Frank Marrenbach, CEO, Oetker Collection has recently spoken at an event hosted in New York City by Luxury Travel Advisor: Luxury is about hosting other people and caring about their needs. Of course, we always talk about what the future brings and a lot of things change. But what doesn’t change is the ability to add the human touch, to the way you render your services and to truly care about your guests.
The rest, of course, is packaging. Packaging can be, where is it going to happen? How is it going to happen? What is the destination? What’s the conduct of service? How do you provide service?
Clearly, we see a very large difference from what it was 15 to 20 years ago when formality was often associated with grand hotels. It’s less formal these days, and that is related to the lifestyle of most people. You have your busy agendas, you have to live up to a lot of expectations, there are a lot of norms out there, but when you go away to restaurants or to hotels, you don’t want to have this surround you. But you must retain quality, because often what people misread is less formal means less good. We, as service providers, need to provide pretty great service. Maybe we don’t put our hands behind the back anymore. Maybe we use first names. Maybe the way we speak is less aloof. But it has to be attentive, proactive, and only this combination makes it good.
That is a little introduction to how we see the world changing. For us, hotels are places where people meet and come together. You can see how the design of spaces has changed. There are a lot of great young companies that do that. They create spaces where people can meet. But our hotels have always been providing these spaces.
What we care about are three elements that sit in the heart of our company’s philosophy. First, we want to be hosts of choice. A host, obviously, is more than the super service provider. A super service provider is very good at servicing you. The host is educated; he or she knows more than what is happening around them. They would always break the rules if it suits the clients. But, they do know the rules that they are breaking. That is really important. Breaking the rules in a good way requires a profound understanding of them.
Second, we believe in meaningful connections. We think our hotels should be designed in a way that connections can happen. Meaningful connections are very different from person to person and situation to situation. But, meaningful means it is important. It can be a meaningful connection between you and the place. It can be you looking at the Mediterranean Sea. It could be you meeting other people. It could be you meeting the staff and the team. But the quality is meaningful. It needs to speak to you.
The third element, of course, is an endearing place. Our hotels are a micro-destination. Le Bristol in Paris is right across the Élysée Palace. Take Palacio Tangara in Sao Paulo, it is in the Burle Marx Park. Take The Lanesborough, it’s in the heart of London.
So being the #hostofchoice with #meaningfulconnections and #endearingplaces is the Oetker Collection.
Last year, we implemented a total plastic ban. It takes 15 months for us to get rid of what we have on stock, but it’s important. The difference is, that for the first time, guests are making decisions based on that.
Oetker Collection is one of the world’s finest luxury hotel groups, still owning and managing its most iconic properties.
adapted from Luxury Travel Advisor
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