We met Erich Falkensteiner, president of the Austrian group to which the Falkensteiner Hotels & Residences brand belongs, in Rimini, during the Hospitality Day & ITHIC.
A surprising meeting, during which many issues were addressed that clearly illustrated the vision of an entrepreneur who, starting very young managing a small family hotel, managed to create a usual group, with an extremely current business model which also presents innovative credit access criteria.
President, in your speech you talked about many issues, from crowd funding to the involvement of suppliers in a loyalty plan through access to special discounts, without forgetting the important segmentation of services dedicated to different target customers.
There are many factors that have been put in place to offer our customers high quality services and at the same time develop a business model that would allow us to grow such as crowdinvesting, a new financial method for the Falkensteiner Michaeler Tourism Group, which Austrian law allows us to use.
In fact, your speech was very popular and provided interesting ideas for the entrepreneurs in the hospitality sector, present at the Rimini conference. It should not be forgotten that each geography has different methods and rules, for example in Italy Consob prohibits this type of financing operations.
Of course, every nation has different rules but I hope that our example can give rise to discussions and comparisons in different contexts.
Your Group has developed truly virtuous ways of “serving customers” by creating a sort of life cycle that allows you to offer different services according to age, needs and expectations, would you like to tell me about it?
Our hotels are designed to welcome customers at different moments in life. I’ll give you an example, we have locations suitable for families with children who, as they grow up, often choose to access hotels that offer services more suitable for older children, who want to live an “experience” and then, once they grow up and create their own family, they return to visit us in the places where they had stayed with their parents.
In this sense, the image you evoked of the “life cycle” is definitely appropriate to describe our type of offer.
Sustainability, a theme dear to you, is the core element of your organizational model which provides, for example, the absence of plastic.
We have been pursuing this business model vigorously for over ten years, not easy to manage, but consistent in what we believe. We do constant research to offer our customers natural products, for example we have replaced the shampoo with a handcrafted soap, which customers choose to buy for home use, after having experimented with its use in our hotels.
We have gardens in which children and parents are taught that everything that is donated by the earth is the result of work and care by men and that, for example, for each carrot harvested it is good to plant another so that everyone can benefit from it…
I imagine that among your projects there is training, a very important element for collaborators.
Our collaborators are the best in the world, they are faithful and prepared. We have a private management university where our managers are trained. During the high season we employ about 3,200 resources which become about 2,000 in the low season.
Falkensteiner Hotels & Residences, is preparing to inaugurate on November 26 the Falkensteiner Family Resort Lido, 4-star Superior and family only in Val Pusteria, in South Tyrol, which among its peculiarities also has a ski slope on the roof.
It is an iconic structure that will revolutionize the very concept of living room, an absolute novelty never seen before. This place is also important on an emotional level, because it is the structure where the Falkensteiner family started the business in 1957.
The hotel reopened after a 20 million euro renovation and introduced the ‘sky adventure park’ with sports facilities on the roof of the hotel. There will be an interactive play platform with a trampoline on which kids will have fun jumping and bouncing, a soccer field, a bobby car track, a year-round ski slope with lift, an ice skating rink, a jogging path and more.
The next openings will be in Licata, Sicily in 2023, then in Austria in Montafon, on the border with Switzerland and in Cortina d’Ampezzo for 2024, a 5-star with 144 rooms.
Our goal is to open one or two hotels a year, not more, because we don’t want to grow at all costs, but to grow qualitatively.