“Villach is the hot spot – it is an easily accessible location that offers you plenty of incentive opportunities”
Q: What makes your resort different?
It is a unique incentive place with a warm, homely feel, a unique place in this part of Europe that is open all year long. We are proud to be able to offer rich and unique experiences throughout all the four seasons. We live up to expectations of this Alpe-Adrian region and its mix of three cultures and offers, where we can cater to every taste and wish through the variety of the hotels we offer. There is also the culinary offer, as our food is really good too. You can start with the Kärntner Käsnudel (my favorite dish) for which even if you go into a small guesthouse or walk up the mountain for it you will never be disappointed. Being in the heart of Carinthia, Villach is the hot spot – it is an easily accessible location that offers you plenty of opportunities.
Q: What could you say about the future of the meeting industry in this region?
I would love for this region to host car launches. With so many international flights coming from Ljubljana airport we could actually bring car dealers whom we would offer three region tours, pick-ups from the airport and special deals to more fully explore all three regions. Having lakes, mountains and special spots reachable in just a couple of hours I strongly believe this could be a great incentive product that people would love to use and explore. It is a great product that could be offered in every season – offering different products through whole year would make it a diverse and fun opportunity for people to enjoy every time of the year – and it is a great off-season attraction.
Q: So you do believe in regional cooperation?
Yes, I do. For me it is important to establish this cooperation, since I’m married to an Italian and I do look at those things more openly. We are all Europeans, so borders are not a limitation. Of course we should cooperate, even more so with North Italy and Slovenia – why not?
Q: How do you see cooperation at the local level among the region’s hoteliers?
We have a really great cooperation with Naturel Hoteldorf Schönleitn; I love to cooperate with Claudia Guani, their sales manager. We have great relations with hoteliers in the region, exchanging ideas, topics and discussions. But, of course, we can always get better and improve on things.
Q: What would you suggest, for example, if a German company (for example BMW) wished to organise team building in Villach?
Well, first you need to know where are they coming from. If it is a Bavarian company, I know they would not be to keen to visit our brewery, as they have lots of them. But we know they really appreciate good food and love to eat, and in July we have a culinary festival called “Brückenschlag” in Villach, basically it is a long table across the bridge “Draubrücke” where well-known Chefs of the region cook and present an exceptional meal incorporating the produce of the Alps-Adriatic-Region that I believe that would really be something interesting for Germans. If BMW is bringing other car dealers then we would need to work together with other hotel providers, as we couldn’t take care of all of the accommodation by ourselves.
Q: What is your favourite place in Villach?
I have so many amazing favourite places; it always depends on the mood. It is nice to walk up to the Burgarena Finkenstein, which is an historic fortress after work to see the sunset; it is such an amazing and relaxing experience. If you go up to the mount Dobratsch you can see the whole of Carinthia spread out in front of you – this is very magical. If you have a bike there is always cycling along the lakes. Every experience is different and unique, depending on the mood you are in.
Q: What difference does a guest feel when staying in a family run hotel?
We try to keep the atmosphere homely, even though offering higher standards of comfort. You get a stronger feel of home in Warmbaderhof, as this place has a long history, while Karawankenhof is a newly designed and built hotel.
Every corridor is part of a history and they really can feel it – all the family is around, the history wall tells the story. The Thermenresort is one of the biggest companies in Carinthia, employing over 650 people and owning eight companies, so it is a holding company. We also have a treatment and medical centre. It is all family run, but it is very structured, so we know what we have to do. It is perhaps different when you have only one hotel and you meet the owners and the reception, at the thermenresort the owners, the families Lukeschitsch and Mayerhofer are primarily in CEO positions.
Q: The hotel looks pretty much like an art gallery…
Yes, Dr. Leonore Lukeschitsch is the art curator and is very passionate about the art, so you will see that some pieces are specially made for the resort and we also have a very good cooperation with the Museum of Historic Art of Vienna and the Museum of Modern art in Klagenfurt. The artwork and antiques are essential ingredients of the hotel that we would like to preserve for future generations..
Q: What is your own story – how come you started working in tourism?
I grew up surrounded by the tourism industry and later attended the Salzburg tourism school. I’ve worked in tourism in various countries and came back to Austria five years ago. I believe everyone should try and work in every field and work their way up. I started at reception working my way up to Sales. Now working in sales and marketing at this resort, I can easily say this is a very good company to be working for.