Transparency in the Supply Chain: Eradicating Exploitation

By Carl Kish Co-Founder, STOKE Certified | September 06, 2015

Co-authored by Jess Ponting, Co-founder, Stoked Certified

Human and sex trafficking, otherwise known as modern day slavery, is still the fastest growing crime industry in the world. This type of exploitation in the workforce may not be at the forefront of every hotel executive's mind, but it needs to be considering hotels are the third most common venue for sex trafficking.

While Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) progresses into the proverbial "business as usual" category thanks to the adoption of such legislative mandates from a number of countries, these laws do not specifically target human trafficking. These national CSR mandates can be seen as precursors to what California, and now the UK, have implemented to combat the 150 billion dollar forced labor industry.

California set the precedent with the Transparency in Supply Chain Act (TISCA) which came into effect January 2012. TISCA requires businesses in CA with more than $100 million in annual revenue to disclose exactly how they are eliminating slavery and human trafficking in their supply chains. Specifically, a business must communicate to what extent it:

  1. "Engages in verification of product supply chains to evaluate and address risks of human trafficking and slavery.

  2. Conducts audits of suppliers.

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Social Media: Getting Personal

There Social media platforms have revolutionized the hotel industry. Popular sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and Tumblr now account for 2.3 billion active users, and this phenomenon has forever transformed how businesses interact with consumers. Given that social media allows for two-way communication between businesses and consumers, the emphasis of any marketing strategy must be to positively and personally engage the customer, and there are innumerable ways to accomplish that goal. One popular strategy is to encourage hotel guests to create their own personal content - typically videos and photos -which can be shared via their personal social media networks, reaching a sizeable audience. In addition, geo-locational tags and brand hashtags can be embedded in such posts which allow them to be found via metadata searches, substantially enlarging their scope. Influencer marketing is another prevalent social media strategy. Some hotels are paying popular social media stars and bloggers to endorse their brand on social media platforms. These kinds of endorsements generally elicit a strong response because the influencers are perceived as being trustworthy by their followers, and because an influencer's followers are likely to share similar psychographic and demographic traits. Travel review sites have also become vitally important in reputation management. Travelers consistently use social media to express pleasure or frustration about their guest experiences, so it is essential that every review be attended to personally. Assuming the responsibility to address and correct customer service concerns quickly is a way to mitigate complaints and to build brand loyalty. Plus, whether reviews are favorable or unfavorable, they are a vital source of information to managers about a hotel's operational performance.  The February Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to effectively incorporate social media strategies into their businesses.