Putting Spain’s accommodation sector on the digital map

Spain’s tourism sector represents a significant part of Spain’s GDP and contributes substantially to its employment rate. But with much of the hospitality sector now operating online, many Spanish accommodation companies needed to upgrade their digital offer in order to remain competitive. In the context of the EU’s programme to promote online businesses, the Spanish Ministry of Energy, Tourism and Digital Agenda launched the EU-funded Connected Accommodations project to improve the digital presence of Spain’s many hospitality businesses.

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" The key objective of the Connected Accommodation project was to help hospitality companies integrate ICTs into their business processes and thereby improve their online presence, reputation and, consequently, their occupancy rates. "

Alejandro Tosina Gonzalez

Taking into consideration the potential competitive advantages of running accommodation businesses online, the project set out to provide more digital support, boost the use of online platforms and applications, and train owners in making the most of their digital presence. In doing so, the project tackled several crucial aspects that have historically limited both individual and collective competitiveness and growth as a sector. The project’s philosophy was that once owners reached a certain adoption level of digital technology and witnessed its positive impact on their businesses, this would create a ripple effect throughout the tourism sector and wider adoption of technology.

The project specifically focused on Spain’s micro-enterprises and SMEs, many of which are located in the countryside. As research showed that many of these SMEs were particularly slow at adopting online technology to boost their businesses, the project helped them establish an online presence and use new marketing tools, technologies and channels, including social media. 

Two out of three

The project offered three technology packages. Beneficiaries could choose two to implement in their business. These included a property management solution, a website audit and inspection device, and an online marketing service. Each package included the relevant equipment and related support, in addition to specific training and recruitment services.

The project also approached well-known, high-volume online booking platforms, such as Trivago, TripAdvisor and TopRural, to form specific collaborations that complemented the technological support packages. 

From top to bottom

In collaboration with the European Regional Development Fund, 13 of Spain’s 17 administrative regions were included in the project. The goal was to support a total of 680 hospitality micro-businesses and SMEs. To date, close to 800 have received support. Of that total, over 20 % had never previously relied on digital or online technologies. Close to 60 % decided to top up the support received with their own investments, to improve their online services and digital infrastructure.

Total investment and EU funding 

Total investment for the project “Connected Accommodation (Alojamientos Conectados)” is EUR 3 336 299, with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributing EUR 3 336 299 through the “Knowledge-based Economy” Regional Programme for the 2007-2013 programming period.


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