Hotel con Corazón (“hotel with a heart”) is a social enterprise. In 2008, its first hotel opened in Granada, Nicaragua, and contributes to sustainable development by investing in education and employment, with the colonial-style hotel as the inspiring heart.
Ever since opening, Hotel con Corazon has been able to operate with static pricing. Once a year the hotel established high and low season pricing as well as discount levels for groups. The cancellation policy, established in 2008, was never touched. However, in 2016, it became apparent that the Nicaraguan market was changing. OTAs entered the market, competitors started using it, and the market dynamics changed drastically.
Hotel con Corazón tries to maximize its profits so it can invest more in education. This means that it need to target the right segments in the travelers market to maximize occupancy, revenues and profits. Understanding these segments means that we have to understand the channels they use. All travelers today use online travel agents, and the so-called conscious traveler, looking for offers in “responsible tourism” is no exception. They take their decisions on where to go and where to stay based on these online channels.
To position ourselves better within the different platforms requires understanding the behavior of the segment better. We turned to OTA Insight to help us analyze the segments behind the channels. The easy-to-use pricing and distribution tool gives us insight in the Nicaraguan hospitality market, allowing pricing adjustment based on market demand. For us, immediate goals include improving the training of educators, increasing tutoring opportunities, creating parent workshops, and offering advanced education scholarships.
After establishing our first hotel in Nicaragua, Hotel Con Corazon is eyeing global expansion, starting with Latin America. Hotel con Corazón aims to open ten more hotels in the next ten years - all based on the same concept: offering an exceptional stay and earning a healthy profit to invest in education.
Our second hotel will be located in Oaxaca, Mexico. Although Mexico is considered a mid-income country and has been a part of the OECD since 1994, states such as Chiapas and Oaxaca suffer extreme poverty end inequality, which is why the City of Oaxaca has been chosen to be the location of our second hotel. We are currently constructing and planning to open in the first quarter of 2018.
Being a start-up in the Mexican travelers market has its challenges, and OTA Insight has been and will continue to be a very useful tool for us to discover and follow trends and preferences of our targeted segments and position ourselves the best way possible. Additionally, the platform will help Hotel con Corazón maximize revenue potential and fund initiatives. It should help us to have the best possible start by positioning us exactly where our sweet spot of travelers is.
Marcel Zuidhof is an engineer in Applied Physics from the Delft University of Technology and holds a Masters degree in Business Administration from IESE in Barcelona. After an international career in consultancy and the ICT industry he co-founded the first Hotelcon Corazón in Nicaragua in 2008. After six years back in The Netherlands, he decided to put his experience to work again for a new hotel, Hotel con Corazon.