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The secret to successful hotel rebranding

Rebranding a hotel group is no small feat, but with a clear strategy and a commitment to changing client needs, the results can be outstanding. Business Destinations spoke to Rupert Simoner about recent changes to the Vienna House group

Vienna House's range of hotels embrace modern design and modern amenities to provide unique city centre breaks 

Under the leadership of Rupert Simoner, the Vienna House group has embarked on a fresh strategy to reposition itself with a clear new brand; a transition that started from the inside out in order to lay a foundation for continued commercial success and future growth.

The company’s numerous hotels have been categorised into four brands: Vienna House is the umbrella brand for the group’s stylish and tranquil city and resort hotels; andel’s represents unique design; and angelo characterises a colourful and vibrant concept. Finally, there is the Vienna House Easy line, which represents local hospitality and simplicity. Business Destinations spoke to Simoner about the recent changes within the Vienna House hotel group.

What are the main features of Vienna House’s recent rebranding?
One of the most significant changes has been introducing the ‘host’ principle, meaning that our staff have a lot of freedom to be great hosts. The use of new technology, such as charging points on all tables, web-based concierge services and free high-speed internet access are part of our ‘simple and intelligent’ rebranding. Features including mobile check-in and a personal touch in reception are also a strong part of our image. Finally, our new bar and restaurant concept resembles the region where a hotel is located, while our open lobbies and lounge atmosphere provide a space where guests can meet.

What was the reasoning behind this transition?
Today’s guests have excellent access to the most up-to-date information. At the same time, people’s understanding of value is undergoing a transformation: traditional values, such as luxury and star categorisations, are being replaced by personal and bespoke experiences. This is why we have reached a new formula of keeping it simple, which required a change to our company culture, corporate restructuring and communicating a clear brand message.

Vienna House is the umbrella brand for the group’s stylish city and resort hotels; andel’s represents unique design;
and angelo characterises a colourful and vibrant concept

How does the Vienna Easy brand live up to the group’s cosmopolitan European ambiance?
Renovations are ongoing at the Vienna House Easy hotels, although Landsberg and Günzburg have now been finished. This brand focuses on innovative design, a bakery-style breakfast with first-rate local products and a fresh bar concept. The lobby is a place for both work and entertainment, and guests can order the best pizza or coolest sushi in town from a select list of partners.

Why is a personalised reception culture important and how have you achieved it?
We are defined by our core values: enjoyment, refinement, modesty and exploration. The ‘Golden Circle’ principle was also applied when we repositioned the company – it is not what we do, but how we do something, that is crucial for our success. As to why one does something, the answer should never be ‘for profit’, because profit is only one desirable result of an action. Our answer to why is our belief in the beauty of simplicity. Referring to the personalised reception culture, it is about being a great host – we always question our conduct towards guests and all of our stakeholders. Finally, employees can be themselves; we give them the opportunity to shine through training programmes, promotions and a great working environment.

Vienna House is currently expanding across Europe – which areas are you targeting?
Over the last 26 years, we developed hotels in 34 dynamic locations in nine countries: from France to Poland and Austria, which include top tourist destinations, such as Berlin, Bucharest, Krakow, Munich, Disneyland Paris and Prague. We continue to search for new projects with development potential, that have good visibility, are well-connected, and have great appeal for both leisure and business travellers.

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