How has your property performed in 2020 and what are your expectations?
It has been a difficult time for the whole industry. We felt the lack of international travel as well as the fear of the current situation. Luckily for us at Grand Resort Bad Ragaz, thus far we were not forced to close the hotel and were able to retain our staff and operate on a smaller scale. I am convinced that the situation will stabilize globally in 2022. In 2021, things will remain difficult, but we will move forward step by step and look ahead with optimism. The topic of sustainability will become even more important.
Which are the major challenges you see as continuing in the Covid-19 pandemic?
A great difficulty is the volatile business situation. Bookings are coming in, but on a very short notice. This situation makes it difficult to plan our staffing, the opening of the restaurants, etc.
What about the opportunities you envisaged early on and those you see now as the world is striving to adapt to the ‘new normal’?
Thankfully we have a medical department in the Resort, that supports us on a daily basis. This way we could inform our staff and guests properly about the measures that had to be introduced
Which are the most common mistakes you see luxury hoteliers not having learned from?
As discussed, the lack of cash flow bears the risk to delaying renovations, which impacts the quality of the product
You have conducted as a most impressive renovation, rather transformation, of the Hotel Quellenhof, taking a rather bold approach to interior design. Tell us more about your strategic approach and how this renovation is part of the major development plans you are have been taking in the past 4 years.
We have formulated a very clear vision to bundle our wide spread offerings as a Resort and focus on three generations:
Kids / Young adults: Kids Villa that is fully taking care of children from 09.00 AM until 17.00 o’clock every day. A really good experience for the kids to have fun in a two storey historic villa, that offers a very memorable experience, coupled with a great team of people.
Kids Spa: A place the kids can enjoy, play and be loud. All with thermal water
Parents and Grand parents: Sport and nature offering that is unique array of activities – hiking, biking, golfing (our own two courses), swimming, sailing, tennis, skiing, etc.
Other key strategic positioning points:
1. Swiss Olympic Medical center to coach, support and guide the guests
2. Preventative Health programs to optimise stress, weight loss, detox, etc
3. Top notch gastronomy (fine dining) with a total of 76 GaultMillau points and a total 5 Michelin stars
4. Grand Resort Bad Ragaz, the largest Spa facility in Switzerland
And last but not least we bundled our competencies from the hotel industry, medicine and culinary arts last fall. The result is the evidence- and experience-based NEWYOU Method, which is unique and helps in the all generations to live a healthier life.
Regardless of the unusual times of the pandemic, how do you see the grand resort evolving in terms of clientele – type of guests etc.
We have a high number of domestic guests, discovering the different regions in the country. A lot of younger guests and families that enjoy the diversity of our restaurants and the beautiful nature surrounding us
Your property is uniquely positioned in Bad Ragaz being inherently linked to the inhabitants and the community and with no competition. Nevertheless, on a larger scale within Switzerland do you have a comp set?
Since we have a very wide offering as a resort, our comp set is just as diverse. Usually we compete with hotels on one or two strengths, hardly ever is there another Resort with such a wide offering as ours.
Besides providing excellence whether in medical services or wellness, your resort has built a sold reputation for your very high and most importantly, consistent, customer service. What is your approach to discovering, nurturing and motivating talent? Has the pandemic presented any challenges when it comes to your team?
We have training very high on our agenda. As a matter of fact, we operate our own school, The Academy of Hotel Excellence, where we train and develop our most valuable asset, the team
Moving forward and past the pandemic, which are the objectives you have set out for in the next 2 to 3 years?
We truly hope that the confidence of travelling comes back and we hope that the guests start exploring different areas and destinations, not only focus on larger destinations. Bad Ragaz has a lot to offer historically and for the future.
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