By Shannon Valdes Leiderman
In less than five years, Goodwings has grown from a Danish startup to a global platform–and managed to do so while spending almost nothing on advertising. With the vision of making the hotel industry a driving force for sustainable change, Goodwings has pioneered an entirely new type of business model that redirects advertising dollars to projects supporting people and the planet.
According to Goodwings, most hotel booking platforms spend about 60% of their commision on advertising, which comes out to a collective $40 billion a year. Rather than pouring money into TV commercials or Instagram ads–which bring no real value to the world–Goodwings does two things: gives customers a lower nightly rate and donates a portion of their commission to charity.
A certified B corporation, Goodwings partners with hundreds of global charities including WWF, Habitat for Humanity and the Red Cross, with donations funding a specific project that tackles at least one of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
Every time a traveler books a discounted hotel, like 1Hotel Brooklyn Bridge or Six Senses Fiji, through Goodwings, they hand pick the charity that receives their donation, and can see exactly how the funds will be used for the project. Goodwings also offsets their hotel stay, so every single night booked is 100% carbon neutral.
Corporate clients who sign up for a monthly subscription-based service also receive annual impact reports that showcase the tangible results of their donations. For example, one company paid for 554 children’s education expenses in rural Africa, just by booking through Goodwings. Now with the company’s new Experiences platform, travelers even have the chance to meet the nonprofits they support and join social impact activities in person.
So how does Goodwings reach new customers without advertising? It’s all about their network of global charities. These organizations receive money, but they also serve as ambassadors that promote the business. Reaching audiences in this organic way makes traditional advertising unnecessary, while redirecting more funding to organizations that address our world’s most pressing issues. Goodwings is a shining example of how businesses and nonprofits can find common ground to fight for a more sustainable future.