Benedikt Jaschke, Chief Quality Officer and Member of the Management Board, Kempinski Hotels on how Kempinski is building back better
How has COVID impacted the way your customers research and book your services?
We have seen an increase in demand for certification in regard to cleanliness and hygiene but also CSR commitment. Guests are far more sensitive to these topics than they used to be. To assure the highest level of hygiene and to protect guests and employees alike, we have established the Kempinski White Glove Service, taking into consideration all aspects of our daily operation. Guests reacted extremely positively as they were given full confidence in the cleanliness and disinfection of our premises. A good indicator of the shift in booking habits is that booking websites prominently display the standards hotels apply to assure safety for guests, even if in our segment, as I believe, it is expected by guests that, besides the local regulations, the hotels operate under the highest hygiene standards anyway.
In addition, CSR plays a crucial role in the booking process and needs to meet the demands of today’s travellers. Our sustainability programmes consist of various initiatives directed towards reducing energy and water consumption, minimising waste, eliminating single-use plastic, maximising the engagement and wellbeing of employees, promoting the contribution to the health of local communities, preventing a breach of human rights, improving sustainable procurement practices in our supply chain and offering sustainable products and services, such as sustainable meetings. We work on a wide range of initiatives, such as EarthCheck, Clean the World, Soap for Hope and Linen for Masks and, wherever possible, implement these globally or at a local level.
Do you believe this is a chance for a more sustainable tourism model?
The latest tourism studies have shown that 70% of global travellers say they would be more likely to book accommodation knowing it was eco-friendly, and 55% of global travellers report being more determined to make sustainable travel choices compared to last year.
I believe that in the corporate and leisure segment, the sustainability factor will become more and more important and offers a great chance for the industry to shift to a more sustainable way, concentrating again more on seasonality, locally produced goods, the support for local initiatives but, even more importantly, investing in education and training for the community, giving employment to the local population and embedding culture and traditions in the properties. In a few words, if customers demand a more sustainable way, we as hoteliers will follow and have the opportunity of gaining a higher market share by leading the change.
How do you think tourism will evolve over the next few years?
Leisure tourism will become more and more a way to explore the local culture and to get an understanding of the place we are travelling to. The integration of the hotels in the local community and the shift of mind to a more "giving back" mentality will happen as a necessity in response to the increased demand of the guests. Governmental regulations, a smaller amount of resources and the increase in cost of natural resources will force hospitality to adapt and change to be able to still operate in a profitable way. Guests want to enjoy a holiday guilt-free and not have to justify themselves, once home again. We are aware of this and constantly work on adjusting our offers.
Picture: Benedikt Jaschke