Empowering Brands: Interview With Louree Maya - Founder of Eco Conscious Travel Platform, Kynder
Tell me, what inspired you to set up an eco-conscious travel platform?
The current travel platform landscape felt very noisy, transactional and impersonal to me. Travel and hospitality done well can be so transformative in our lives that I felt this to be a disservice - not just for travellers, but for hospitality establishments too. I wanted to build a beautiful, authentic and curated community for travellers and businesses who seek more depth and substance. Hospitality by definition is about caring. Eco and ethical practices reveal a greater dedication to hospitality’s true meaning.
Plus, there was not one place that travelers could go to that exclusively listed eco-conscious hospitality establishments across category - with places to eat, drink, treat and retreat. One had to do extensive research and sift through a million reviews. We do the research and share their deeper story with you, so we can all celebrate and support hospitality that is doing good around the world.
Kynder is an interesting concept that seems to go beyond just featuring the best in hospitality. What sets Kynder apart from other travel companies?
We only feature independent hospitality establishments with kinder values made evident by sustainable and fair labor practices. Being eco is lovely in itself, but without ethics and fair labour values it’s not enough. We try to see behind beautiful Instagram accounts and marketing and take a look at the heart of an establishment. If we didn’t do that, Kynder would lose it’s reason for being.
How does Kynder work and what benefits are there for featured businesses and travellers?
We have an application, research and correspondence process for hospitality establishments. Once accepted, they understand that an ongoing commitment to eco and fair practices is required to remain on the platform. In return they enjoy a kinder audience of guests who care more about what they do, special guests who prefer to patronize eco and ethical establishments. Travelers benefit from the ease of locating these special places and they can feel good about the business owners and establishments they are supporting. A virtuous circle of hospitality, if you will.
The ethical fashion movement is making an impact on the industry, do you see ethical travel following suit?
I really do. There’s a brilliant movement for ethical fashion. We need to raise the same awareness and passion for ethical hospitality. We need to take a look in our own backyard. Toxic practices and cultures are far too common in the hospitality industry, but beyond unions there is not a lot of activism to help make conditions better. Why is this? Perhaps the hospitality and travel industry are better at hiding toxicity behind closed doors because guests see the smiling faces of staff, but sadly this often hides the reality. Perhaps guests are blinded by branding. not all is as pretty as it seems sometimes. It’s time for it to change.
Your vision for Kynder is both inspiring and empowering. As an entrepreneur who inspires you?
Thank you so much! As an entrepreneur I am inspired by people who are fearlessly authentic, altruistic, those who seek unity among people, healers, those who are inclusive, and driven by love for something greater than themselves. My role models have been Eckhart Tolle, Barack Obama and more specific to the hospitality industry, Chip Conley.
You obviously love to travel - What are your top 3 destinations and why?
Although I’m an American, I’m madly in love with Europe, always have been. My top 3 destinations would be Cortona, Avignon and Oxford because I’m obsessed with the architecture, history, vibrant energy and natural beauty.
Where is your most favourite place for a sundowner?
Italy is sundowner heaven with aperitivo time! I would suggest the The Orto Green Food & Mood Restaurant/Cocktail Bar at the Starhotel E.c.ho in Milan :)
What's the one place you've travelled to that had an impact on you?
Wherever I travel, I love to spend time at spiritual sites. It reminds me that our lives are much deeper and more profound than our daily worries … everything falls away and we can feel the love, essence and truth underlying everything.
For more information on on eco-travel visit www.kynder.net