1. What inspired you to create your business?
Since the beginning, our aim was the same: to create a singular type of accommodation focused on the “Inclusive Tourism”, not only for travelers with reduced mobility or travelers of all physical and mental capabilities, more precisely to all people whom are welcome as customers and guests.
We need to think that people with disabilities travel for business and leisure, to visit their friends and relatives, like everyone else , so our main objective was to build a universal concept where every person, disabled or non disabled, will be very satisfied with the facilities and the design offered . We have followed an “inclusive” outline where any distinction has been made in terms of accessibility. A key mater in our inclusive design is that it is not noticeable
2. How does being responsible help your business attract potential customers?
Our business philosophy has been always the same: accessibility and sustainability. Why ?
We think that it should be the standard procedure to think that like everyone else, people with disabilities travel also, for business or leisure, and their reasons are the same as ours: to visit friends and relatives, to discover the world, to learn new languages , to enjoy an adventure… again, like everyone else. We never know what could happen to us as we can suffer an accident, develop an illness, and of course, get older. Therefore, accessibility must be a universal concept to avoid any exclusion.
Then, if we think about sustainability, we only have to take a look around us and see the effects of global warming. We need to understand that the climate change is happening very quickly so it must be a normal procedure to follow Eco-practices in all business sectors.
3. How do you engage guests in your responsible tourism activities?
We try to promote our hotel and accessibility practices in our website (soon with a new booking engine that will helps in our promotion), also in some other websites related to accessibility like Native , a hotel reference in therms of charming and accessible hotels, press publications, etc…We do also work with some Destination Management Companies (DMC) that offer our product, hotel and activities, for their clients, individuals or groups.
As we have fully accessible hotel and a tourist activity company, we explain to all guests our main features which are focused in responsible tourism. Not only to hotel guests, also to clients that come to visit us to do a guided tour as we think that it is very important to make them aware of the importance of the Responsible Tourism.
4. What is the responsible tourism initiative of which you are most proud?
We would say that our most significant achievement is that after a few years, we know that we had accomplished the level of expectation of travellers with disabilities that visited us, especially for persons that use wheelchairs. Their level of satisfaction is very important for us as we could say that people with disabilities travel with a bit of suspicion regarding the accommodation facilities offered as most of the times, the amenities published by many hotels do not correspond with the reality offered.
Moreover, we are really proud about the high level of satisfaction of all of our clients as if we check the most representative websites in accommodation, we can realize that we had an score of 9.1 in booking.com and in TripAdvisor, we are located on the TOP 10. Our position is 9, being listed 112 hotels in Navarra.
5. What positive impacts does your tourism business have on the community/environment where you are based?
Regarding the destination, we think that if we are able to become a reference in tourism sector, it will be really helpful for our destination and will increase also the number of visitors. In consequence, we have created our tourism activity company, Activa Experience, that helps to promote the destination by offering all kind of activities: buggy rides, quad bikes and 4×4 guided tours, horse riding, bike location (including Huet adapted bike), exclusive visits to olive oil mill and wineyards including tastings, a astronomic night observation session in our garden, all kind of workshops, etc… but most important is that we do not separate the activities for people with disabilities.
Our concern is to provide tailor made activity holidays for everyone with independence, flexibility and freedom, to share and promote the richness of our destination.
6. What has been the biggest challenge you have faced?
I think that the biggest challenge that we have found to become a fully accessible hotel was to find the right suppliers as unfortunately, it still exists a deep ignorance in details of accessibility.
It has been also really difficult to make them aware of the importance of every single detail like dimensions and measurement. On one hand we had the supervisors, whom were the first ones to be aware of the importance of every single detail and I can tell you that it has been quite hard to make them understand its importance. And then, on the other hand, we had the workers, whom most of them did not pay enough attention and in our case a difference of just 2 cm, can make a big difference in accessibility.
How we’ve solved that? We have been constantly checking every detail. We spent every day in the construction, checking every point, and if we realized that something did not accomplished the measures or dimensions required, we asked them to modify it following our procedures.
As mentioned before, there is still a deep ignorance in all terms of accessibility concerning the companies related to the construction and it also has been difficult to find the right suppliers but finally, with our day by day job here and with the collaboration of associations like Predif and Once, we have been able to create our innovative concept which is 100 % accessible and sustainable.
7. What advice would you give to any entrepreneur starting a responsible tourism business?
Well, as we like to say: “use the common sense and don’ t ever give up your idea”.
For instance, in our case, I think that one of the main problems when we talk about “accessibility” is that people believe what that really means and most of the times, they are totally wrong. Therefore is really important to use the common sense and of course, get assistance from the organisations related to accessibility.
We need to think always in inclusive tourism as a concept related to a universal design where the most relevant word is “inclusion”.