Skift Take

Luxury travelers increasingly want to stay at hotels with a social conscience. While it's great that locations like Four Seasons Chicago and The Peninsula are working with the refugee-helping nonprofit Heartland Alliance, it should be thought of as just that — a small move in the right direction.

Luxury hospitality and social change haven’t always gone hand in hand. But today a new definition of luxury travel is taking hold.

Sure, luxury guests want all the trappings usually associated with upscale hotels, like perfectly appointed rooms, fine dining, and impeccable service. But millennials and Gen Z travelers want to stay at properties that can demonstrate they have a soul too.

What counts as a “soul”? It could be that the resort is a champion of conservation or that it’s helping the greater social good. In this week’s feature, Skift contributor Laura Powell writes about the latter — how luxury hotels in Chicago, like Four Seasons Chicago, The Peninsula, and The Langham, are working with the nonprofit Heartland Alliance to help refugees land well-paying entry-level jobs.

Because refugees get such little money from the government — which usually only covers expenses for a couple of months — when they arrive, it’s essential that they quickly find a job that pays a livable wage. And luxury hotels fit the bill, since they typically pay more than minimum wage for entry-level positions and need lots of labor.

While working with a partner like Heartland Alliance is an example of luxury hotels stepping it up on the social-change front, it’s only a starting point. Luxury hospitality can do so much more to bring about positive change. Hopefully, more hotels start the soul-searching. For feedback or news tips, reach out via email at [email protected] or tweet me @lesliebarrie.

Leslie Barrie, Luxury & Wellness Editor

6 Looks at Luxury and Wellness

How Four Seasons and Others Are Welcoming Refugees With Job Training: The U.S. government in 2020 may have severely limited the number of refugees it would resettle, but a luxury hospitality program taking place in America’s heartland is proof that refugees are still welcome here.

How to Get Music Right in Luxury Lifestyle Hotels: Music is getting better at hotels. What was once piped through in muted tones has now moved front and center. The strongest hospitality companies are investing in experiences in an effort to map from the soul of a brand and capture its signature sound. And, as Sister City has shown with its Björk collaboration, hotel music can become high-concept performance.

Travel Advisors Work to Make Once Elusive Round-the-World Trips a Reality: Sabbatical travel is in the spotlight, but is a year-long trip around the globe feasible for a family? A couple? Two travel advisors set out for a string of faraway places, showing clients and friends that it can be done.

Cultural Experiences Add Competitive Edge to Co-Working: CEO Interview: NeueHouse is set to grow and bring its intricate form of hospitality around the world. It turns out creating a truly customized experience for members is a lot of work.

Skift Forum Europe Preview: Black Tomato Leads the Charge on the Mindful Travel Movement: As long as luxury travelers continue to want one-of-a-kind experiences, companies like Black Tomato will likely find success delivering these rare, transformational itineraries.

Loyalty Prime Raises Funding for Subscription-Based Tech: Several travel companies, such as Preferred Hotels & Resorts and Frankfurt Airport, have used the services of Loyalty Prime, a startup that builds next-generation software for running loyalty programs. Loyalty Prime’s new funding is part of a wave of investment that we expect to see in loyalty tech companies.

Subscribe to the Skift Luxury & Wellness Travel Report

Leslie Barrie [[email protected]] curates the Skift Luxury & Wellness Travel Report. Skift emails the newsletter every Thursday.

Have a confidential tip for Skift? Get in touch

Tags: four seasons, luxury, wellness

Photo credit: Some luxury hotels in Chicago are working with Heartland Alliance, a nonprofit that helps refugees find jobs. WavebreakMediaMicro / Adobe Stock Image

Up Next

Loading next stories