded by six leading hotel companies, including Choice Hotels International, Hilton Worldwide, Hyatt Hotels Corporation, InterContinental Hotel Group, Marriott International, Inc. and Wyndham Hotels Group, teamed up with Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) to raise a minimum of $3 million to support collaborative cancer research.

As reported, SU2C is a groundbreaking initiative created to accelerate innovative cancer research that will get therapies to patients quickly and save lives. The “Stay the Night, Join the Fight” campaign encourages travelers to turn a basic task—booking a hotel room—into a fundraising tool. For every hotel stay reserved through, Room Key has committed to donating $1 to SU2C. Room Key kicked the effort off by donating $5 for stays through the month of April.

Often the difference between a successful endeavor and a failure is not necessarily based on people’s abilities or ideas. Rather, it’s ultimately measured by their ability to take control of the endeavor, and then follow it through to its conclusion.

In regard to the “Stay the Night, Join the Fight” campaign, it was Jim Burba and Bob Hayes of the Burba Hotel Network (BHN) who initiated the relationship between Room Key and SU2C, and became the venture’s leading advocates as well.

In 2012, Burba and Hayes were invited to a telethon that SU2C holds every two years. They had previously met the group’s co-founders, Sue Schwartz and Rusty Robertson, and realized that other organizations were Standing Up, and wondered why the hotel industry wasn’t involved with SU2C also.

That’s where it all began. After a year-long search to identify the appropriate hospitality supporter, Burba and Hayes introduced the concept to Room Key CEO, John Davis, who wholeheartedly embraced the initiative. The collaboration enabled the BHN executives to realize their goal of uniting SU2C within the hospitality industry.

Burba and Hayes are the first ones to emphasize that, without the support from multiple executives throughout the hospitality industry, including Bob Alter of Seaview Investors, Rick Swig of RSBA & Associates, Jodi Braverman of BHN, as well as hotelier (and Oakland A’s owner) Lew Wolff, the initiative wouldn’t have been nearly as successful.

Don’t you just love it when a plan comes together?


Editor’s note:

In our April 7th issue, I used this space to provide a snapshot of the past, present and possible future of upstate New York’s Catskills Region. It just so happens that since that column appeared, Kutsher’s Resort Hotel, one of the area’s more prominent former vacation places, is set to be demolished. The 1,300-acre property near Monticello, NY, was sold last year for $8.18 million to Veria Life Style Inc. Pre-demolition work has already begun with the clearing of trees and brush, and the buildings will be demolished.

Veria, which is owned by Indian media mogul Subhash Chandra, plans to build a health and wellness spa, including a 200-room hotel—all made of natural materials.

There is something bittersweet about a project such as this though. As a business person, I absolutely applaud and understand why Chandra is investing millions of dollars into what I am sure will be a major success, and undoubtedly be featured in the pages of Hotel Business. However, on the sentimental side, it saddens me to see such a vibrant region become a distant memory. 

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