UPGREAT: booking platform for sustainable hotels
 Posted on 24/02/2014 - 16:29
Idea Outline
UPGREAT builds the online booking platform to connect conscious travellers and responsible hotels. UPGREAT invests a percentage of the sales commission into the sustainability of its partner hotels.

The Challenge
Sustainability in the hotel industry is still in an infant stage as compared to other sectors such as consumer goods. Less than 1% of European hotels are certified according to a sustainability standard whereas approx. 70% of the timber and 20% of the coffee consumed in the EU are certified as sustainable. The main challenges are the lack of economic incentives for hotel owners to commit to sustainability as well as the travellers' awareness of the social and environmental benefits of staying at sustainable hotels. Online booking platforms constitute an established and continuously growing distribution channel for hotels (global sales in 2013: approx. 15 bn EUR). As an online booking platform, UPGREAT aims at using this market lever to transform the hotel industry to become sustainable.

The Solution

UPGREAT will be a booking platform for sustainable hotels as well as conventional hotels committing to become more sustainable. UPGREAT provides unique selling propositions for each target group:
1. Hotels:
- Targeted marketing with highly valuable sustainability-conscious travellers
- Effectively below-market sales commission as 20% of the market-standard sales commission of 10% remain with the hotel if earmarked for sustainability investments
2. Travellers:
- Assurance of staying at hotels which have committed to sustainabilty
- No price premium for booking a sustainable hotel
Intended acitivities:
- build a mock version of the UPGREAT online booking platform (prototype)
- use the UPGREAT mock version to conduct a customer survey with hotels and travellers (proof of concept)

Target group and social impact
UPGREAT aims at providing benefits for both hotel owners and travellers alike: Hotel owners will receive financing and improved access to finance for sustainability investments while enhancing their marketing profile with high-value sustainability-conscious travellers. Travellers will benefit by staying at sustainable accommodations, which, i.a., serve healthier (organic) food, use less chemical cleaning detergents and respect labour standards. UPGREAT specifically targets the increasingly growing LOHAS (Lifestyle of Health and Sustainability) customer segment which are considered to already constitute 10-30% of the travel market.

Competences of the applicant
Sustainability expert with 4 years of project management experience in sustainability standards (tourism, agriculture, forestry, fisheries) for the German Development Co-operation GIZ; previous positions with the European Commission, the German Agency for Renewable Resources, and the German Federal Foreign Office; entrepreneurial spirit with a sound business background (M.Sc. in Management).

Video Link
None posted
Social Category
  • Environment and Sustainability

  • Tecnology Category
  • Mobile
  • Web/Internet

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