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  • Writer's picturePeggy Amelung

Hotel Freaks - Eurotalk, the first round

The 10 most important takeaways (there were many more), which were discussed in our Eurotalk in exchange with hotel experts


Let's swap the chocolate on the pillow for hand sanitiser in the minibar, is Stay-cation the new summer deal, and what is the point of an employee workshop in a crisis? Voices of experts; hotel owners, directors, heads of agencies and financial advisors from Europe were in exchange with me during and after the lockdown.

1. Ownership of hygiene

First and foremost, the guest needs security in Corona times. "The relaxation and feel-good factor is then quickly established," emphasizes Max Zanardi, General Manager of the Atlantis Hotel in Dubai. Whether it's disinfecting the room card in front of the guest's eyes, an excellently organized pool area with a safety distance, a visible housekeeping crew that is constantly on duty or elevator buttons taped with copper tape; when it comes to security and standards, ownership from the executive board is required. The security officer is the hotel director himself.

2. Mask or face shield- which makes more sense

In dealing with the guest we need closeness where none is allowed. When lips are covered, we are missing an important component that the brain needs to understand even better what the other person is saying. Lip-reading. The risk of misunderstandings is very high, especially in stressful situations and with foreign languages. The face shield is a good alternative. You can see every smile, get used to wearing it relatively fast and can read speech from your lips much better. Try it out!

3. Positive attitude is the A and O

The hotel industry is one of the industries hit hardest by Covid19. What makes it especially difficult is the uncertainty. Will there be a second wave? Will a local lockdown surprise us tomorrow? Can I fly? However, a negative, black-painted attitude will not help us these days. All panel participants agreed on this; positivity, healthy optimism and solidary cooperation even within the regions, such as was reported from Austria, are essential for survival in corona times.

4. Team workshops have an important task

"In times of declining bookings and budget cuts, employees need support and guidance." confirms Markus Maier, General Manager of the Genohotel in Baunatal. Not only do they need to be provided with the latest information on Corona every day, they also need to be mentally "tuned in". After all, it is the employees who are in contact with customers and guests. Keyword: Employee Experience makes the Customer Experience. Everyone should use the gift that Corona has given us. To look inside. Without regular briefings and workshops in the team, especially now, entrepreneurs miss the train towards innovation and the future.

5. "Thinking outside the box" need courage

In times of Stay- Cation, a time when people tend to spend their holidays locally, stay at home, camping is celebrating a renaissance and many people are giving up flying, it's the same for the hotelier; think around the corner! Experimenting, agil mind set and testing everyday. And in a team. The best ideas have been developed in the last few weeks in direct exchange with each other. My personal addendum; courage and new, agile structures are also needed to implement things successfully.

6. Communication is different in a crisis

The experiences of Matthias Leitner, the owner of Active by Leitner's hotel, have shown that guests prefer personal contact on the phone or in a personal chat like Majestella. QR Codes have proven to be excellent for in-house, brand new information. Most importantly, up-to-date information about products, safety regulations and hotel happenings should be available to guests on all digital channels. With just one click, the guests are picked up and the so-called engagement is easily established. Very simple, and in a direct way!

7. Pillow chocolate vs. hand sanitiser

The small, fine details that we all love so much have receded into secondary requirements. Turn-Down Service without the chocolate on the pillow, sanitiser and mask with company logo are now part of the equipment of the minibar or as VIP version to take away. International, from hostels to luxury hotels. Classic amenities clearly rank behind safety and hygiene.

8. Online Booster Corona

Even hotels that have had no problems with occupancy rates in recent years and have used online marketing only minimally are now waking up. The market is changing. The customers are on the net. Now is the moment to become visible. Many websites urgently need a facelift, areas like room service, housekeeping or delivery service need to be repositioned and successfully re-launched. Now!

9. Digital processes

Where is digitisation worthwhile? How high is the investment? Ullrich Kastner, Founder of MyHotelShop, points out that it should always be viewed holistically. Many hoteliers face the challenge of making the right choice for PMS, channel managers and booking machines. A smooth interaction of all components is essential for successful online marketing. Away from OTA's and towards direct bookings. Mobile-friendly and multilingual, of course. Not only products, but also sales and communication processes have to be checked and digitalised one by one. Questions that need to be asked now. Not when the crisis is over.

10. Travel industry will come back

Travel restrictions continue to paralyze the tourism industry. All panel participants from Dubai, Italy, Germany, Holland, Spain, UK, Denmark and Austria agreed; the desire to travel is unbroken. Deep in our hearts we love to discover other countries, to be inspired by their culture and culinary delights and are just waiting to be able to move more freely again. Covid19 will not change this, even if this virus, admittedly, is currently dominating us.

Hotel Freaks- Eurotalk returns after the summer break in September with new insights, valuable experiences and highlights for the autumn.

Until then, stay healthy!

And, if you want to know more, you can find all Zoom videos here on Youtube or contact me directly.

Many thanks again at this point to all participants!

Cesco Righetti, CFO Lanserhof, at The Arts Club London

Ullrich Kastner, Founder & CEO My Hotelshop

Sandro Christofori, Director of Business Development SHR

Dr. Conrad Schulze- Bentrop, Founder & CEO Majestella

Matthias Leitner ( AUT) Hotel Active by Leitners, Owner,

Mario Laurenzana Managing Director Five Guys Italy Asset Manager Luxury Hotels Statuto

Christopher Hinteregger, Managing Director PKF,

Markus Maier Managing Director, GenoHotel Baunatal (D) HOST

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