The hotel industry has been urged to put £5b worth of unsold hotels rooms to good use by offering free stays to unsung volunteers and charity workers.
Nicolas Roach, owner of Harbour Hotels Group, founded Room to Reward in 2015 to celebrate the work of deserving individuals who work with registered charities.
At an official launch of the charity, held at the St Ermin's hotel, London, Roach said the premise of the charity is to structure the "pile of waste" across the sector to make rooms accessible to people who deserve a treat.
"The total number of unsold rooms each night in the UK is 140,000," he explained. "That means that with a room rate of only £100, each week the lost value to the industry is £100m per week. We are talking about billions every year - at least £5b is a conservative estimate."
Having already exceed its target of signing up 100 hotels, resulting in in rewards to more than 120 individual "hidden heroes", Room to Reward now intends to work towards offering £1m worth of free breaks for charity workers.
Roach urged hoteliers at the launch "to sign up, get networking and promote Room to Reward to hotels who are yet to join up".
Beneficiaries of Room to Reward so far have included volunteers who work for Macmillan Caring Locally, National Autistic Society, Thames Valley Air Ambulance, Mencap and Hearing Dogs for Deaf People.
Ben Young, general manager of the Greenbank hotel, Falmouth, Cornwall, is one of the hoteliers to sign up to Room to Reward. "An unsold hotel room can never be sold again," he said. "As hotel operators, we are in a privileged position in that we are able to help reward those who truly deserve it."
• Simon Maguire, general manager of the new Southampton Harbour hotel - due to open next month - recently raised £14,000 for Room to Reward after completing a sponsored 317-mile ride over four days from the St Ives Harbour hotel in Cornwall to the Brighton Harbour hotel, East Sussex.
Room to Reward charity urges hotels to donate vacant rooms >>
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