Maria learned at a young age that nothing should be wasted - leftover watermelon peel could be used to feed animals and animal waste to fuel the surrounding soil.
Every year as a child she would leave Athens at the start of the summer and spend the season with her grandparents on the Greek island of Astypalea; the experience helped her appreciate that Astypaleans like her grandparents had been living sustainably for decades, long before sustainable lifestyle choices began to garner attention more widely.
Many years later, when Maria and her friend Carolina heard that a local complex of rooms-to-let was being sold, they decided to embark on an adventure and partner to transform it into the modern Kallichoron Art Boutique Hotel. All their decisions relating to the hotel’s launch and operation were inspired by sustainable principles: solar power to heat the water, energy efficient lighting, eco-friendly detergents, magnetic key cards to enable (and disable when not in use) electrical facilities in hotel rooms as well as all onsite food being sourced and prepared locally. In recognition of these initiatives, the hotel was recognised with the Green Key eco label, an international award for accommodations and hospitality services that comply with strict sustainability criteria.
Once the business was up and running, the challenge became getting the word out. How could they connect their hotel and its philosophy with holidaymakers all over the world who would appreciate it?
Carolina explains ‘’Digital marketing enabled us to communicate what made Kallichoron unique. We targeted travellers interested in sustainability with the help of Google Analytics and we used the right keywords to ensure we were seen in search results.’’
‘’Geo-targeted ads also helped us to promote our award winning no-waste ‘’Grandma’s Breakfast’’ (inspired by local produce recipes passed down through generations) to people already in Astypalea, giving us a new source of revenue beyond our rooms alone.’’
The team started keeping their website and social channels up to date, including imagery and videos, to help communicate the hotel’s sustainable values and proposition. They also updated their Google Business Profile to feature their sustainability features and highlight their Green Key eco label. These initiatives have helped them differentiate and steadily increase their bookings by 14% on average every year.