With hundreds of eco-certifications and greenwashing rife in tourism. Behind the Green takes it back to BASICS. Back to storytelling and human connection. Meet the visionaries and inspiring teams behind the world’s leading sustainable and regenerative travel experiences.
Written by Rebecca Woolford
A story from the gigantic mountains of Tyrol in Austria…
Meet Daniel, owner of Hotel Outside. A mountain fanatic – whether it be skiing, mountain biking or climbing, this is his happy place.
Thank you Daniel for your time. It’s so good to be talking with you today. I’m curious to know, was Naturhotel Outside always destined to be a sustainably focused and conscious hotel or did it evolve over time?’
It has always been our mission, being responsible and conscious is in our DNA.
My father founded the hotel and he has always encouraged the family to feel like it was part of our lifestyle from the very beginning. Culturally, the area used to be agricultural based, we had to work with the land, with nature, taking care of it meant it took care of us. I think this is why being sustainable and respecting nature is deeply rooted within us.
With so many exciting and innovative sustainable practices across the hotel. Can you share with me the latest sustainable initiative you’ve implemented there?
Last season we changed our policy with spa slippers. Previously we had provided all our guests with slippers to use in the spa areas and this caused a lot of waste.
Guests are now encouraged to bring their own slippers, we actively promote this new initiative to people before they arrive at our hotel. It is such a simple, small change but it has been very effective in reducing our waste.
Discover Hotel Outside’s leaf-rating, highlights, and eco-activities here.
What advice can you give to eco-conscious travellers looking to vote with their wallets when they travel and stay in an authentic sustainable hotel?
My advice would be to look at the hotel’s approach to transportation. For example, we actively incentivise our guests to use public transport to reach us.
We offer a free shuttle service from major airports to try to limit the use of cars. We also have a Tesla car pick-up service. The message we share with our guests is they do not need a car when they stay with us. We offer guided tours and special hiking passes to name a few.
Can you tell us what is one of the most challenging parts of running an authentic sustainable hotel?
To motivate and engage staff in our eco-friendly vision. It always starts in small steps, for instance, teaching staff members how to separate waste. You have to lead by example, the owners and management have to live a lifestyle that doesn’t contradict the approach at the hotel.
It doesn’t work if you simply set it out as a list of rules and order people to change. Our job is to develop them as entrepreneurs of green practices, so they become proactive with it.
What has been the biggest learning curve or realisation for you personally?
For me personally, it was the realisation that food and nutrition are where it all starts.
I didn’t realise the impact of industrialised meat on our planet as much as I do today. I am part of a number of discussion groups and network with people who are part of the wider debate on food, this has supported my understanding. We are not vegan/vegetarian here at the hotel, but we do try to push more plant/vegetable based options rather than meat.
Where is the best sustainable hotel you have ever stayed in and why?
In New York, I stayed at Hotel No. 1 in Central Park. The whole concept, design, experience and the way they communicated this green approach was what appealed to me most. It was incredibly refreshing to see this in contrast to the typical city hotels we are all used to.
Why is Naturhotel Outside such a great choice for any eco-conscious traveller or responsible travel agent?
‘I am not sure of the exact translation but our ethos in English is ‘In the outside’. We see ourselves as part of the National park. We are an extension of it. We have a holistic approach to the region, our community and function within it. Our ways are deeply rooted within us.’
What’s next for Hotel Outside?
We do have plans to improve, we always will. We are asking, should we add more rooms? If we do this we have to ask, what is sustainable? We also have a future project to capture rainwater on the roofs which could be used for groundwater and our gardens to conserve water usage.