Innovation at Small Sustainable Luxury Lodges, Hotels & Resorts

A few months ago, we realized that by far the best ideas in terms of sustainability, guest service and efficiency are provided to us by our staff members.  So in order to tap into the ideas of our more than 400 local staff members in Costa Rica and Nicaragua, we created an Innovation Contest.

A great motivation:  Cayuga’s Staff has the opportunity to make over $1,000 in cash prizes plus the recognition that they would gain on a corporate level.

It was a great success.  Over fifty staff members presented a total of 65 innovation ideas.  We were amazed at the creativity level and dedication to this project and it was very hard for us to choose the winners.  In addition to great recognition by their peers, there was a cash prize for all the winners.

The Overall Winner for all the Cayuga Collection Hotels and Lodges was Danilo Alvarez from Lapa Rios Ecolodge.  He identified the challenge that very few young men and women from the small town of Puerto Jimenez located near Lapa Rios on the Osa Peninsula had the desire and skill sets to become nature guides.  Danilo is a “veteran”  nature guide and realized that in order to maintain ecotourism in the area as the main income, there is a need for qualified guides.  So he proposed to create a “Nature Guide School”.  We loved the idea and will not only implement this in Puerto Jimenez, but hope to copy this and bring it to other areas of Costa Rica and Nicaragua where we operate our hotels and lodges.

Danilo of Lapa Rios receives the certificate and the prize for his innovation initiative from Jose Pablo, the Operations Manager at Cayuga Corporate.

The other winners for the hotels were:

Lapa Rios Ecolodge

Juan Alexis Villanueva – Implementation of an Artisan Fishing Tour for our guests in the Golfo Dulce area with local staff.

This is a tour offered at Jicaro Island Ecolodge in Nicaragua.  We hope to offer a locally inspired fishing tour in Lapa Rios before the end of the year.

Jicaro Island Ecolodge

Jorge Carcache y Marlon Cortés – Production of Liquor and Soap from the Jicaro Fruit for consumption at the lodge.

The idea is to make our own Jicaro Liquor and as well as soap for guests to use and buy in the gift shop.

Kura Design Villas

Andres Chichilla – Creation of a biodigester to create methane gas for cooking meals for guests at the hotel.

At Lapa Rios Lodge, we are currently cooking with gas produced by our pigs.  The idea is that a similar system will be installed in Kura in 2017.

Arenas Del Mar Resort

Yovanka Guerra – Creating of a cooking school within the resort to make sure that new staff members get solid training for their culinary future.

Our guests expect world class food at our hotels and lodges.  Yovanka’s program will allow us to meet our guests expectations with a 100% local staff.

Latitude 10 Resort

Gilberth Lopez y Didier Rodríguez – Re-use of the water that is used to rinse the sand off the feet when coming back from the beach in landscape irrigation.

Gilberth and Didier (middle and right) work in maintenance and gardens at Latitude 10.  We know that the best ideas to be more sustainable are generated “on the ground” and are excited that their proposal is in process of being implemented right now.

Harmony Hotel

Fabian Barquero y Francisco Pladano – Design and installation of a biodiesel plant that uses old cooking oil from nearby businesses to power the backup generator.

In order to power the generator, we will use cooking oil from our own restaurant as well as all the restaurants in the area.  An ambitious project, but it will also have a big impact.

Stay tuned for regular updated on those projects.  Many of the projects that did not win are also getting implemented at the moment as the real winner in this is the environment, the staff and of course our guests.


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