Jeremy Cowart Shows Us Why A Hotel Should Exist

By Christina Maness

Change the world in your sleep.

That’s exactly what a new hotel concept called The Purpose Hotel wants travelers to do.

The Purpose Hotel is an aptly-named for-profit business venture designed entirely around one thing: positive impact. The idea is simple; guests spend the night in a hotel, and a portion of their room fees go to social enterprises and nonprofits making a difference around the world.

For travelers looking to make a positive impact while seeing the world, it’s a dream, but for celebrity photographer Jeremy Cowart, the visionary behind this hotel, there’s no rest yet. 

Building one hotel typically costs $70-to-100 million and it doesn’t happen overnight. It takes years.

For Cowart, this journey started four years ago during a business meeting at a Los Angeles hotel called The Standard. Cowart recounted the story in a recent interview with The Wayward Post.

When I walked into the room for the meeting, the room number was designed to look like a name tag,” said Cowart. “It said ‘hello, my name is room 121’ and it was just inspiring to me that they redesigned the look of it. So I just thought, ‘what if a room number told a story, and that story had a child’s face and their name…

It’s from this pivotal meeting, that an essential part of The Purpose Hotel’s vision—sponsoring a child’s education—came about. Beyond helping a child, the hotel will be carefully designed around a “1 for 100” benefit model, in which every night’s stay will positively impact the lives of at least one hundred people. The WiFi charges will go to an organization fighting human trafficking, the walls will feature art created by humanitarian artists, and the list goes on.

To move this do-good hotel closer to reality, Cowart has assembled a team of designers and experts in the hospitality industry. To fund the hotel, he looked to Kickstarter. While the first Kickstarter campaign for The Purpose Hotel fell short of its $2-million goal, their second attempt is already a success. The team met their modified goal of $347,000 within just two days.

Meeting this benchmark means Cowart and his team will proceed with creating renderings of the hotel and how it will look in Nashville’s skyline. Right now, The Purpose Hotel looks poised to reach its second goal of $755,000 too. This will give them the cash to conduct design and architectural planning. If the Kickstarter campaign can go on to raise $1.2 million or higher, they will be a strong cash contender for building the hotel in the Nashville market. 

The Purpose Hotel Room Floor Plan, Jeremy Cowart. Photo Credit : The Purpose Hotel

At this stage, the project is on track to becoming a reality in the next two to three years. The long-range vision for the business is to expand The Purpose Hotel to various cities across the country and globe. Although the hotel has yet to leave the planning stages, the concept is already changing hearts and minds of people in the hospitality industry. 

It inspires people to think differently,” says Cowart. “If I’m being honest, I find most hotels boring. They’re all promoting the ‘what’—‘we’re the most luxurious, we’re the coolest or cheapest’—but none of them are really promoting the ‘why.

For many hotels, the “why” is to make money. For this hotel, however, the “why” is a higher, well, purpose. And that’s pretty interesting. 

Editor’s Note: Wouldn’t it be great to see The Purpose Hotel succeed and also to see more hotels operate like a social enterprise? The Purpose Hotel’s Kickstarter campaign runs through October 7th. If you like the concept, support it!

Published: 9/16/2016

While traveling the world as a digital nomad, Christina found it difficult to find the fine travel experiences that satisfied her conscience. She started The Wayward Post with Ziggy to help travelers find those travel experiences that are driving positive change and to give the Wayward hat tip to travel-related brands doing the right thing. All while amplifying the work of amazing writers and photographers.

When she's not writing for The Wayward Post, you'll find her working with do-good brands run by amazing people with the marketing agency, ZATWIC. Or maybe just drinking a craft cocktail.  Follow her on Twitter.

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