Reinventing the hospitality experience during a crisis

  • #Positioning
  • #BrandBuilding
  • #Innovation

Travel is restricted, hotels lose their appeal.

At a time when guests were cancelling their bookings, hotels were closing (some for good), the World Trade Organisation announced that tourism was the worst affected industry of all major economic sectors, and European hotels had the largest drop in occupancy since World War II, the outlook was anything but positive for hospitality establishments and the communities they support.

To cater to the 2020 guest, we must rethink everything

One of our partners, a popular traditional winter destination in the Austrian Alps (Kristiania Lech), was looking for a way to ensure their crucial winter season could still attract guests. We set ourselves an ambitious objective: what if instead of a traditional marketing approach, we could develop a completely new hotel strategy that would resonate with the dramatically different needs of the 2020 guest and at the same time grow brand equity for our partner? We knew that to do this during a crisis, we would have to rethink everything – starting with an intimate understanding of the guests.

We were convinced that people around the world had more desire than ever to travel, unwind and reconnect with nature and with themselves. However, to capture their imaginations and their bookings, we needed a radical shift in strategy and an innovative approach. Together with our partners, we needed to create a hospitality experience with an unrivalled level of security, privacy, space and versatility that would offer 2020 winter guests an escape that they could not only feel safe to go to, but also remember and cherish as a winter that exceeded their highest expectations.

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Introducing the Private Winter Edition

We worked with Kristiania Lech, along with leading experts, to develop a comprehensive strategy from the ground up to redefine the hotel for these extraordinary times. The establishment would become an exclusive destination with limited stays available, termed appropriately as “invitations”. The number of rooms would be reduced, providing guests with more space, while allowing the hotel to efficiently manage their resources and mitigate risks. The wellness offer would be transformed into a Private Spa Suite, bookable during time slots, and the whole hotel would be available to guests only. To elevate the experience and ensure profitability, we also introduced an all-inclusive Unlimited Gastronomy concept, which allowed guests to experience gourmet catering, including premium drinks, wherever and whenever they desired.

A traditional winter reinvented for everyone’s benefit

As many non-skiers were restricted from travelling to warmer destinations, the experiences at Kristiania Lech had to evolve to suit this new target. This meant evoking a contemporary and creative spirit within the hotel and letting it run wild across the product offer. Our partners now had more free rooms, so we collectively decided to transform them into galleries, showcasing artists in residence. Not only did this help us create an inspiring ambience, but it made it possible for local artists and curators to gain much-needed publicity. This experimental artistic theme was woven through the offer, culminating in different invitations based on art genres as well as design elements that were lively and colourful, ultimately becoming a refreshing window of hope and arousing joie de vivre.

We also helped expand the hotel’s private butler offer and craft experiences that recognised the guests’ desire to disconnect and try something out of the ordinary; from deer watching expeditions to picnics in the snow to winter forest bathing trips.

Peace of mind remodelled

The offer had been crafted with the utmost attention to detail and sensitivity for the needs of the 2020 guest, who wished to escape the uncertainties facing the world and find peace while re-energising themselves. However, in order to offer peace of mind in these times, we had to do more. As a result, our partners implemented flexible rescheduling arrangements, a special offer for extended stays in the mountains (which included a workstation in the room), and corona tests for those who may be subject to longer quarantine obligations.

Surviving and thriving

At a time when the world was in survival mode, the Private Winter Edition gave people an opportunity to thrive again. The winter that many were dreading turned into the winter of their lives. Kristiania Lech is also booking up fast and on track to growing awareness for their brand. Furthermore, community members from global travel agents to local artists are all currently being positively impacted at a time when they need support the most.


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