Chris Cheung of C.inc explains why hotels are an intrinsic part of their communities, and how C.inc does it's part to give back to its neighbourhood.
I’ve always believed that hotels are more than just businesses – they are an intrinsic part of the community. As much as we welcome people in, we also need to reach out. There’s no better example than C.inc’s flagship property, The Coogee Bay Hotel, which has a 143-year history of community involvement that we honour and build upon today.
Across the whole of C.inc, giving back is a core value. We believe embracing hospitality goes far beyond operating great venues, resorts or services – it also means being a good neighbour. We’re not just there for the good times; we want to be of use in other ways, too.
There are so many reasons to give, and one of my personal motivations is the extreme poverty I witnessed firsthand while growing up in the Pacific islands. Years later, my involvement in the Australian hospitality industry means I’m fortunate enough to be able to join with colleagues in making a difference in the community where I now live.
We aim to be part of solutions, continually seeking out innovative ways to give back, and building strong local bonds. Our efforts are made possible by amazing, staunch support from industry colleagues who share these values. From our own staff to our suppliers and partners, there’s a collective spirit of philanthropy powering each project.
Coogee is blessed with a great many excellent altruistic organisations, and we consider very carefully which ones to work with. The charity partners we choose share one crucial attribute: amazing people, committed to a life of service to others. For example:
The medical staff caring round the clock for the vulnerable and sick patients at the Prince of Wales Hospital and The Sydney Children’s Hospital, the surf life savers at Coogee, Clovelly and Maroubra and the volunteers at Randwick Offshore Rescue, who all make our coastal community’s beaches safer for everyone to enjoy, just to name a few.
Our oldest and biggest partnership is with The Sydney Children’s Hospital Foundation (SCHF). Since 1993, when we started out donating a dollar for every schooner sold on a charity day, Coogee Bay Hotel has been fundraising in various ways for this extremely deserving cause. Over the years the total has risen to $2.5 million. Much of the money comes from our annual Coogee Bay Hotel Charity Golf Day, a fun and unique event where friends and supporters gather at Bonnie Doon Golf Club for themed golf and lunch. The event has become a calendar favourite and raises more than $200,000 each year.
A much smaller, but equally vital organisation is Randwick’s Little Sisters of the Poor, whom we support in their work caring for sick and disadvantaged elderly people. These kind and hardworking women make a vast difference to many lives.
Coogee Lions are tireless in their provision of practical and monetary help for those who need it most. Projects we’ve helped to fund include their Coogee Cares initiative, providing home improvements and alterations for people with disabilities.
The groups we support vary in size and scope, but we choose them all for their dedication and humanity.
One of the most useful assets a hospitality operator can offer for good causes is of course our space itself. We make sure to open our doors across the year to local groups and organisations to meet, fundraise, promote and celebrate. As an hotelier, I see this as hospitality in its truest sense: providing a hub and heart for the community I’m proud to call home.
This contributor's piece was originally published in the July issue of Australian Hotelier, which you can view online here.