CEO Falkensteiner Hotels & Residences
The story of Austrian-based Falkensteiner Hotels and Residences is all about family, well, two families to be exact: the Falkensteiners and the Michaelers. Twenty-four years ago the clans decided to team up, which made perfect sense as both have hospitality in their blood.
It all started back in 1957 when Maria and Josef Falkensteiner opened a small guesthouse in the Pustertal Valley in South Tyrol, Italy. Nobody could have imagined that just over half a century later it would become one of the most successful family-run holiday hotel groups in Central Europe. When current CEO Otmar Michaeler’s mother and father signed a deal with the Falkensteiners in 1995 to merge their hotel businesses, things really took off.
Creating a home
Falkensteiner Hotels & Residences quickly spread from Italy across the continent to Austria, Slovakia, Croatia, the Czech Republic,
Serbia, and Montenegro. Despite this rapid expansion, the joint management have kept their South Tyrolean roots at the heart of everything they do and Otmar is keeping this ethos alive. As a result, each and every guest at the 26 hotels and three apartment complexes soaks up the Alpine down-to-earthness, Mediterranean optimism, or Balkan hospitality – depending on which of the seven countries they’re staying in. As the Falkensteiners have always said, “the challenge is not to build a hotel but to create a home.”
“I’m 52-years-old and I’ve been CEO for the last 10 years,” Otmar says. “We’re a family-driven business and now have more than 2,000 employees. We’re running and developing hotels and we have brilliant teams for both sides of the operation. I’m a big motivator so I like to drive people’s ambition – at Falkensteiner we understand that the hotel industry isn’t just about bed and breakfast, it’s about emotion as well.
We have great people working here including amazing designers, architects, chefs, and everyone who works in service.”
Falkensteiner offers accommodation for all types of holidays, whether it be a family vacation on the beach or in the mountains, a relaxing wellness retreat with a partner in an oasis of bliss and tranquillity, a sports holiday with friends, or a city break to one of Europe’s stunning capitals.
Otmar explains the group’s plans for the next three to five years: “We want to open our business up to investors from outside to grow faster. To get new capital in the company you need a lot of equity to grow in the hotel industry, es
“We are always thinking about our customers. Who are they? What do they want? How can we make them happy?“
pecially if you’re a developer like us, so our next step is to find a strategic partner for our mother company. We want to grow.”
The hotel group also runs an academy to train and teach its staff so that the expectations of customers are not just met but exceeded, especially when it comes to food. Guests at all Falkensteiner hotels are treated to the finest cuisine inspired by different cultures and countries. “We have an excellent management team who are increasing the quality of food and entertainment day-by-day,” Otmar says. “Change is happening in our business – we have defined our brand but we’re always thinking about our customers. Who are they? What do they want? How can we make them happy? We understand that people are not only looking for a hotel but also travel motives, such as spa retreats or sports holidays, so this is changing how we approach business, infrastructure, and management.”
Tradition is ingrained in the Falkensteiner brand. Otmar and his team strive to keep things
“Diversey is our supplier for general chemical cleaning solutions for all of our hotels. In Italy, the company also provides us with products for swimming pools. We appreciate Diversey’s cooperation, which is revolutionising cleaning and hygiene technologies “
CEO Otmar Michaeler
regional and are always ready to exclaim “Welcome home!” to new and returning guests. “We like to combine the two worlds of tradition and innovation,” the CEO explains. “We respect our history but we are very innovative, especially when it comes to marketing and digitalisation.”
Home away from home
Without trusted suppliers the hospitality industry would simply not be able to function. Falkensteiner calls on several partners and companies who provide food, construction services, materials, and staff. Otmar has sealed valuable long-term mutual partnerships: “The price is not always the most important thing. You need the right balance between quality, value, and partnership.”
It’s the holiday season so there’s no better time to book to a festive break at a Falkensteiner hotel, whether it be in Italy, Austria, Croatia, Montenegro, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, or Serbia, it will always feel like a home away from home.