Hotel Guests Share Books With Children and Families Battling Illness

When the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House (PRMH) opened in 2017, the nearby Study Hotels at University City saw the organization’s mission—to support families of seriously ill children by creating a community of comfort and hope—as a natural fit for a potential partnership. Since then, the hotel has hosted several corporate fundraising events, offered special rates for families when the house was full, volunteered as guest chefs at the house providing meals to the families, and donated items throughout the year, according to general manager Sebastien Gressier.

“The Study at University City strives to support local charities and engage with them in unique and distinctive ways,” Gressier explains. “Partnering with PRMH came about organically, as not only is the house located close to the hotel, but the organization was created with a simple, yet meaningful vision: to create a home away from home for families of seriously ill children.”

When PRMH renovated its Chestnut Street house and doubled its capacity to 104 rooms earlier this year, it added a new tower with a Lending Library Tree on each floor for guests to borrow and share books. Gressier says that this addition aligned perfectly with Study Hotels’ love of books—each of the brand’s properties has its own lobby library curated by The Strand—and the hotel’s tagline, “read, rest, reflect,” so the hotel decided to sponsor the Lending Library Tree. The property has opened this collaboration to the larger community by encouraging guests to pack a used or gently used book for any age that they can then donate to the library during their stay.

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Through email marketing, public relations efforts, and on-site communications, Gressier says the hotel informed guests and visitors about how to get involved in the program. “At the front desk, we provide branded book plates where guests may write a message about their love of reading which are affixed to books in the Lending Library.”

Gressier explains that allowing travelers to take part in the hotel’s local partnerships while visiting the city creates an opportunity for guests to leave their own personal touch on a community. In addition, the property’s diverse traveler base gives the hotel’s philanthropic partners access to a wider audience.

“The feedback on this program has been incredible—not only from our guests and our friends at the PRMH, but also from our other community partners and associates,” Gressier adds. “Study Hotels believes in community engagement and is committed to supporting local charities with a priority on youth literacy initiatives. Literacy at a young age is the key to pursuing a successful education. As a company, we believe there is no greater priority in society than promoting youth literacy.”