Becoming a memberIf the philosophy of BIO-Hotels appeals to you and you don’t have any problem with the guidelines, come and join us!
Here are some of the questions most frequently asked by interested hotels:
“What is the difference between bio organic and conventional?”
Unfortunately conventional agriculture and the production of nutrition always includes the use of chemicals and lately more and more genetically modified organism (GMO). Most of the animals are not kept in their natural environment. One can find more exceptions to this general conviction when it comes to cattle, sheep and goat treatment. However the treatment of pigs and poultry and the behaviour in fish farming is irresponsible and very damaging.
The main reasons for this abuse is to be found in the pricing pressure on the markets during the last couple of decades. This has forced producers to use more intense methods on one hand and on the other hand lead to them ignore more and more the natural needs and rhythms in agricultural cultivation.
Organically cultivated farms work on a total different concept; by remembering and working with the natural needs and rhythms the farmers do not need to use chemicals for their soil (no GMO) and they do not need the support of the Veterinarian as much. Organic farms generally look like the farms seen on TV commercials for eatables that enable one to believe that the entire agricultural system is in a romance with nature. The minimum Standards for organically produced goods are written in the EUVO 2092/91. This regulation determines the difference between conventional standard production and organically grown production. Co-Operatives of organic farmers, like Bioland, have higher goals; not only are higher standards their aim, but rather a sustainable management with different values are the fuel for the pioneers of the “Organic Movement”. “Is everything available in organic quality for the hotel industry?”
Basically yes. If one has the appropriate knowledge then even the costs of goods can be kept at a similar or slightly higher level. Nonetheless, the daily work is definitely different in an organic kitchen than in a conventional one.
The differences are – for example: no convenience goods; no readymade dishes; purchasing is done regionally and seasonally – on one hand because our guests appreciate it and organic goods are cheaper bought in season (the price difference to conventional food being very high in the off season)– not to mention that it is of course healthier.
The Bio-Hotel colleagues support each other freely and also our Partners (like Bioland) do their best to support each hotel with the availability of eatables. For the first time ever, we had a meeting of the chefs from our Bio-Hotels exchange their knowledge and experiences. Internship within the members is a given, as is the exchange of employees to support our new members. Why was the Association “The Bio-hotels” founded?
The BIO-Hotels primary outcome is to support and realise a different, sustainable and economic way of achieving their economical goals and work. That determines most of their decisions, as well as their touristic offers. Underneath all that you will find their beliefs, for example that organic agriculture is better than conventional or that it is important how a company treats the environment and employees. Based on this awareness they wanted to be in integrity with the daily work and wanted to convert their hotel into an organic hotel – one of the first stages to becoming organic was to change the eatables.
In 2001 some hotel owners met and decided to realise together their common goals. One of the first realisations they had was that combined they had solutions to the individual challenges and therefore everybody gains from this shared knowledge in their development. “What are my benefits for being a member?“
The pure desire to manage ones company differently is an easy decision to make but execution is a different story. It is not solely done by changing from purchasing conventional goods to organically grown goods. Equally important is to educate and motivate the co-workers, reduce doubts, install regional alliances, etc. And even more one has to inspire people, for example to attract exactly those people that are looking for your quality, who understand your concept and appreciate your efforts.
The Association helps companies have an easy transition from conventional to organic. To become a fully organic hotel is much easier, working together with our partners (for example Bioland) and our Association. In combination with high quality marketing concepts it is easier to reach your target audience of organic enthusiasts as guests for your BIO-Hotel. “What MUST be organic at a BIO-Hotel?“
At this point – if one is sincere – the only measurable base for organic can be food and beverage. Therefore we are very, very strict in this area and there is no room for interpretation. Nonetheless the understanding of organic is way beyond this minimum requirement in our hotels: all members must have one certified organic natural cosmetic line. In addition we are in development of regulations and standards for Non-Food criteria like guestrooms (mainly bed and bedding), Electorsmog, etc. – based on the results of 2006 customer survey. “Do I need to convert my hotel completely?”
Yes. We as BIO-Hotels are known for a clear reputation for not making compromises in this area.
See the standards under point 2.
These standards apply to all areas of the hotel.
“How does the quality assurance work at the BIO-Hotels?” This concept is based on three points:
- The Association supports new and current members with active interaction and support. As we have been established since 2001 almost all possible challenges have come to light and either have been solved or solutions are in place, therefore the experience is diverse and is happily given to support the development of our new and existing members.
- Bioland (in Germany), Bio Austria (in Austria) and local organic Farmer Associations are established and responsible partners for regional support, interaction and for PR reasons.
- Their experienced people covering the area of organic agricultural perfectly.
- Certification/Organic control agency:
The BIO-Hotels have a Certification/Control agency in each country. These are officially authorised organisations and are a standard in organic farming. Here it is important to have complete proof that the member applies all rules. This also means that he keeps the promises given to his guests.
Offences against our rules detected by the control agency will be presented to the BIO-Hotels Board members, which will be sanctioned accordingly (and can even lead to the exclusion of the member).
“How long will it take to be fully converted into a BIO-Hotel?”
The time from the decision to become a BIO-Hotel to the actual official acknowledgment and certification is different, based on the existing situation of the individual hotel, on the motivation of the team and co-workers and the concept for the conversion itself. Experiences has shown that it takes from 2 month up to 15 months. It is important that the Hotel is not negatively affected by it, that the team “feels” great with the new concept and that the regional possibilities are well known and used.
The support of the Association and our partners is very broad. It starts with signing the contract to become a member and ends with the certification by a control agency. The hotel is from that point on considered a BIO-Hotel, it can use the trademark and will be included in all marketing activities and advertisements.
 based on our survey from 2006 we know that for 70% of the guests “organic” the main criteria for their decision to stay at one of our hotels