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A story to tell

Historic Hotels of Europe start pan-European cooperation

Konzert bei Historic Hotels Meeting  

The host hotel Waldhaus in Sils Maria writes a
cultural story itself. The members of Historic Hotels
of Europe enjoy a private concert.


 

St. Moritz (April 8, 2011). On the "Arrivée" board, the arrival times of the guests have been written down with chalk for decades. And nothing will change this in the famous Grand Hotel Waldhaus in Sils-Maria near St. Moritz. But many things will change at Historic Hotels of Europe (HHE), which have chosen this 103-year old hotel as a symbolic start for a new era. The loose network up to now of very historical hotels from all over Europe wants to emphasis common values and enter a pan-European marketing step by step in future. In doing so, the Waldhaus'' slogan "A family affair since 1908" has been transferred to the newly blossoming relationship within the HHE family.

All over Europe, Jan Edshage, Chairman of HHE, has encouraged his hotelier colleagues to tell the guests and staff members a story about their own hotel and HHE. Under the umbrella of HHE, 19 national organisations from 22 countries with about 600 historical hotels containing six to 100 rooms have "a story to tell": castles and mansions, country houses, old-fashioned inns and historic restaurants. Every house is a jewel, has its own story and has unique cultural possessions. This connects.

  Historic Hotels Waldhaus Lobby
  The lounge, the pulse of the Waldhaus.

The actual first meeting in St Moritz served to get to know each other; however, it very quickly became obvious that all hotels have similar challenges to meet - mainly concerning sales. The marketing potential of the loose cooperation is enormous: all members have a total of 1.6 million brochures and seven million website visitors. Therefore, the website is the first tool, which will be optimised starting August 2011: among others, a member area is planned where documents, news and announcements can be shared.

Mega challenge concerning sales

The next focus will then be on the mobile commerce - the recently launched App is a first step in this direction. However: Chairman Jan Edshage had to remind his own members to actively use this gratuitous tool for their own hotels and inspire staff members and guests to use it, too. "And then, we will think about common sales strategies", promised Edshage dynamically.

Historic Hotels of Europe Flyer  
All HHE members publish
1.6 million brochures
.

 

Therefore, it was not surprising that the organisers of this first meeting - with Swiss Historic Hotels as the institution in charge - strongly relied on social media and networking/electronic distribution at the lectures. In his talk in St. Moritz, the Norwegian Broadcasting journalist Erik Solheim impressed around 100 members of HHE with very practical hints for daily life in a hotel. He demonstrated, for example, how one can easily create a video oneself which subsequently generates a lot of attention on the own website or YouTube. He encouraged hotel managers to share an abundance of photos and information with the users und follow their conversations (without having to participate themselves).

"The key words in the web are: being open-minded, honest, direct, personal and modest!" he said and also urged the users to always pass something on virtually - if but only a "simple" link. However: people, who take the initiative, have to be able to react online instantly. "And say thank you, also in the web", said the well-versed IT journalist.

Balance of online and offline

Karen Brown, one of the most successful American publishers for hotel guides, risked the change from print and offline marketing to online distribution. Personally, she hates Facebook & Co; however, she appreciates the high and fast frequency generated by these social media. Internet technology and social media lift smaller medium-sized businesses in particular onto a higher level concerning distribution, and enable unimagined multiple opportunities without having to spend a lot of money on software. Online, Karen Brown offers her Europe-crazy guests entire travel routes, individual trip planning, wonderful photos and videos as well as many tips that whet the appetite.

  Historic Hotels Europe Gruppenfoto
  Memory photo of the first pan-European HHE
meeting.
/ photos: map

hospitalityInside.com is media partner of this first meeting of HHE in St. Moritz and will provide more aspects and talks about the exchange of ideas in additional articles.

The newly elected HHE board for the next two years was very dynamic and highly motivated, in order to fuse the group into one unit despite all geographical borders. The board consists of Jan Edshage (Sweden) as Chairman, Barbara Avdis (Greece) as First President, Ken Healy (Ireland) as Second President, Claudia Buscher (Italy) as Secretary General, and Claude Buchs (Schwitzerland) as Treasurer. / map

 

Feb 25, 2011 History and hospitality - Historic Hotels of Europe at the cross-border meeting in Switzerland

 

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