ACHAT Hotels have been on the move since the beginning of the Bodman era. Corona has not changed that. However, the development of the brand and the company went differently than planned before Corona. From a perspective, this is not a drawback for the growth-oriented hotel group, as Managing Partner Philipp von Bodman explains in an interview.
How unhappy are you looking at unbooked hotel rooms right now?
Very unhappy, of course - and you don’t get used to it either. Not even 14 months after the pandemic outbreak. Nevertheless, I’m not letting the current situation get me down. When my mind wanders, from where we came, where we’re going, to what we’ve made out of the past year, there’s also a lot to be happy about.
The current situation is like a dance. Hopping on one leg to get through the current situation and all the challenges that come with the times. Dancing on the other leg, with lots of energy and confidence, planning and implementing more cool things at ACHAT for the future. We used the Pandemic time to implement many things, for which we had planned well over twice the time. On the one hand, we aggressively launched further brand development, and on the other, we increased our efficiency in company processes and digitalized key areas.
What points were you able to address in brand development during Corona?
We exceeded our pre-Corona target in all areas of brand development, flanked by new measures adapted to the changed situation. I’m referring, for example, to our services related to the ACHAT HotelOffices. This is where we succeeded in being one of the first hotel brands to permeate the media on a broad front. This was a huge success that wasn’t in any marketing plan at the beginning of 2020. We then started our design rollout, transferring our new brand world to our 34 hotels - each finely tuned to the individual location requirements.
The brand is one thing, the “hard core” of the business is another - how did you drive the core business processes?
In the area of business processes, we were almost more active than with the brand. The most visible sign is the construction of our two new properties, the LOGINN Hotel Airport Berlin by ACHAT and the LOGINN Hotel Mönchengladbach by ACHAT. Several other projects are to follow shortly. Our fledgling Premium Budget brand illustrates more than anything the shift in our company philosophy, away from outdated hotel traditions that cling to outdated self-images and worldviews to an authentic hotel experience that connects and inspires people.
Where do you go from here strategically?
We want to continue to grow sustainably, strategically, and further expand the portfolio. We are also developing strategically in other market areas. By adding Christoph Lorenz, we have created the utterly new position of Sales Manager Sport. In this way, we are tapping into a market segment with people who want to combine real experiences at sporting events with real experience quality in the hotel. Rather than being reactive in all areas, we want to develop proactively and look for new market segments by ourselves, in which we can score points as a provider of genuine ACHAT-moments.
Did it play a role for you to optimize the internal, “invisible” processes at the company during the pandemic?
For sure - this is where we were able to increase our efficiency sustainably. In Human Resources, we have initiated and implemented necessary steps toward digitalization under our new Head of Human Resources, Marion Freddy Krämer. In the near future, we are well on the way to digitally completing the entire employee journey and providing employees with even better support and targeted advancement. In addition, we have also structured our Central Purchasing department. Through our new Head of Procurement, Denis Karalic, we are strengthening our efficiency on the expenditures side for all of our 34 hotels and increasing the long-term profitability of our entire company.
How do you assess the prospects for ACHAT Hotels once the pandemic hopefully comes to an end soon?
Incredibly good! Since we were already in a situation of fast-paced development before Corona, we didn’t have to think twice about what we could do during the pandemic. We have used all our resources and taken advantage of opportunities to take the brand and the company further, to put them in the best possible position for the future. Thus, once the pandemic is over, I am firmly convinced that we will write a new and exciting chapter in our success story with ACHAT Hotels.
Address: ACHAT Hotels, Konrad-Zuse-Ring 23, D-68163 Mannheim, Telephone: +49-(0)621-48 07-0, Fax: +49-(0)621-48 07-99, e-Mail: EchtGut@achat-hotels.com, Internet: achat-hotels.com
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