One hundred per cent online. This has been Ardennes-Etape’s maxim since 2001. Now this small business from Stavelot, in the Belgian province of Liège, is awarded by Trends the “Digital Gazelle”.
No paper catalogue with all the holiday homes. Never. Nor are there several agencies in the major Ardennes towns. What they do have: a practical website promoting high-quality holiday cottages in all of the Belgian Ardennes.
In four languages and in constant evolution. The website has been Ardennes-Etape’s cornerstone since its foundation. This way all functionality of the internet is used. Trends, together with Google, rewards this working method. Ardennes-Etape is awarded the “Digital Gazelle” for company with the best digital strategy, the business that used the web and other digital means “the best possible way to ensure its growth.”
A first selection is based on a technical analysis using the WooRank tool. A ranking is drafted and per Belgian province three companies move on to the shortlist. Hosting companies and web bureaus are excluded from participation.
The shortlisted companies complete a survey to clarify their digital strategy. A professional jury chooses the winner of the Trends Digital Gazelle Award.
The jury consists of experienced digital industry professionals. They are affiliated with Google, Ogone, Woorank, BeCommerce, Trends, Trends Tendances and Data News.
“Saying the internet is part of our business strategy is an understatement,” says André Offermans, CEO at Ardennes-Etape. “It is in fact part of the company’s DNA.”
“The challenge is to stay up-to-date with technological evolutions. New technologies and social media already play a key role in reaching and convincing our clients,” adds Offermans.
As main reasons for Ardennes-Etape’s success Offermans points at the management style encouraging personal responsibility and initiative. A constant vigilance in the field of new technologies is – obviously – indispensable.
And then there are the passion for the beautiful region of the Belgian Ardennes and – not in the least – ambitious quality objectives and monitoring procedures.
Quality is the key value at Ardennes-Etape. All holiday homes are carefully selected and a team is completely dedicated to quality control and follow-up. The high-end website is the means to carry out the message to the client. All these elements put together make sure everyone can enjoy an excellent vacation in the beautiful Ardennes.
Small Business from Stavelot
Ardennes-Etape is still what one would call a small business. The company does, however, become an important actor in the local economy. The number of employees increased to 30 and a significant amount of resources is dedicated to the promotion of the Belgian Ardennes as a tourist destination. Local businesses benefit from the economic activity.
Apart from the top-of-the-range website quality is another core value within Ardennes-Etape. They are proud of the strict selection criteria and follow-up procedure. The company’s philosophy is participatory and strategic decisions are taken after thorough consultation at management level. All co-workers are expected to show a great deal of autonomy in the completion of each project. This responsibility and token of trust motivates all employees in the development of their own expertise.
“Receiving this award as a small business from Stavelot is an absolute pleasure and an excellent promotion for the region,” explains André Offermans in conclusion. “This motivates us even more to stay focused on new technologies and trends.
To read more about Ardennes-Etape:
- The Ardennes, they are doing just fine
For more information please call Valérie Geron at Ardennes-Etape: