Eco- stays: A new way of tourism

Ecoplore

9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure 11. Sustainable Cities and Communities 12. Responsible Consumption and Production 13. Climate Action 17. Partnerships for the Goals

Overview

Ecoplore is an aggregator platform for eco-hotels. They find individual hotels that have at least 33% green area and are made of non-concrete building material such as mud, stone, wood or any locally available material, and promote such hotels by co-branding with them.

Authors

Chahat Talwaria

Chahat Talwaria

Vidita Saxena

Vidita Saxena

John Bryer

John Bryer

Madison Milliken

Madison Milliken

School

Western Michigan University

Western Michigan University

Professor

Timothy Palmer

Timothy Palmer

Innovation

None of the Ecoplore hotels are made from cement or bricks. The problem with these construction materials is that they are extremely energy and fossil fuel intensive, making them a leading producer of CO2 emissions contributing to global warming. Driven by a team passionate about environment conservation, Ecoplore unearths unconventional hotels that meet their Green Criteria. The startup has verified eco-friendly services in more than 120 hotels, resorts, and homestays.

Prerna says “the idea of ecotourism is a misused term in the country. In order to understand for myself what an eco-friendly getaway meant, I spent some time researching the subject and developing a strategy for the startup that would stay true to its ‘eco-friendly’ claim.”

The team at Ecoplore visits, verifies, promotes and books eco-friendly hotels. All eco-stays on the site have at least 30% greenery inside their campus and their major construction is of mud, wood, stone, bamboo or other natural materials. The stays are typically located near a forest, waterfall, mountain, river or any scenic location. The stays grow their own vegetables, have fruit trees and a lot of activities. So, the eco-hotels are destinations in themselves.


Eco- stays: A new way of tourism

Inspiration

For a responsible traveler, one of the more challenging aspects of planning a holiday is finding hotels or homestays that are truly eco-friendly. Prerna Prasad faced a similar dilemma when planning a trip to Malaysia and it took a lot of digging around to identify eco-stays that were suitable for her holiday. This struggle sparked and idea: Create a single platform for travelers to discover eco-stays in India. Said Prerna, “If you really wanna bring change in the society, you have to be a part of the entire economy, and to do that you have to do something really innovative.”

Prerna was a journalist and an activist before she started this business. She realized that to see any changes in the world you need to be a part of the whole process, and environment was the topic on which very few people were working upon in India. Travel and conservation of environment were the fields in which she was most interested in and thus was born Ecoplore.

Overall impact

The vision of Ecoplore is to protect the environment. The platform only promotes eco-friendly accommodations that are made of mud, wood, bamboo, stone but not concrete, and other natural materials. These stays follow other sustainable measures like rainwater harvesting, solar panels, composting, waste water treatment etc. Ecoplore also facilitates people in building an eco-friendly house rather than concrete structures. They also promote the concept of giving back to the local economy by growing local food, promoting local architecture, employing local people and promoting local arts. What Ecoplore offers is a hassle-free means to discover and book eco-friendly ‘off-beat’ hotels and homestays in various nooks and corners of the country.

“In India, eco-travel is not a very popular concept, so its good to see that people have started to realize and got to know what eco-travel actually is.”

In India, eco-travel is a relatively new concept, so its good to see that a trend among vacationers who want to experience the benefits of eco-travel. Because the eco-friendly structures of Ecoplore are being successful, they serve as a strong example in communities resulting in more eco-friendly structures being built. This is occurring in remote areas which are serene and beautiful motivating more people to adapt to these eco-stays and eco-travel.

“I hope that with the gradual awareness, people will understand the true meaning of being eco-friendly,” she adds.


Business benefit

Ecoplore's mission to provide environment-friendly stays has resulted in significant early achievements. The innovation has immensely benefited the company because it is now reflected in every service that they provide and the effort the teams put in. Ecoplore's eco-friendly hotels concept is proving to be a success.

Team Ecoplore and its Founder Prerna Prasad got selected for a fellowship by WEE Foundation (Women Entrepreneurship and Empowerment). Ecoplore was also fortunate to be selected among the top startups of India by IIM Calcutta Innovation Park.

Ecoplore’s Founder Prerna Prasad even got selected for a fellowship by Silicon Valley based investor Dr. Alicia Castillo Holley who developed a program called ‘Women Get Funded’. Ecoplore also received an opportunity to exhibit itself at IKMC 2018 conference, Hyderabad organised by IKP knowledge park supported by Department of Biotechnology, Central Government.

In 2017, Ecoplore did an exclusive tie up with Ecobnb, an Italy-based online platform that is comparable to Ecoplore. The startup is now planning to launch its new improvised website and online booking engine Prerna mentioned that Ecoplore witnesses many repeat customers as they were happy with Ecoplore and its initiative. The initiative has attracted many more responsible tourists and has received great customer satisfaction feedback.


Social and environmental benefit

The innovation benefits both the society and the environment. Ecoplore is an endeavor to protect the environment. It helps in preserving the remaining world’s culture and its natural heritage. It promotes those accommodations which reduce the overall carbon footprint, have less impact on the environment and are constructed using mud, bamboo, stone, or any other non-concrete local material.

Ecoplore is a woman-owned and women-managed company. They also work with experts who help them build new eco- stays and convert the non-eco-friendly stays into eco-friendly stays. Another benefit of this initiative is that in order for a hotel to qualify as an eco- stay, Ecoplore makes sure that there is no polythene zone and there is a maximum use of energy efficient lightings in the accommodations.


Interview

Prerna Prasad, Founder & CEO

Keep this story going! Share below!

Ecoplore

Ecoplore

Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, IN

Business Website: http://ecoplore.com/index.html

Year Founded: 2016

Number of Employees: 11 to 50

A portmanteau of “eco-friendly” and “explore,” Ecoplore urges people to explore nature in an eco-friendly manner. Ecoplore bids an assorted collection of non-concrete hotels for eco-friendly holidays at exotic locations. The aim of the company is to increase demand for eco-tourism as a means to prevent ecological destruction caused by traditional environmentally insensitive tourism.