A PASSION FOR MEETINGS
Q: Your background?
Karolin: I’ve been working in tourism for my whole life. I started when I was only 15, studied tourism and then worked for 10 years in hotels and agencies in Italy and then came back home. I always knew I wanted to work in tourism.
Patricia: I started when I was fifteen, working in many tourism departments to get an overiew of what hospitality and tourism is. Then I started to study economics and tourism, working in the reception and reservation departments. Now I’m working here and I really like it.
Q: What makes Seepark Hotel different from other hotels in Klagenfurt?
The first thing I would point out is our position. Our motto is: »Relax and meet« and we are combining those two perfectly. You can visit your seminar and then you can put on your running shoes and go out running by the lake. You also have the option to go to the spa and enjoy the relaxing atmosphere.
We are in the middle of the lake and the city and we believe our position is our main advantage. Six years ago its was just nature all around here, so we are right in the middle of nature.
We have 142 rooms in 4 different categories: we have a standard room, superior room, deluxe room and one master suite that has also a sauna on the terrace. The master suite has two different entrances and one part has a smaller seminar room for six people, the other has the access to the private areas with living room, bathroom, bedroom and with a great sun terrace with the sauna.
Q: Who is the typical Seepark Hotel meeting client?
It depends on the day and date. From Monday to Friday we have business guests who like staying at our place, as we are very central, and at the weekend we have vacation guests and weddings. It is a real mix of all kinds of guests. 85 % of our customers are German-speaking guests.
Q: What is the most challenging thing about your business?
Sometimes the challenge is that if you have a meeting, the delegates sometimes want to go outside, but perhaps we have an event that is going on there already and they have reserved the space, so we need to find a way to make everyone happy.
If we do have a reservation of the space already, we then have to look at different possibilities. Of course we have a lot of space, but everyone wants to be outside if the weather is good.
Every meeting is also unique and we like to advise on different options. When it comes to incentives, we have some prepared, but we also work together with a sports agency for incentive ideas and have some contacts that we usually include in the programme.
Q: What would be your typical incentive programme?
Again it depends on the day and date. In the winter we have walks with torches, in the summer everything is connected with the lake. The Pyramidkogel is also one of the best incentives that people like to include when they are here. It involves a bus transfer that we organise for guests.
Q: Any hints and tips on Seepark Hotel for meeting planners?
We offer a spa area that is directly connected to the hotel as one of our best post-seminar activities. Another great way to spend time after the conference/event is by dining at the castle Maria Loretto… only a 5 minutes walk from the Seepark Hotel.
For seminars and conferences that take more than just an afternoon, and maybe a couple of days, we always prepare some suggestions in the vicinity that could be included in the package.
The main person in charge of conferences is Patricia and you basicially arrange everything with her – she can help you with all the preparation, incentives and any extra wishes you may have. We have found out that it is very important that organisers have contact with just one person who has an overview of the whole event and can give direct suggestions on what to do in free time.
We have lots of smaller events, but also bigger ones, such as congresses and trade fairs that take three or four days. We have a lot of space where events can take place.
Q: What’s the outlook for Seepark Hotel for 2016 and beyond?
Our main focus is still on the German-speaking countries, with Vienna and Munich as our primary targets. This year we had some events in Ljubljana where we presented our offer, but so far we do not have many Slovenian agencies working with. We are focusing on the surrounding areas up to 200 km, where people would come to us by car.
Q: Why should meeting planners consider Klagenfurt?
We have a perfect position in Europe. You need just four hour to drive to Vienna, one hour to Ljubljana, one and a half hours to Trieste and two hours to Salzburg. Everything is easily reachable.
Q: Could you share with our readers one or two of your secrets about Klagenfurt, such as a favourite spot for meetings?
Probably the city centre, the old part of town. It is the oldest pedestrian zone in Austria, with smaller streets, cafes and bars. It has a lot of charm and an Italian flair that Vienna and Salzburg do not have. In those areas we only have bars, cafetarias and gelaterias. That is definitely something special.
Our facility is also like nature in the city. It is a little like in Munich, with the English garden, and you can walk around in the park where there are no streets to bother you.
Q: What’s your advice for younger colleagues starting out in this business?
Do it with your whole heart, otherwise it is not possible. It is not always easy to work in tourism, because you always have challenges ahead. Every working day is different to the next, since you cannot expect in advance what people think about. I believe passion is the right word.