Barcelona Princess Hotel, BCN
A upscale establishment that continuously works to engage with the community, promoting initiatives that bring it closer to the neighbourhood. This is the distinctive feature of the Barcelona Princess Hotel, an establishment specialising in conferences whose corporate responsibility policy has made it a benchmark in the sector.
Its flagship is the Princess 360 programme, which aims to incorporate people at risk of social exclusion into the workforce. A measure adopted as a form of shock therapy initially in response to the devastating effects of the crisis of the late 2000s and which, today, is the pride of its employees.
Its bond with the neighbourhood is a hallmark of the hotel
Shortly after this 4-star superior hotel opened its doors, a paradoxical situation occurred. Located on Diagonal Mar, in a luxurious setting, it was also close to neighbourhoods that, in 2008, were devastated by the recession.
Areas that were struggling with social challenges and associated issues witnessed the collapse of the fragile economic stability of numerous families. While this deterioration was evident, tourists continued to visit the city.
At that time, a group of businesses came together and decided that the best course of action was to channel any job opportunities arising in the tourism sector towards the residents of the local neighbourhoods: Sant Martí, Besòs, Verneda, Sant Adrià… This is an area with a lot of staff turnover, so the promoters of this initiative turned a problem into an opportunity.
The project has now borne fruit: from 2010 to 2022, 151 people have been hired as staff at the Princess. This does not mean that all of them have stayed. But for certain profiles, ex-prisoners, women who have suffered abuse, or long-term unemployed, a job means something that gives them confidence to continue on their path.
Princess 360 is, without a doubt, the programme of which the hotel staff is most proud. Especially because they help people from nearby neighbourhoods, who then end up becoming part of the team. But this initiative is not the only one that has been implemented.
The commitment of the Princess Hotel goes way back, and there are many projects in which it has been involved. For example, to carry out selective waste collection, back in 2004, the hotel decided to work with Trinijove, a foundation that works for the socio-cultural integration of people at risk of social exclusion, signing a service agreement with them in that regard.
Moreover, the hotel is meticulous in selecting its suppliers and chooses to work with entities that not only provide the necessary products but also contribute to the well-being of society. This is the case of the cooperative "No em dona la gana", also located in Sant Martí, where women who have suffered from abuse work to make craft jams with locally sourced fruit.
Seeking new social challenges
These are collaborations actively sought by the hotel. Therefore, they promote activities that strengthen its ties with the neighbourhood. For example, cleaning the banks of the River Besòs twice a year. On one occasion they collected over 1000 kg in a single day. Or the voluntary participation of the hotel team in a nearby soup kitchen, one day a month, where they distribute 300 weekly menus.
The commitment of the Princess to its surroundings has gained momentum and its initiatives are numerous and varied. One example is collection of toys for children, which has now reached the point where every child receives the specific toy they have asked for. And the “Make a Wish"” project, where the hotel does its utmost to fulfil the last wish of children with terminal illnesses, even setting up a real Masterchef scenario in the hotel kitchens one time.
All this has created a unique atmosphere of camaraderie among the company's workforce. These are actions that unite and ultimately convince everyone that, with effort, any goal can be achieved.
There is just one little problem: now they find it really difficult to find new challenges. And they are already thinking of how they can engage customers in their cause, with projects such as reducing excess food from the buffet. A virtuous circle, involving the hotel, its employees, and guests, which represents a wonderful opportunity to improve the environment.