Charityhotels is a new way a funding for the participating charities. The charities have no financial obligations and did not have to invest in any technology or the construction and maintenance of the website. All of that was sponsored. As such, every reservation made generates a net income.

“We expect a lot from charityhotels, because for one, it is difficult to find a reason not to book through our site.” says Wolfgang Keller of the Red Cross Netherlands. “The site is user friendly, fast and the hotel prices are very competitive. Why would a possible client decide to book elsewhere?” The roots of charityhotels can be traced back to 2002. Alec and Sicco Behrens had approached the former mayor of Amsterdam, to set up a website called dakloos.nl which means “homeless” in Dutch. Dakloos is a locale Amsterdam based initiative, whereby 3% of every hotel reservation made in Amsterdam would automatically be donated to the well being of the Amsterdam homeless people.

After having set up dakloos.nl in 2002, the brothers Behrens found some more time and energy in 2004, in order to develop their charityhotels concept. “The dakloos.nl concept had to stay, but we wanted to create something bigger with a more global appeal.” says Alec Behrens. “We went to see the Red Cross, Amnesty International, the Cancer Society, the Heart Foundation, STOP AIDS NOW, the World Wildlife Fund, Unicef, Oxfam and Memisa Cordaid. They all very much liked the idea and collectively we worked very hard to get this idea to the finished product that we have today. We are very happy for having such fantastic charities as partners in this project and we work really well together. Sicco and I tend to work more on the technical side, whereas the charities come up with a continuos stream of ideas and improvements.”

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