Interview - Origorooms, sustainable hotels and ecological turism
Origorooms is born to put commitment, social and environmental responsibility to such an important sector for our country as tourism. Victor and Carlos are the promoters of this company that is growing unstoppably since its inception.
We talked to them about their initiative and their sector.
- What is Origorooms and how did it start?
The idea of Origorooms started from the search for personal and professional growth, which took shape after developing various proposals that all converged on the same point: sustainable tourism. We understood and we understand that sustainability or sustainable development has to be the main axis of present and future tourism and that is where Origorooms was consolidated. Origorooms is an online platform that allows you to book ecological hotels in Spain, accommodation that bet on clean renewable energy, for a positive impact on their environment, which re-invest in the local community. All of them develop sustainable practices such as the km0 philosophy or low impact architecture. In the end, to believe in Origorooms is to believe in a sustainable company, which relies on accommodation with the same objective and which seeks to preserve and have a positive impact on the environment.
- How does the platform work from the customer's point of view? How can you book accommodation?
The Origorooms website allows us to know in a very intuitive way and with a totally sustainable approach in the writing of texts what Origorooms is in itself and what the ecological hotels associated with our seal are, so that the person who enters the platform has from the beginning the perception that we are talking about sustainable tourism. In fact, there is no other portal that treats each hotel file with this sensitivity, where sustainable practices are the fundamental axis; and this is thanks to the close relationship between ecological hotels and Origorooms. As for the booking process, it is very simple. You just have to choose one of the hotels listed in our eco-hotels by destination section, spend five minutes reading the texts explaining what that sustainable hotel does and book. We can never forget that by reserving at Origorooms we help sustainable businesses. With the money from the reserve we plant trees (and more measures that are in the development phase), we favour the brand and the ecological hotels associated with it and we belong to an ecological community.
And from the Hotel's point of view, how can you partner with Origorooms and put your hotel on the platform?
The strength of Origorooms lies in the associated ecological hotels, and to be consistent with a sustainable model, these accommodations have to be essentially: - Sustainable tourism - Low-impact architecture - Socially responsible - Environmentally responsible - Sensitive to diversity However, these five points without a real assessment of their sustainable commitment, would be meaningless. Two structural pillars of analysis are established: - Architecture - Social and environmental management On the basis of these two pillars, a series of parameters and behavioural patterns are analysed which, if duly assessed, make this accommodation a part of Origorooms or not. In terms of architecture, it is valued that the accommodation is sustainable from its design, for example a passive house, to the use of clean energies such as geothermal energy or biomass. At the level of environmental management, we are talking about any practice that is capable of reducing the ecological footprint such as the recycling of wastewater and rainwater, composting, the use of bio products in cleaning, ecological gardens ... And at the level of social management, are valued measures that generate wealth in the immediate environment, Such as the use of products km 0, the relationship with suppliers of proximity, social actions ... All this analyzed, we have the certainty that they are ecological hotels, which share our values as a company and allow us to have a common strategy around a planet increasingly sustainable.
- Origorooms, is it aimed at people who are committed, concerned about nature, the environment, sustainability... or at raising awareness among those who do not yet have them?
If we talk about the target we are addressing, it would be those people with a sustainable sensibility; it is on them that we have to build our community. However, above all we offer hotels, ecological hotels but hotels, so the spectrum is extended to all those people who want to book Origorooms whether or not they appreciate sustainability before. We could say that we do seek to raise awareness, from us as a company and from the growing community around sustainable tourism and development.
- What is the geographical scope of Origorooms? Will we see the platform in other countries outside Spain?
We are currently focused on establishing the brand in Spain, although it is true that it is a scalable model that can be exported to other countries. In fact, as you well know, it is necessary to grow in other countries with a more developed sustainable conscience. In Spain there is still a long way to go in this respect. Hence what we mentioned in the previous question, we must work on the existing basis but always with a view to sustainability is a lifestyle increasingly extended and recognized.
- Is Origorooms a response to this model of mass tourism and unbridled consumption?
We don't know if we are the answer, but obviously we are clearly different from this business model. Origorooms positions itself in the tourism market as an environmentally responsible company and does so with commitment, offering sustainable hotels to those who find it very difficult to position themselves in this facet that forms part of their essence as a company. Mass tourism will continue to exist but Origorooms is the alternative for those of us who value other parameters (in this case sustainable) and run away from all those proposals whose value is the least economic amount.
- What are the criteria to consider the activity of a hotel as sustainable? And in the opposite pole, what do you think defines a tourist as sustainable?
With respect to an ecological hotel, it is clear, as we have spoken in previous answers, there are two marked lines, on the one hand the architecture (let's understand this concept in all its amplitude) and on the other hand the management; both walk hand in hand, without continent there is no management and without efficient management of this there is no model. To the second question, what defines a tourist as sustainable? We believe that the answer would be the sensitivity he has towards the environment around him and how he can act to minimise its impact on it. - Is sustainable tourism an economically more expensive option than the traditional model? If not, taking into account its advantages, why is its offer not so widespread already? The answer is clear, NO. The investments made in sustainability represent a greater economic impact that obviously affects the profit and loss account of a company, but in the case of sustainable tourism this is not reflected in the price. If we analyze our eco-hotels, we could come to the conclusion that they are more expensive hotels, but they are not because they are more or less sustainable, they are because of the product they offer.
Most of our accommodations are managed by people with a high sensitivity, which makes them higher quality products (not to be confused with luxury) and therefore should be positioned in the market. The fact that it is not yet widespread is the problem of that initial investment, which makes the proposal more expensive and presents returns in the medium term as opposed to the immediacy that is often demanded of projects. On the other hand, Spain has yet to grow in ecological awareness so that many more of us will decide to invest in this business model.
- Having such important objectives and presumably coinciding with the political model to be followed, do you think that this model is sufficiently promoted by public institutions? What do you think it needs to become the tourism model by definition?
We don't think so, there should be more aid. As we have mentioned before, investment, whether in architecture or management, is high and often this is a brake on this whirlpool of prices that we all have to face and compete against. If there were more aid, this would undoubtedly encourage the emergence of more sustainable housing. On the other hand, we are in an anachronistic sector of low inertia of change, which lacks on the one hand awareness and on the other to leave the comfort zone and bet on stable income.
You recently participated in a discussion forum about the sustainable tourism model at the Escola Superior d'Hostaleria de Barcelona. What do you think about the way this topic is treated in the educational context? Do you think that only this model should be taught in higher education instead of traditional models?
We believe that little by little progress is being made in higher education and more so in tourism schools, but we are still far away. Growing global awareness, new generations, entrepreneurship-oriented teaching and specific departments dedicated to sustainability allow us to see the horizon in a clearer and more hopeful way.
From Ekohunters as in other occasions, we always try to look for people or projects that inspire us and that are a reference in their sector and in society.
In this case and influenced by their own way of carrying out their business model, we are not only inspired by their project but, as Origorooms proposes, trying to find ways to collaborate from now on with the aim of supporting and strengthening a society under the model of sustainable development.
Travel responsibly, commit your consumption!