An innovate new idea for holidaymakers has emerged from a major hotel group. The new Ritz-Carlton Give Back Getaways volunteer vacation programme is now offering guests an exceptional opportunity to give back to the community in a meaningful way. Participating in a half-day local community experience, guests will work alongside Ritz-Carlton staff in a social or environmental project. The Give Back Getaways experience is unique to each destination and designed to make a lasting contribution to the local community as well as an enduring impression on the guest.

The idea came from the experience of Ritz Carlton hotels already involved in community projects: ‘The whole scheme has grown out of the interest guests have already shown in helping with local projects,’ said Sue Stephenson, who runs the programme. ‘They’ve already joined us informally in projects in New Orleans, Sarasota, Ellis Island and Alcatraz,’ she adds.

Involvement usually runs to half a day of the holiday and guests can contribute to whichever project the local Ritz Carlton is working on, be it helping blue iguanas on Grand Cayman, sea turtles in Cancun, or on child poverty projects in Istabul or Jakarta. The range of experiences varies enormously and is designed to help people who want to give something back to the community they are staying in during their holiday – all profits from the scheme go directly back to the organisations the Ritz Carlton is partnering with.

For further information on the projects and how to get involved visit their dedicated website:

On the corporate side, Ritz-Carlton is also reaching out to executives, meeting planners, and conference attendees this summer in an effort to encourage the scheduling of meetings from educational seminars, incentive trips, customer appreciation events to annual retreats. With a message that ‘It’s Not Extravagant, If It Produces Results’, they are aiming to highlight the added value extras they are offering in these challenging times which include:

• Daily continental breakfast
• General session meeting room
• High speed internet access in one meeting room
• 20% savings on audio visual needs
(Meetings must be booked by September 30 and held by December 31, 2009)

Offering an attractive range of rates (starting from $159 to $229 subject to availability and certain restrictions), as well as outstanding service and surroundings the company is targeting the second half of 2009 to encourage new meetings. ‘As companies look ahead, we are encouraging organisations to realize the value of a truly results-oriented meeting,’ said Bruce Himelstein, corporate senior vice president, sales and marketing. ‘The Ritz-Carlton uniquely creates environments that maximise productivity and efficiency of meetings, and pride in your employees; our efficiency and excellence in planning and execution are second to none,’ Mr Himelstein added.

To find out more please visit www.ritzcarlton.com/meetings