What is the positioning of the Regent in Berlin’s luxury hotel sector?
Regent Berlin is known as the luxury hotel of choice for the visiting élite seeking intimate service and personalized moments. This means that the high level of service and the delivery of personalized service through our dedicated team in combination with creating moments of indulgence for our guests is our key focus.
With a legacy of innovation, extraordinary views, landmark destinations, and exceptional service for almost 50 years, the Regent brand has been transformed to redefine luxury once more. The new Regent service is all about creating an uplifting stay for the Regent guest, that elevates them above the noise of everyday life. We believe our visionary, majestic and intimate experiences in unparalleled destinations create impressions that last a lifetime.
Which are the challenges of the pandemic which you foresee in the future? What about the opportunities the pandemic may have created?
Understandably, the insecurity of travellers has increased. Even though many borders are now open again, the situation abroad remains difficult to assess. Moreover, the current situation can also change again quickly. Therefore, there are more domestic hotel bookings, which means that international tourism, like we experienced until the beginning of 2020, will probably not return to pre-pandemic for some time yet. We remain focused on what matters most: ensuring clean and safe stays for our guests and offering customers the flexibility they desire in uncertain times. Our guests have missed the opportunity to explore new tastes and Regent’s signature dining and cultural exploration involves a mix of culinary and immersive experiences that go beyond the excellence of the cuisine itself, taking guests on a multi-sensory journey.
In terms of opportunity, without international travellers, many of the popular tourist cities across Europe are quieter than usual which makes it’s a great time for people to consider revisiting cities across the region. For the last year there has been a tendency to opt for trips closer to nature but we’re seeing people start to come back to cities and this will hopefully continue to strengthen as the arts and culture which make them so special returns and in future we can welcome larger audiences and visitors back.
Some hotels have not yet reopened, some operate only a small inventory of accommodations and dining venues. There are even services which used to be considered as ‘basic’ which are now overlooked, the pandemic being the motivation.
First and foremost, guests want to feel safe. We have implemented clinically approved measures for our guests and colleagues by strengthening our industry leading IHG Way of Clean programme. At the same time, guests are craving some normality and a warm welcome. This is where our hotel teams, bolstered by elevated training to help them continue to extend an exemplary welcome, anticipate guests needs to make each stay as frictionless as possible – and continue to provide standout luxury experiences.
I can well imagine that these standards will continue to exist in the near future, and some will become the norm. At the same time, we’re still able to deliver an elevated luxury experience which our guests rightly expect from us. The delivery may be slightly altered, but the attention to detail, quality and taste is always there. To give you an example: Since Corona we are serving à la carte breakfast at Charlotte & Fritz restaurant , which is very much appreciated by our guests. We want all guests to feel confident in booking at Regent Berlin, comfortable in the knowledge that we can consistently deliver a safe, clean and elegant stay, meeting or event, whenever they are ready.
How has your guest profile changed, if in any way?
Due to government restrictions, we have had only essential business travellers staying in the hotel until June 11th. Now we can already see more tourists coming to Berlin as restrictions are being lifted and borders are reopening especially within the European Union.
Do you feel that wealthy travellers have different expectations when it comes to luxury?
We’re certainly always looking ahead to how the needs of today’s and tomorrow’s guest are evolving. We continue to listen to our guests and look at data and trends to anticipate their needs and evolve how our brands play out in terms of guest experience, design, service and so on. Some of these ideas are tied to age but many are simply an evolution of the luxury traveller mindset. The new luxury trends indicate a continued shift from acquisition to inner, personal luxury, which focus on personal enrichment. Luxury experiences are about discovery and sharing stories that are exiting and enriching.
Luxury consumers seek rarefied and irreplaceable experiences to fulfil their intellectual and emotional well-being. They are looking for meaning and substance, to learn and be entertained, to grow and to help others to grow. Our guests are tending to want to leave a positive legacy when they leave a destination, not just something from the gift shop.
Many luxury guests will continue to crave profound levels of privacy – travelling by private jet, exclusive use of residences, connecting suites or private floors of a hotel, as well as private dining – and this now also has an aspect of ensuring social distance. We’re looking to create the perfect travel bubble for them, so they feel safe but with access to the best of the destination.
People are travelling less frequently, but when they do, they are often travelling for longer and looking for something extra special – perhaps upgrading or wanting to experience something extraordinary. This is where Regent really excels, and why we see the brand continuing to grow in strength and size.
How do you envisage the recovery of the market?
The Covid-19 pandemic has marked the most difficult period in the hospitality industry’s history, and while we know it will take time to recover from so much social and economic disruption, it will recover. As vaccines roll out, restrictions are lifting and consumer confidence is returning, with every dose bringing the prospect of travelling freely and safely closer for us all. Demand is returning wherever travel is permitted around the world.
Travel is a huge part of normal life, and people’s desire to explore the world, relax or reconnect with friends and family hasn’t changed, while the wheels of business must turn, and events still need to be run. People are making plans, booking windows are increasing, and my team and I are ready to welcome back our guests warm hearted.
Berlin has a large inventory of luxury hotel rooms however, the capital city has always boasted more affordable rate, which have dropped even further during the pandemic. What is your view?
The Berlin market had already established itself quite well in pre-pandemic times. I am very confident that we will be able to pick up and to build up when the situation eases a bit and international travel in particular is possible again without major restrictions.
Identify, nurturing and motivating talent has always been essential in luxury. How has the approach towards human resources changed?
It is no secret that we have lost some talent due to the pandemic, who have decided to leave the hotel industry. Therefore, in the current situation, it is of utmost importance to engage with, and to motivate our team to attract passionate new colleagues. It has also become apparent in recent months that we all had to adjust to more flexibility, something which will remain also in the future. I am confident that our team will succeed in coping with such changes as passion and dedication are the main attributes distinguishing our team members. This is in my opinion also the reason why we have been awarded as “Germany´s Leading Hotel” in 2020 by the World Travel Awards.
How important is the Regent brand for IHG’s luxury segment? Are there any future plans for expansion in Europe?
Successful luxury brands are often built on strong heritage – and Regent has set the standard for luxury hotels for more than four decades. Building on Regent’s legacy, IHG Hotels & Resorts has combined its expertise with learnings from luxury tastemakers and experts across diverse fields outside of hospitality to deliver a deeply curated luxury brand. Regent Hotels & Resorts is now part of IHG’s Luxury & Lifestyle Collection which includes Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas, InterContinental Hotels and Resorts, Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants and Hotel Indigo.
Regent Hotels & Resorts has a clear goal: to create the most prestigious luxury hotels in beautiful locations around the world. For example, the brand is set to open its first resort this year on the stunning island of Phu Quoc in Vietnam, offering ocean views from suites and villas featuring contemporary design infused with Vietnamese heritage.
What novelties shall we expect at The Regent Berlin this year?
For our esteemed guests we have created “Personal Havens” – artfully designed spaces in the Lobby Lounge or suites with bespoke choices of tea, food pairings, champagne and curated reading lists that help guests to relax and enjoy intimate and inspiring moments. Travel back in time with our “Poet´s Haven” or enjoy our “Haven with a view” with champagne tasting and a picture perfect Gendarmenmarkt during the blue hour.
In autumn and winter, family tradition returns to the Regent Berlin: the Family Lunch at Charlotte & Fritz restaurant every Sunday. The offering and ambiance remind one of a time when it was customary for the whole family to come together on Sundays for lunch. The dishes are beautifully presented, influenced by the region and invoke childhood memories. The joint sit-down lunch is not only a culinary but also a social highlight of the week – a wonderful occasion for family and friends to get together, to catch up and enjoy meaningful conversations.
More from LEADERS
Has luxury fashion really turned towards e-commerce or new luxury consumer has been emerging? - the upper middle class consumer …
With the reopening as the pandemic eases, which do you see as challenges to remain? What about opportunities? Surely travel falls …
Sunset Hospitality Group CEO Antonio Gonzalez shares expert insights into the evolution of lifestyle in hospitality (Exclusive Interview)
How did you come up with the idea of setting up Sunset Hospitality Group? What are the pillars of the …