© 2016 Jave Zam / David Veg
Iceland, a sparsely populated Nordic country located in the open seas between the North Atlantic Ocean and the Arctic, has for years existed by virtue of the skill of its fisherman, a hardiness of spirit, and a persistence of will that has allowed its people to thrive in the unforgiving terrain of the volcanic island. And now the very same barren rocky expanses, hills, mountains, and fjords that have made a life on the sea essential to the Icelandic people for thousands of years are now attracting unprecedented numbers of tourists to Iceland, providing a new way of life and a new economic vitality to Icelanders.
From the years 1262 through 1814, Iceland was the subject of Norwegian control, and became a part of Denmark thereafter. In 1918, after years of growing sentiment in support of Icelandic nationalism, Iceland became an independent Kingdom, and in 1944, reformed into the constitutional republic that it is today. Since then, Iceland’s profile as an international actor has increased, developing a reputation for supporting humanitarian and aid causes around the world. It has also established itself as a noteworthy economy, showing signs of growth and sustainability
Outside of the fisheries surrounding the island, perhaps Iceland’s most important natural resource is its uniquely young volcanic geography. Iceland lies on top of the Icelandic hotspot, an incredibly geologically active zone that, through volcanoes, ruptures, and other land-forming events, formed the dramatic topography that is present in Iceland today. With the hotspot just underneath, Iceland is home to numerous geysers, hot springs, and plentiful resources of Geothermal power. With further renewable energy available from the numerous rivers and waterfalls formed by the dramatic landscape, Iceland has the highest electricity generation per capita in the world, and all of it from completely sustainable sources. This makes Iceland the perfect base for highly specialized industrial operations that require large amounts of electricity, including hydrogen production and aluminum smelting.
But despite the growth in the industrial sector and the rebounding stocks of North Sea cod, which have breathed new life into Iceland’s traditionally strong fishing industry, there is one commodity that has outpaced all others as a growing source of economic vitality in Iceland: tourism.
The annual number of foreign tourists visiting Iceland has increased from 488,600 in 2010 to 1,289,140 in 2015—nearly tripling the size of the industry in 5 years. Tourism industry now makes up for 31% of export revenue, making it a larger source of foreign-bourne income than either fishing or aluminum production. This amount of growth is unprecedented, and with a domestic population of only 332,529, the need for new hospitality and accommodations could not be more pronounced. © 2016 Jave Zam / David Veg
In the same spirit of determination and bootstrapped confidence that has defined the island for thousands of years, many Icelanders have taken it upon themselves to provide rooms for the droves of tourists coming to their country. Families are welcoming visitors into their homes, building on additions to their property, or even constructing their own hotels. One of the biggest success stories of all the family run hotels in Iceland is Hotel Eyvindará, located just outside of the town of Egilsstaðir.
Building a sustainable hospitality business through quality, close attention to detail, and innovative design
The Hotel Eyvindará, founded 10 years ago, has grown from a very small hotel consisting of 4 rooms and 4 cottages to having a capacity for 75 people today. It is located in the far eastern reaches of the country, on the opposite end of the island from the capital of Reykjavík—a bit off the beaten path, but this is, in essence, the heart of what makes traveling to Iceland so desirable. As a family run hotel outside of a small town, surrounded by the natural wonders of the countryside in every direction, Hotel Eyvindará is demonstrative of the special allure of Icelandic hospitality.
As a family run hotel, Hotel Eyvindará takes special care in spreading the careful attention to guests, love of hospitality, and deep knowledge of the surrounding areas to each of its employees. The family feeling permeates everything, even as the hotel has grown to include two buildings, cottages, and a new indoor lounge. The hotel restaurant continues that authentic and heartfelt character, serving high quality, locally sourced food, all cooked in the local style.
The hotel has been able to stake out growth and expansion thanks to its consistently high levels of customer satisfaction. Websites such as booking.com and Trip Advisor, with which Hotel Eyvindará works to allow customers to book online and compare with other hotels, are a testament to how delighted guests are with their stay at the hotel. The universally high-ratings, heaps of praise, and promises to recommend the hotel to friends and family has made word-of-mouth one of Hotel Eyvindará’s best marketing tools.
For its commitment to quality, its consistent levels of growth and expansion, and for continuously delighting each and every one of its guests, Hotel Eyvindará has been selected to receive the 2016 BID International Quality Award, one of the highest international recognitions for organizational quality and excellence.
ABOUT BID AND THE INTERNATIONAL STAR AWARD FOR QUALITY:
BID is a private and independent organization founded in 1984, whose primary activity is business communication orientated towards quality, excellence and innovation in management. A leader in the broadcasting of Quality Culture, BID recognizes those companies and organizations which lead the most important activities in the business world, and is considered the founding organization in the broadcasting of the Culture of Quality, Excellence and Innovation in 179 countries. The trophy symbolizes a pledge to the principles of Quality Culture. The QC100 Total Quality Management Model, together with the Quality Mix program, media coverage of the convention and its impact on the community and business sector, create an unmatched platform for continuous improvement within the organization and awareness of the achievements of the company at an international level. Awards are given only to those who are committed to improving their Quality Culture based on the principles of the QC100 Total Quality Management Model. Candidates are proposed by the leaders of previously awarded companies who they consider worthy of the award. Especially meritorious candidates may also be nominated. The International BID Quality Award Selection Committee then chooses the winning companies who will receive the award in New York, Paris, Geneva, Frankfurt, Madrid and London.