What prompted / motivate a ‘re-launch’ of Steigenberger Hotels?
We feel that after almost 90 years the time has come to further develop Steigenberger Hotels & Resorts with innovation, new content and a trend-setting design, while reloading our famous values – Passion, Perfection, Tradition, Visionary and Caring – and making them even more popular on an international level. We call it “Evolution Steigenberger”, we are laying the founding stone for the further growth of the brand.
The relaunch of our traditional brand Steigenberger Hotels & Resorts is part of our overall brand strategy and has been on the top of my agenda from the very beginning when I joined Deutsche Hospitality.
Which is the international comp set of Steigenberger Hotels?
Deutsche Hospitality is giving its luxury brand Steigenberger Hotels & Resorts a complete relaunch. Trend-setting in design, contemporary in digitalization and dynamic in addressing target groups. ”Evolution Steigenberger” is the name of the future trend, which comprises core elements such as welcome managers in the hotels, pop-up museums and in-house fashion events, involving the local culture and music scene, new logo, visual language and innovative design as well as quite extensive renovations. In addition, Steigenberger is opening up to strategic partners for the first time in order to offer guests added value: for instance, the Steigenberger Limousine Service “powered by Sixt” will also be available with a personal chauffeur exclusively for Steigenberger guests. The installation of coffee manufactories in the lobby, the advancement of the famous Steigenberger breakfast and a multitude of new digital touchpoints such as the Steigenberger tablet are the prelude to the Evolution Steigenberger, which was developed together with the guests and employees of Steigenberger Hotels & Resorts.
How would you describe the DNA of your brand? See also question number 2
Steigenberger Hotels & Resorts represents the very finest traditions of the European hotel industry, individuality and outstanding service. Travellers from all over the world find a temporary home from home at Steigenberger Hotels & Resorts, where luxury and hospitality are never far away. Elegant hotels in major cities are the number one choice for discerning business and city trip enthusiasts, whilst holidaymakers enjoy first-class spa facilities and a range of exquisite culinary delights. Guests have included kings and queens, high-ranking political leaders and international A-listers.
The city-based Steigenberger Hotels & Resorts are set in prime locations. Some are housed in historic buildings, offering the very best way of mixing work and pleasure. Holidaying at Steigenberger Hotels & Resorts is a truly special experience where luxury goes hand-in-hand with gastronomic diversity and a broad selection of leisure and health and beauty spa services. Skiing in attractive winter sport regions, beach walks along the Baltic Sea coast and golfing holidays are just some of the delights on offer. Those simply seeking to relax will find a whole host of health and beauty spa treatments including everything from Ayurveda massages to vinotherapy.
Are you a predominant third party operator or you also own any of your assets?
We do not own the hotels as we follow an asset light strategy; however we work with three contractual models: lease, management or franchise with selected highly professional partners and proven operational track record.
Some argue that these turbulent international times are better weathered by luxury hotel chains which also own entirely or in part their portfolio. What is your view?
This I cannot confirm. As I just mentioned, we follow an asset light strategy and are very successful with it. This applies to all our contract types: Management, Franchise and lease. We are known for delivering good business results and this reputation is confirmed by the fact that we have several partnerships, with which we maintain more than one hotel.
With the change of Ownership in 2009 a conscious decision was made not to own or invest in the real estate side of business but rather to invest in the quality of operation and the brands mentioned above. Having said that, should an opportunity arise we would consider taking a stake in the real estate with our European Hotel Fund. This fund is a cooperation between Commerz Real GmbH and Steigenberger Hotels AG with the aim to enabling the growth of our brands with opportunities that otherwise we would have no access to.
Which are presently your most important markets? Where you do see the biggest potential for expansion?
We want to evolve with the existing hotels and this year, together with our partners, invest over 120 million euros in the hotels in Frankfurt, Hamburg, at Petersberg, Baden-Baden, Brussels, Vienna, Dresden and many other cities. At the same time, we will continue to grow internationally. Deutsche Hospitality is aiming for an annual growth of 15 percent. Currently, more than 30 hotel openings are in preparation until 2021, including Steigenberger Hotels & Resorts in Denmark, India and Thailand. The strategic focus of Steigenberger Hotels & Resorts’ expansion is on the Middle East and Europe, for example in the Mediterranean region with a focus on resort locations, and in Eastern Europe.
What is the profile of the returning guest of Steigenberger Hotels?
Steigenberger customers show a very high brand loyalty. We have made the experience that once travelled to one of our hotels, there is a high probablity that the customer would also choose a Steigenberger Hotel at another location. But in general it is getting more and more difficult to describe THE typical customer. There is no longer the classic target group of the grand hotel guests 50plus or budget travelers in budget hotels. This is completely fluent today and mixes. There are also young people who like to go to a grand hotel with their wife, fiancée or girlfriend over the weekend to experience luxury in a grand hotel with the special atmosphere, romance, high-quality spa or ambitious star cuisine or culinary delights. What they all have in common is that they are looking for a special experience and first of all a high level of quality.
Which do you consider as the most effective marketing tools nowadays?
There is nothing more important than knowing your customers, which is why are focusing on a good CRM programme at the moment. Good customer relations form the basis of the business success of any company. Knowing the preferences of your guests so as to be able to provide the best possible level of individual service.
Luxury hoteliers are increasingly turning their attention towards ‘old money’ HNWI consumers? What is your view?
Focussing on old money cannot be a successful approach on business or at least is not our approach. Our product is not tailored to an exclusive or specific target group it is tailored to guests, who are looking for high end service and those who appreciate outstanding quality.
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