Hotel Hack Brings Social Innovation to Hospitality Industry

After months of planning with the Cornell School of Hotel Administration, we designed Hotel Hack, a special, curated weekend event that builds off the intentional community at Hub LA and the collaborartive relationships among a group of talented, insanely different people who care about making an impact.

Hotel Hack Cornell Hub LA

The Hotel Hack on October 17-18 brought together a small group of Social Innovators for an immersive “micro-residency,” with the goal of providing fresh insights for the hospitality industry on how to use their resources for good.

Our Hotel Hack turned thirteen hand-selected Hub LA members and LA social innovators into experts in residence, consultants to the hospitality industry at this pivotal moment. The economy is changing, the climate is changing, and well, hotels are due for a refresh.

The group addressed a need for social innovation in the hospitality industry, recognizing that true social innovation is not charity, but rather the product of responding to a mission-driven cause and a market opportunity.

“How can we leverage the hospitality industry to do good, and do well?”

The question echoed in every participant’s head as the two-day hack progressed. It became clear that hotels had three key areas to tap into: underutilized/available space, underutilized/available people, and enhancing the experience by engaging not only travelers, but also the local community in unique ways.

Ani Okkasian, Adjunct Professor at Woodbury University, facilitated the Hotel Hack. The micro-residency began with a natural or social disaster exercise, requiring quick thinking on how hotels can quickly respond to earthquakes, acts of terrorism or civil uprising, ebola, or hurricanes.

Through intense brainstorming, research, and iterating, the group came up with four innovations: an emergency resilience fund, a concierge revamp focused on local ambassadors, and two different pop-up blueprints.

The Hotel Hack brought to life the Hub LA hypothesis on how to drive social innovation forward. More to come following a presentation at the Cornell Hospitality Innovation Event at Impact Hub NYC, where the executives of major hotel chains will learn about what we did at Hotel Hack.

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