SEPPENBAUER - HOTEL, CONGRESS CENTRE AND AUTOMOBILE MUSEUM
“By taking over Landhotel Seppenbauer in Sankt Salvator bei Friesach in December 2015, we also took over one of the leading establishments in Central Carinthia. By “we”, we mean the Schwengersbauer family: Guido, a native of Hallein, a host driven by pure conviction, who also worked for many years in the Istrian tourism sector, and his wife Maruška, a talented organizer and marketer, mother of their two sons, Guido and Marko. We simply feel in love with this diverse region, which we are convinced is still an authentic tourism jewel. And though the name “Seppenbauer” might sound a little like an understatement, this four-star hotel complex owned by Gerhard Porsche not only features a historic inn and exquisite, elegantly spacious rooms, but also a high-tech conference center, a spa and cardio department, and, last but not least, a fascinating automobile museum.”
Q: What is the story behind Seppenbauer and why is such a significant seminar section part of your offer?
The primary reason that we came to this part of Carinthia some years ago was hunting – Metniz is a big hunting area, something of a paradise for hunters with its large, privately owned hunting sections, so the owner and director of Seppenbauer, Mr. Gerhard Porshe, decided to buy some of the infrastructure. As there were no restaurants in the area he rebuilt one of the old restaurants and transformed it into a small hotel with 10 rooms. He then expanded his initial vision into a huge facility with a wellness centre and an in-house seminar centre.
Today we have a multifunctional space for 500 attendees, equipped with everything you can think of and capable of organizing different events, such as a local song contest with a real stage that we recently hosted, or a theatre stage-type event, where we close parts of the hall.
Q: What kind of clients does your venue attract?
At the moment we mainly host business clients and companies with two- to three-day seminars. What intrigues them most is being out of town but at the same time having everything they need, as it is easier to focus on business that way. We have some big Austrian companies as our regular clients, but our main problem is that we have only 36 rooms, which then also becomes the limit for a seminar. The problem is outsourcing when you have a bigger group of participants and so there is always the recurring question of: “Why do I have to sleep there and not here?”
Q: What are your expectations as a new member of the Carinthia Convention Bureau?
We are hoping that the partnership brings us some good results, but if we are to achieve them we can’t just sit and wait for things to happen on their own – we need to work for it ourselves. In May, we are participating at a congress meeting in Vienna and I think that will be a great opportunity to bring some more guests to this part of the world. I believe we can still host large seminars, despite the number of rooms. We just have to build and create other things that will make up for it.
Q: Why would a client choose your venue?
The venue is here now, so we must commit to it and do something for it, and we have the responsibility of bringing people here and hosting a seminar worth attending.
With this in mind, the future possibilities for us are truly endless – we’ve got magnificent castles, hunting areas, the historic town of Friesach, Formula 1, beautiful lakes in Klagenfurt and two fantastic museums. Our main mission right now is to spread the word about us and the undiscovered potential of the entire area. We have seen that we have to use our director’s name and the story behind his family to open up people’s minds.
Q: Are there any activities you would recommend to regional corporations?
We have a lot of gourmet experiences in our vicinity and we are not limiting our guests just to our own restaurant – the idea is to go out, to see and to experience. We have some great wineries in Carinthia and we also organise trips to the magnificent Hochosterwitz Castle. There are two golf courses in near proximity and the surroundings offer a wide range of other activities. Guests can experience a guided trip to the old farmhouse transformed into a museum, where you bring all your stuff, sleep over and wake up in the middle of pristine nature. There is also the possibility of creating and cooking your own dinner menu. Our idea is to bring the participants outdoors and not stifle them within the four walls of the conference room. It’s the perfect getaway for those worn out from work and a great opportunity to take a break between seminars. They can also use our excellent spa services and the well equipped fitness centre.
Q: Do you have any future plans within the Alpe Adria region and do you think the levels of cooperation can be better?
There are 45 destinations in Carinthia that cooperate within the Alpe Adria region and in October we are hosting a special open market called Marktplatz together with our colleagues from the region. A total of 35 providers of excellent cuisine from four participating countries (Austria, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia) will be offering their culinary delights. The open style kitchen will give visitors a chance to create their own menu and the sommelier will help them choose between some of the best local wines, sotThe stomachs of 2,000 visitors will be very well taken care of every day by the chefs. A fresh, street food concept will be based on deer meat served from the booths and stands.
Q: If there was one thing you would improve in Carinthia, what would it be?
Things have already started to improve and people are beginning to think differently, but the last 20 years haven’t been the most fruitful for our region. We know that new connections and projects can only be created with the cooperation of different suppliers and venues. Things have changed and people don’t want to keep going to the same place over and over again; they want to have options. If you develop a good MICE business, however, those same people will return in a matter of three years. Despite our unique story and excellent offer we need to create our own style of business that will attract clients and keep them coming back. That’s a win-win situation for everybody involved – for us, for the clients and for the region.