Hotel con Corazón - A great hotel for the greater good

Thanks to this startup, over 500 children have advanced their education. Hotel con Corazón is a highly rated hotel (9.5 on!) that puts 100% of profits towards the education of underprivileged children via their own classes, homework help, parental support, scholarships, and financial support of local NGOs.

We spoke to Marcel and Onno and had them tell us a bit more behind this do-good hotel and what they’ve achieved so far.

patio - Marcel Zuidhof.jpeg

What triggered you to start your business?

When the two of us were travelling in South East Asia we had the idea that after initial careers in corporate jobs it was about time to "give back".  After thinking initially about volunteering or setting up an NGO we decided that a Social Enterprise was closer to our heart and skill-sets.

What does your startup do?

Hotel con Corazón Granada started as a 15-room boutique hotel in Nicaragua in 2008. It’s investing all its profits in education projects for underprivileged children. The hotel has been a huge success from day one.  It has continuously featured at the top of review sites and travel guides, enabling the socially conscious traveller to find us easily.

The new to open (in April 2018) Hotel con Corazón Oaxaca (Mexico) will build on the brand, knowledge and human capital in the organisation, therefore we expect to quickly rise to the same levels of success as in Granada.

The impact of Hotel con Corazón is twofold. We do ‘fair business’ with healthy earnings,  local suppliers and steady jobs. We invest the profit in education projects in partnership with local organisations.

What's the impact of your product/service on the travel industry?

We target what we call the ‘socially conscious international travellers’, travellers to countries in development, who look for more than sun, beaches and sightseeing.  Travellers in this segment see beyond the obvious beauty and seek the connection with local culture and communities.

Our guests do not close their eyes to local problems, but understand that NGOs will solve some of people’s problems, but not all.  Structural efforts in education and exposure to entrepreneurship however, lead to long-term improvements in people’s lives.

With this in mind, combined with our growth plans, every year 50,000 tourists will make the world a little better. And more importantly, they will spread the word about how a Social Enterprise can make a difference.

What recent milestone(s) are you most proud of?

7 Years after initiating our education programs in Granada, the ministry of education started a High-School in the neighbourhood we are active in.  The number of primary school students wanting to continue their education has increased sufficiently for that to happen.

9 years after opening its doors, In September 2017 Hotel con Corazón Granada hired for the first time a Nicaraguan General Manager.  We are proud to contribute to the country with a 100% Nicaraguan staff.

With their impressive rating, this startup shows that a great social impact does not have to compromise quality of service. To learn more about Hotel con Corazon and their future plans, visit their website. Continue to check our blogs to hear how they're doing in the coming weeks!