We all know that 2020 has been a challenging year for most of us. On the other hand, we are getting more resilient and more creative. Some businesses have started their path this year as well.
This is the case of BeEco – a website created by Laura Prego to give you the opportunity of finding (and book) fantastic unique selections of independent hotels chosen according to their sustainability policies. After all, we are changing for good our way of travelling and Eco-tourism is here to stay. Read the interview with Laura now.
Midlands Traveller: Tell me a little bit about your background in business.
Laura Prego: I have a Travel and Tourism Degree and my working experience are in customer service, hotels, DMC agencies (Destination Management Company) organizing trips to the UK for our Spanish-speaking clients and TMC agencies (Travel Management Company) organising the services for some of the UK´s universities around the world.
MT: How did you come up with the idea of a business like yours?
LP: I have always felt that the product I was working with was missing something, like a purpose, it lacked soul.
It all started with the typical travel to Southeast Asia that changes your perspective… What really struck me was the amount of plastic that was everywhere, streets, parks, beaches, sea … On the road, I learned something as simple as that a reusable bottle can make a big difference and I didn’t know it when I left! – so naive …
From that moment I began to learn how to reduce my footprint and I began to see the need to promote responsible tourism, but nothing was defined yet.
It was organizing my trip to Sri Lanka last year, I realized that all the information and possibilities on the internet in reference to sustainable hotels was very scattered, and that’s where BeEco Travel was born.
MT: Why choosing eco-friendly and vegan products?
LP: Because we live on a planet with finite resources.
Because we live in a globalized world where we travel a lot (although now the pandemic is changing the scene) and we have to be aware of the footprint we leave on our path and how our decisions will impact the environment and the local economies that we visit.
Because we must generate sustainable and fair growth.
MT: Tell me about BeEco Travel’s mission and what products and services do you offer?
LP: The main purpose of BeEco Travel is to help everyone to travel more consciously, to make better decisions at the time of booking hotels, and to buy just the best travel gadgets when needed.
The offer is mainly sustainable hotels and sustainable-artisan travel products.
MT: What is unique about your project/business? What services do you provide?
LP: Several characteristics define BeEco’s collection of hotels and travel products.
The hotels available are based on three pillars: their sustainability policies, they have to be independent hotels and the soul of the hotel, their design, and the emotions transmitted.
The products are made of eco-sustainable materials and promote small businesses.
MT: What is your kind of clientele?
LP: Anyone without distinction. Anyone who cares about the environment and anyone who wants to learn how to reduce their impact when travelling.
The positive thing is that when these small changes are generated, they are extrapolated to different areas of our life.
According to a study by Booking.com, 37% of travellers do not know how to make their trip more sustainable, and that is why BeEco is here, to help those who do not know how to reduce their footprint and for those who know what they want because they know they can find it with us.
MT: What are the challenges of a business like yours?
LP: Our main challenge at this time is to adapt to the new situation in which we currently find ourselves.
The pandemic has hit the tourism sector very hard, but it is time to see the opportunities that this generates for us.
Tourism will recover, for sure, but it will never be the same again, it will be less massive and the natural and local environment will be valued more.
It is time to give the value that all the small hotels and sustainable businesses deserve. Promote local economies and raise awareness of the importance of our decisions when travelling.
MT: How is your business helping people to join a more sustainable lifestyle?
LP: Because the search for beautiful hotels that apply strict sustainability policies is greatly easy with us and because in our blog we will talk about interesting products that will help us reduce our footprint.
Once you join the eco-movement you no longer want to leave it, you just want to learn more.
MT: What advice would you give to someone thinking about starting a business like yours?
LP: The idea comes first, you have to firmly believe in it.
The second thing is to jump into the pool and do it. Much effort and energy are needed. It is a long way, with many obstacles, but very satisfying and full of learning opportunities, but much of that learning happens along the way.
MT: What are the next steps to BeEco Travel?
LP: BeEco still has a long way to go, we must increase customers (Which would generate more sustainable trips!), increase our products and destinations since the objective is to offer hotels worldwide, English version of the site.
We just really hope to have more Eco travellers very soon.
BeEco on Social Media