2010 Innovation Award Finalist: WHL Consulting
Organization: WHL Consulting
Nominated by: Alex Bashian (Organization Category)
Tourism Development Bank is a really cool project and is super innovative. It has far reaching implications for the long-term financial sustainability of small hotels. These guys have been working very hard at this model for the past year and I applaud them. Here is a little more about the project:
What problem are they solving?
Inability of small and medium sized accommodation providers to purchase services they really need like clean energy technologies and/or market access/e-commerce services. Typically it is hard for small businesses, primarily in the hospitality sector to collateralize their assets (i.e. their rooms stock) and/or gain access to finance from traditional lenders (especially in the developing world). High energy costs and a lack of market access due to insufficient e-commerce/online competitiveness are critical constraints to their long-term financial sustainability.
How are they solving the problem?
They have developed a trade facilitation platform that lets accommodation providers pay for market access and clean energy services with room nights (instead of cash). They have done this by a) leveraging existing partnerships in e-commerce and clean tech; b) piloting energy and market access audits with a few dozen of our partners to identify needs (this is part of a much larger partner network of thousands of accommodation providers); and c) piloting our proprietary barter-type access to finance tool (trading rooms for products and services) called the Tourism Development Bank.
How far along is the project?
They have built a beta of the platform and have begun trialing it in South Africa, Mexico and Brazil, where I believe they have completed something like 25 transactions for Market Access services. They are in late stage negotiations for pilot project in Energy Services with a world leader in renewable energy in the developing world: E+Co.
Zachary Rozga, North America & Caribbean Regional Director of the WHL Group, will be presenting on the panel “Effective strategies for financing and supporting sustainability initiatives in tourism” at this year’s Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference (ESTC), being held in Portland, Oregon, USA from September 8-10. The ESTC brings together innovative minds from across the industry to discuss practical ideas and solutions that inspire positive changes. Learn more & register online at: www.ecotourismconference.org.