Creatively sustainable with Creativhotel Luise, Germany
Ben Förtsch is one of a kind. His email signature reads „Host“ before it says „Managing Director“. He signs off his emails with „Eco-friendly Regards“. Förtsch and his team run the sustainable Creativhotel Luise in Erlangen with a lot of heart, creativity, a great sense of humor and a genuine commitment to the environment, their guests and their staff. But first and foremost, their commitment is to first class hospitality.
What impresses us is the attitude with which they approach every aspect of their business: the Creativhotel Luise has its own in-house cleaning staff, which is very rare these days in the hotel industry. When employing new staff, the management does not discriminate against age, sexual orientation or disabilities and provides opportunities for people of all backgrounds. And guests notice this: the overriding feedback the hotel receives is that guests love the atmosphere here and feel right at home.
We talked with Ben Förtsch and he convinced us with his fresh approach and his strong commitment to sustainability in every facet of the business. We are very proud to call the Creativhotel Luise a member of our Green Pearls family.
Green Pearls: What does sustainability mean to you?
Ben Förtsch: Sustainability is not to be confused with renunciation or making compromises, otherwise we wouldn’t exist. For us, it means creating a system where people, processes, resources and the environment are existing in harmony, with people and nature always being at the forefront of all of our decision making. Sustainability also means establishing healthy relationships with our suppliers, it means inspiring our guests with what we do so that they return time and time again. Sustainability means quality, without a high level of quality in everything we do, there would be no durability. We don’t just fight to protect and preserve the environment; we want to be part of it, and a positive part at that.
GP: What motivated you to create a sustainable hotel?
BF: Klaus Förtsch, second generation of the family owners of the hotel, was the driving force behind the transformation. Together with his wife they made these at the time revolutionary changes in the 80s. It was not a strategic move or some sort of marketing stunt, the motivation came from a deep belief and conviction that a hotel can be run without compromising the environment. They used to call him a „green nutter“, but he set a trend in the German hotel industry, and today he is over the moon to see that so many have followed his example.
GP: What do your guests think about your sustainable initiatives and creative innovations?
BF: Sadly, sustainability still plays a subordinate role in business travel. Decision makers in this sector do not, or only marginally, take the sustainability of accommodation into consideration. However, employees of those companies really do notice the difference. Our concept is subtle, we do not constantly remind our guests that everything here is done in a sustainable manner. But the way we operate makes our guests feel at home, from our organic breakfast to our friendly and genuinely caring staff all the way to our sustainably designed rooms. Guests sense and appreciate our high level of attention to detail and our love and commitment to sustainability.
GP: What makes the Creativhotel Luise unique?
BF: Well, all the things I mentioned above. We are not a „ready made“ eco-design hotel, we grew organically. So we are a bit like a large puzzle with differently shaped pieces, but an overarching and consistent concept. That’s our charm. We are no design hotel and not everything is where you would expect it, but that’s exactly what makes us interesting.
GP: And what do you do to stay ahead of the sustainability game?
BF: My family established this hotel in 1956 and a lot has changed in the field of sustainability since then. Constant updates and implementing energy efficient measures help us to stay on the ball. This year we are taking a big leap: We are taking part in a pilot project with the „dana“ (an energy efficiency organization in Germany). It is called „Check-In-Energy-Efficiency“ and the goal is to further reduce our already low energy consumption by another 30%. This is not going to be easy, but we are determined to remain a pioneer in this field. We are also planning a hotel room of the future, a room that is going to be energy self-sufficient. How that is going to look is still written in the stars, but we are working on it!