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Friday, June 14, 2024

Travel Kind With Kind Traveler

What if every vacation taken could be a catalyst of good-doing for the global community? What if a two-week tropical excursion could provide nutritious meals to families in need or help clean up polluted waterways or positively impact local communities? With just a few easy steps, Kind Traveler is making all that and so much more happen.

As a unique hotel booking platform, Kind Traveler is a public benefit corporation with a mission to transform the incredible collective of everyday travelers into a financial force that benefits the health and well-being of individuals, animals and the environment. The easy Give + Get strategy allows users to simply choose a destination and hotel, and give a $10 per day of stay donation, and in return they unlock exclusive discounted hotel rates and special perks such as waived resort fees, early check-in/late check-out, a complimentary bottle of wine, dining or spa credits, or complimentary valet. Exclusive rates and perks will vary by hotel.

A sustainable travel survey conducted by Booking.com in 2019 showed that 72% of travelers want their dollars to impact the communities they visit. The platform Kind Traveler offers is fulfilling that need while incentivizing the appeal.

“People want to help, they just need a catalyst,” says Jessica Blotter, Kind Traveler co-founder.

Photo courtesy of Kind Traveler.

Blotter saw the need for the catalyst to do good firsthand on a trip to Belize she took with partner and co-founder Sean Krejci. It was during that trip, on a bus excursion to Mayan ruins, that she and Krejci witnessed extreme poverty.

“On the bus ride, we saw families living in tiny shacks next to polluted swamps, children living in these heartbreaking conditions,” says Blotter. “Everybody got very quiet.”

When the bus stopped for snacks and water, the tourists were approached by emaciated, starving dogs, and Blotter knew she had to do something.

“We couldn’t just turn a blind eye to what we saw, so we went in the store and bought all the dog food we could and we gave it to these starving dogs,” she says. 

Photo courtesy of Kind Traveler.

Then she saw that the other tourists followed their lead and also bought food for the dogs. “The mood changed and went from somber to joyous,” she says.

This small act of humanity served as the catalyst that others needed to step up and fulfill the obvious need. Blotter and Krejci saw the joy the good deed brought to others, which helped inspire the idea to create a give-and-get platform.

The pair used their combined experience and entrepreneurial expertise to kick-start a longtime dream of being champions for good and starting their own purpose-driven company. Krejci had previously founded three successful businesses at a young age, and Blotter had worn a few different hats that helped fuel her drive.

“I was a biology major at A.S.U. and actually started my career as an earth science teacher in Scottsdale,” says Blotter. “That’s where I discovered my passion for sustainability.”

After teaching, Blotter had a decade-long career with many travel and lifestyle publications, where she expanded her knowledge and gathered the fundamentals to open her own business. Together, she and Krejci founded a brand development group and were advocates for animal welfare. Their combined passions and interests helped build the foundation of Kind Traveler.

Photo courtesy of Kind Traveler.

The platform launched in 2016 with 20 hotel partners in the U.S. and Mexico benefiting 15 charities; they now have 130 hotel partners with 70 charitable partners across 15 different countries. Two of those partners are the local sister properties Mountain Shadows and Hotel Valley Ho, both known for their generous charitable contributions to various organizations.

“The properties we partner with are a curated collection of boutique, luxury, and lifestyle hotels with an organic connection to the community,” says Blotter. “And each property chooses the local charities they wish to work with and support.”

The charitable organizations hotels choose range from wildlife, environmental, and animal welfare to human rights, health, and disaster relief.

The Hotel Valley Ho and Mountain Shadows chose Epilepsy Foundation Arizona. Essentially, guests who book their stay at either of those properties through Kind Traveler will help fund research of a disease that is  more common than MS, Parkinson’s, cerebral palsy, and muscular dystrophy combined, yet receives the least amount of funding.

If the traveler wishes to support another cause than that aligned with the property, they have that option as well, and they can feel good in the knowledge that 100% of their donation goes directly to the charity.

“This is a win for all involved—the traveler, the hotel and the community,” says Blotter.

For more information about Kind Traveler or to book your own feel-good trip, visit www.kindtraveler.com.

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