Established 11 years ago, German based family owned luxury hotel group Oetker Collection has firmly established itself as one of the leading luxury hotel groups in the world. The group commands a total of 9 properties of which 4 are both owned and managed.
Dr August Oetker KG, founded in 1891 in Bielefeld northern Germany, has grown from a baking products company into a conglomerate with six divisions in 2018 reaching a total revenue of EUR 13 billion: food; beer & non-alcoholic beverages; sparkling wine, wine & spirits; maritime shipping; banking, and “other interests.” Hotels –along with chemicals and publishing, fall into “other interests.” The Oetker family ranks among the top 5 wealthiest in Germany and in the top 70 on Forbes International list.
In 2008, for the creation of the hotel group the Oetker family entrusted young hotelier Frank Marrenbach, who had already been with the company for 10 years as head of Brenners Park – Hotel & Spa in Baden-Baden, Germany. Frank Marrenbach had been on the verge of setting up his own hotel company, instead, after discussing his departure plans with the Oetkers, he realised he could create the same business by staying where he was.
An extensive strategy to renovate, divest and acquire new properties followed, as well as the addition of a new business concept, that of a third party operator. Iconic properties such as Le Bristol, the absolute leader of Paris’ luxury hotel sector and Hotel du Cap Eden Roc, the legendary luxurious French Riviera resort and the Brenners Park Hotel in Baden Baden were joined by luxury properties such as The Lanesborough in London (managed property), L’Apogee Courchevel and Eden Rock St Barths. The Brenners Park property saw the addition of Villa Stephanie, a micro luxury Spa / Wellness luxury property with a focus on wellbeing and prevention but also recently, a more medical approach.
In its relative short history, the group also withdrew from two managed properties, Palais Namaskar in Marrakech and Fregate Private Island in the Seychelles. In the meantime, the group has been focusing strengthening the position of each of its properties, The Lanesborough expanding with a state-of-the-art luxury Spa and private club and Le Bristol Paris and other properties conducting major renovations and upgrades.
The Group also set up its own luxury lifestyle brand, Eden Being, which it has integrated throughout its entire chain at the level of individually curated concept stores as well as events and online retail. Eden Being is also an active platform for communications of each individual hotel brand but also the core group brand, as well as establishing partnerships. In 2018, the company launched a collection of hand-picked Masterpiece Estates in the UK and France, offering the most discerning travellers the dreamy vacation at a countryside mansion or castle with the full services that its hotels would provide.
Oetker Collection recently launched an impressive campaign for its brand communications building on the core DNA components #Endearingplaces
Marrenbach does not have a degree in hospitality, though he masters innate leadership skills based on respect, humbleness and most importantly knowing how to listen – encouraging people to open up and to share their feedback and ideas. This has allowed Marrenbach to also maintain a ‘think outside the box’ strategy, giving freedom for expression for each of the hotel General Managers. There is also another very important aspect which is trustworthiness and taking responsibilities. It is a company culture which Marrenbach has built, with consistently high service standards and employee performance at the core of the Oetker Collection.
Several Oetker family members continue to take a personal, yet very discreet, interest in their hotel properties, especially in the interior design but also the selection of family private art collections which are often on display. Most properties have a deep rooted connection with the arts, especially Le Bristol Paris which hosts an ongoing rotating art exhibition giving artists complete freedom of expression. Most recently, Le Bristol featured a Mickey Mouse inspired signature pop-up suite as part of the celebrations leading up to Disney’s 100 year anniversary.
The ever volatile and insecure global financial environment has translated in a more cautious approach for the Oetkers, with Marrenbach adapting his own strategic vision for the future. While acquisitions or investments are not ruled out, the company is seeking a more asset light approach especially in leisure destinations. For key metropolis cities like New York, the group is ready for a case by case tailored approach.
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