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The connecting link between bank and hotel

When was the last time you went into the branch of a bank? Most of our banking transactions today are done online. It's fun to think of the good old times when we took our piggy bank to three different banks on World Savings Day to get a different gift from each bank. The gifts today tend to be smaller and most of our banking transactions no longer require us to go into a branch. That saves time. But it also means that the customer experience is often a thing of the past, and customers end up taking their business elsewhere. Especially when the customer is personally captured by image campaigns seen through digital communications.

To illustrate what options a bank has to offer their customers through the right guest experience and customer service, I think it's important to compare the bank visit to a hotel stay. Imagine your last hotel experience: when you entered the hotel, a friendly, young man opened the door and took your heavy suitcase. This was followed by a warm smile from the employee behind the reception desk and a welcome drink. You were personally addressed by name and engaged in some small talk with Austrian charm. That's usually all you need to get into vacation mood after a stressful journey to the hotel. But banks can implement hospitality measures too, leaving customers with a good feeling when they enter the branch and encouraging their long-term loyalty. In our digitalized world, the connecting link between bank and hotel can be personal hospitality. The focus is on people in both industries. Why not have a nice conversation with the bank advisor about the loan agreement while the children are having fun doing a jigsaw puzzle? Wouldn't it be great if we could leave the cash counter with a smile? Even if we have just signed a long-term loan agreement? We want to feel that we are in good hands, because we have a long-term relationship.

Even with online banking, there is still a need for competent, personal advice. Especially when it's about complex and long-term service. In the case of complicated matters, we are looking for guidance through a personal conversation with the bank advisor, and we want to feel understood. It's about trust and building a relationship, especially when there is proverbial money involved. One anecdote to this from personal experience: shortly after I founded my company and was looking for a lender, after seven frustrating conversations in which I felt that no one was taking me seriously, I finally found the right consultant. A woman who was sincerely interested in my vision and my business model, who didn't hesitate for a minute in expressing her trust in me and paving the way for a loan. In the end, it was a win-win situation for both parties.

I had found the bank and the lender that were right for me. This is what I wish for many companies that surround me. A bank that offers me a service usually reserved for private banking customers or hospitality that mirrors what's offered in a hotel. Have you ever encountered such a bank, advisor or branch? I look forward to getting to know their team and taking a look behind the scenes of their success story! Send me a message to christine@friedreich.at


Who is the actual host?

When you visit a restaurant, an event, or a company, who do you consider to be your host? Is it the business owner working behind the scenes, or is it the waiters and hostesses that have direct contact with the guest are tasked with making sure the guest has a pleasant experience? For me, it's clear; it's the receptionists, the customer service representatives and other service staff who make us feel like the host is looking after us personally. They strengthen customer loyalty and have become essential for every business owner.

Service is the most emotional part of ​​a company. Regardless of the sector. Here, employees are expected to provide consistent attention and diligent care. Service employees should be good hosts, always attentive, communicative and, on top of that, still able to sell.

At the start of my business career, when I was introduced to the CEO of a renowned kitchen equipment manufacturing company as a professional hostess, his spontaneous reply was "What a great niche! I find it impossible to play host at all of my events and I certainly can't transfer that gene to my staff." A gene? Is it the manager's duty to always be the radiant host? Yes and no.

Let's give our employees a bit of the limelight! Let me share an example of this from the gastronomy sector, which will probably be familiar to most of you. For guests who decide to reserve a table well in advance, they get to enjoy the anticipation of a relaxing evening in the restaurant of their choice. A talented waiter will be there to welcome them, and will capitalize on this joyful anticipation as their host. What does that mean in concrete terms? The waiter greets the guests with a warm "Good evening, nice to have you with us," and will accompany them to their table. That creates relationship. The host creates an atmosphere in which his guests feel comfortable and are happy to accept his recommendations. This creates an added value on both sides... always with tact, and without being too pushy.

We can all put ourselves in the role of the host. Be it the managing director at a meeting at his company, an interview with potential job candidates or the nice lady at the door of a restaurant. It is always the little things that make the difference in service. We see this in our day-to-day work as we support teams that inspire guests. Even small changes often have a major impact on customers' perceptions. For example, if the client is served a freshly ground barista roast with creamy foam instead of cheap coffee at the beginning of a serious contract meeting, he feels welcome and initiates the negotiation with a much more positive feeling. The resulting benefits are obvious.

How to care for each guest individually and anticipate their wishes is a skill that can be learned. Training your own employees to be a good host and supporting them in their own personal development is a worthwhile investment for companies. These qualified staff members eventually act as hosts and are responsible for ensuring that customers feel at ease. We can support you with tried-and-true concepts from the hotel and gastronomy industries to ensure that the well-being of your customers is the main focus. Through Corporate Hospitality, your customers will become your guests and will remain loyal in the long term.

The gastronomy sector has already recognized the value of satisfied, cared-for customers. I think each of you has a place that you always like to visit because of the nice atmosphere and attentive service. This level of hospitality is highly valuable in any industry, because happy customers are sure to return. Corporate Hospitality creates a win-win situation for both parties. Customers feel cared for and the company can count on a long-term partnership.

When was the last time you had a great experience with a service representative who was a top host for you? I'd love to hear from you or to join you for a visit to your favorite spot.


Time travel viennacontemporary

Lately, I've been having flashbacks to the year 2012. So much was new, and I was just about to establish my company. Almost exactly eight years ago today, I was working round-the-clock with a brand-new team to set up the first-ever viennafair art fair under new management at the exhibition center in Vienna. We were pulling all-nighters as the new owner’s requirements were constantly changing. It sort of reminds me of the challenges we've faced in this extraordinarily unique Corona year, 2020.

My commitment began in February of 2012 when—in the course of building my business—I was on the lookout for a part-time job  and began doing sales calls on a freelance basis. I started noticing that in so many industries, there was a lack of hospitality, and at the end of the summer I quickly took on additional responsibilities within the framework of the art fair... from VIP management to the full-on supervision of on-site hospitality. To this day, my areas of responsibility in terms of consulting and providing ongoing support have continuously changed. We had years of ups and downs. I was always given another chance to learn new things, which resulted in extraordinary professional and personal growth. From the challenges of that first year, when guests arrived way too early, long before the official opening times, and stormed the VIP area, on to those infamous last-minute changes to events minutes before opening... In the years that followed, we took on catering and sponsor support responsibilities, which helped us build long-term relationships with those partners. In the fourth year, I supported the team in their search for a new location, with the choice finally falling on the Marx Halle. It seemed like everything was finally in order, but we quickly learned that more challenges were to come. I was attending an event in Vorarlberg when I suddenly received a phone call at 7 in the morning, letting me know that the Marx Halle was on fire. I dropped everything and jumped on the next train back to Vienna, where I rolled up my sleeves with the cleanup crew and did everything in my power to make sure that the fair could still take place. Our enormous efforts paid off and we managed to completely rebuild the site in time for the art fair to open as planned, just one week later. So every year has brought new challenges with it.

And this year alike, a year full of uncertainties, has given viennacontemporary another set of annual stumbling blocks to overcome. How can the fair take place under the government's strict regulations? What measures do we have to take to protect the health and safety of our art enthusiasts? There were so many new questions, ones that had me tuning in to each of the federal government's press conferences so that I could devise a plan that, in the end, would ensure that the art fair again could shine in all its glory again this year, while navigating the new framework. VC might be smaller this year, but it's certainly more exquisite than ever. I look forward to the numerous innovations and to a few diverse, but also demanding, days dedicated entirely to art and design. In particular, this year's VIP lounge is my personal highlight and I’m already counting the days until the doors of the Marx Halle open again. I am also looking forward to giving you a warm welcome. Click here for more information.

All in all, I can say that the art fair has laid the foundation for many new clients. I am very grateful to Renger van den Heuvel and this year's entire management team for putting their full trust in me from the beginning and for believing in me from the start. For that, thank you! "Together, we made it into the top 20 of the top 100 international art fairs. Christine's eye for detail and her focus on hospitality has had a significant impact." - To quote Renger, if I may. While this might have been a turbulent year with lots of last-minute changes, I look forward to providing many more years of service to modern art.


My summer retreat in Upper Austria, Lower Austria and Vienna.

Austria stands for hospitality. Therefore, I love to spend my holidays here and try to work at the most beautiful places in Austria as often as possible. In this part of the blog series, I take you along on my journey through my homeland to Upper Austria, Lower Austria and back to Vienna.

Upper Austria
Everyone who enjoys swimming, paddling or sailing at the lake will appreciate Upper Austria thoroughly. I have a special relationship with the Traunsee due to dear friends living there. The lake and surrounding region offer extensive water sports activities as well as rambling hiking trails for everyone, from beginners to professionals equipped with climbing rope. After a day of outdoor fun you should definitely try the cuisine at Seehotel Traunsee. The restaurant Bootshaus, which has been one of my favourite culinary experiences so far, has exceeded all my expectations with its excellent service and captivating warmness of the staff.

Worth more than just a short detour are the three institutions of Philip Rachinger and his family. He serves impulsive, yet nonchalant cuisine inspired by nature at the highest quality at Mühltalhof in Neufelden, whereas you can enjoy your meal at the quaint Fernruf 7 in a more casual way. Sushi and stilt and all kinds of delicious beer food can be found at the new restaurant of the brewery of Neufelden, Hopfen and Schmalz. Since you might need a place to stay after tasting yourself through the enormous range of home-brewed beer, I highly suggest spending the night at the Mühltalhof and starting the day with a jump into the fresh river Mühl after a toothsome breakfast. This is in my opinion the perfect weekend getaway, that you should conclude on Sunday with a piece of the best Kardinalschnitte made by Philip’s grandmother!

For a daytrip, I recommend the textile factory Leitner Leinen in Ulrichsberg to everyone with an interest in design. A visit there is not only rewarding for people working in the hospitality industry, but also for everyone who wants to surprise their guests with the softest towels, elegant tablecloths, premium napkins or fine beddings.

Lower Austria
Due to my delightful time at the HLF Krems, I have come to appreciate Krems and the surrounding region, from Traisental to Wachau, and have some great tips ready for you. Apart from the touristy trails, I suggest the port in Traismauer with its campsite and restaurant located at the bank of the Danube, that is led by dear friends of mine. My journey through lower Austria continues to Hadersdorf with its excellent restaurant Esslokal, which you reach after a 15-minute car ride from Krems. Roland Huber, who was previously the chef of haute cuisine restaurant le Ciel in Vienna, serves irresistible soul food, often inspired by Asian dishes. Just a short drive away, you can experience a traditional Heurigen in a different setting at restaurant Pfefferschiff, where exquisite regional cuisine meets rare, fine wines. If you enjoy outstanding champagne and Pet-Nat, you will be in good hands with Christina Hugl in Langelois, where she offers sparkling delicacies with unique taste. For everyone, who wants to explore the region in between the culinary highlights, I can recommend a trip to the wonderful Walpersdorf castle and its Lederleitner home store, that exhilarates with modern stylistic command and magnificent interior and décor ideas.

As a passionate cyclist, I enjoy taking a trip by bike through the Wienerwald via Tullnerfeld to Langenlebarn. As a reward for the exhausting journey, I like to stop for a bite to eat at restaurant Wolf or Gastwirtschaft Floh. Another great day trip or after work option is my hometown Leobendorf in the Weinviertel. In just 18 Minutes from Vienna, you find yourself in the heart of nature. Absolutely advisable are a visit to the castle of Kreuzenstein and a short stop at the Heurigen Bolzer for the best delicacies of the region.

Another culinary recommendation I hold close to my heart is located further north in the Waldviertel: the restaurant Vianko in Groß Gerungs. Newly taken over by the younger generation of hosts, it presents itself with innovative ideas and an impressive range of wines and beers. Konstantin will certainly be glad to have you as his guest! Other highlights in the region include the Zweitwohnsitz in Drosendorf or the traditional textile manufacturing company Backhausen in Hoheneich with its great design store.

Located further south, the Mostviertel does not fail to impress. Especially the mountain village Lunz am See has won me over. Here, you can hike through fascinating mountain landscapes as well as swim in one of the most beautiful lake of Austria with excellent water quality by day and view cultural plays at the lake stage by night.

Vienna
On the few weekends in summer, where I actually stay in Vienna, you can probably find me reading a good book in the Türkenschanzpark, on my bike in the Wienerwald or sailing at alte Donau. Who wants to experience Vienna in a more relaxed way, I recommend the Weinwanderweg, where you hike along the most beautiful living areas of the city with a magnificent view and a glass of wine. Afterwards, you should walk by Jutta Ambositsch. With her Buschenschank in Residence-project she revives old wineries and serves selected dishes and wine of the highest quality. For a more upscale dining experience, Pichelmaiers zum Herkner constitutes the ideal place. The team combines the charm of the Wienerwald with artfully created dishes and a beautiful pub garden.

For breakfast, Vienna has an extensive range of great spots to offer. Coming from the countryside, I recommend the breakfast at Landkind in the 15th district with all that the heart could possibly desire. If you prefer a chicer breakfast location central in the first district, The Guesthouse is the place to be. It is my explicit recommendation for everyone who values perfect eggs benedict. Due to its outstanding location, you just have to cross the street after finishing your delightful cup of coffee to experience the newest exhibition at the Albertina, Vienna’s leading art gallery.

If you find yourself in the 4th district and are a fan of farm to table cuisine, you should head to Alma Gastrothek, which is for me one of the most authentic restaurants Vienna has to offer. The kitchen serves what delights the heart, always with alpine-maritime influence and freshest ingredients.

Only in summer and just under nice weather conditions, but not to miss, is Gugumucks Gartenbar. Here, I feel as if I was transported to the south of France and enjoy snails au gratin and botanical cocktails. Moreover, there is a discussions forum and you will certainly get new perspectives concerning a sustainable future. What also feels like a quick trip to the south is a visit at Monte Ofelio located next to Augarten. The delicatessen offers the best croissant of the city, maybe even of the entire state, and unbelievably good expresso. For more holiday vibes, the eights district also awaits with a direct access to the sea through the fishery Goldfish. Here you cannot only find the freshest fish to prepare at home, but also taste the Mediterranean dishes directly in the bistro.

Do you have any other insider tips for summer in Austria? Just write me a short message via mail or social media!


My summer retreat in Styria, Carinthia and Burgenland.

Like every summer, I am trying to work as many hours as possible outside of my Vienna office while visiting my favourite spots and lovely friends all over Austria. In my opinion, nothing compares to the crystal clear water of the Austrian lakes, the fresh mountain breeze and kind hosts. In this part of the blog series, I am taking you to green Styria, sunny Carinthia and the most wonderful places in Burgenland.

Styria
This state especially suits all active travellers, as there will be an ideal route for everyone across the mountains of national park Gesäuse, Hochschwab region or the Schladminger Tauern. The best picture spot is the Spiegelsee by far. You should get up early and start with a hike at sunset and finish your tour with a refreshing break at the lake. For accommodation, I highly recommend Thaler’s Mariandl in Rohrmoos, which is owned by fear friends of mine and will certainly make you feel particularly welcome as well.

Further south, the capital city Graz offers excellent breakfast at the design hotel Kai36, delicious sandwiches at Delicatessen Frankowitsch, traditional Austrian dinner treats at Laufke and phenomenal cocktails (and even more incredible decor) at Hofsaison. A half an hour ride from the city you can experience the romantic Kesselfall. Offering many bridges to adventurously cross along the waterfall, it makes for the perfect day trip.

In the east, the chocolate factory Zotter impresses the whole family not only with its zoo and delicious samples, but also with its extensive range of finest organic and fair chocolates to take home with you. This is in my opinion a must-see and taste for everyone with a sweet tooth.

My personal highlight: the southern Styria wine road with its delicate, domestic wines, hearty charcuterie served on wooden plates and roasted chestnuts in late summer. If you are on the hunt for outstanding white wine, you should pay a visit to the Goedwinemakers and their excellent Morillon and Sauvignon Blanc. For champagne, I recommend the vinery Harkamp. For a traditional Styrian food experience and to soak up all the previously consumed wine, the best place is Weingut Kölbl with its homemade delicacies.

Carinthia
The sunniest state shines with its beautiful lakes and excellent accommodation, such as the calm lake Millstadt with the Villas Postilion and Verdin or the glamourous lake Wörth with the phenomenal Villa Bulfon and its even more incredible garden and cosy Restaurant Rosé. If you prefer car free and sustainable tourism, you should visit the Weissensee. I suggest checking into the eco-friendly Biohotel Gralhof or the Hotel Forelle for a calm and relaxing holiday. Another tip for the idyllic Gailtal: the Biohotel der daberer with its focus on hospitality, nature, quality and captivating atmosphere.

Close to the Italian border, the carnic high route offers a hiking experience par excellence combining dolce vita with Austrian hospitality alongside diverse landscapes.

Burgenland
The easternmost state is particularly known for two things: lake Neusiedl and superb wine. Here, I’d like to recommend my friends Yvonne and Christian. These two are shooting stars concerning premium reds and I was blown away by the excellence of their winery Christian Kirnbauer. For a sweeter taste, I suggest visiting Illmitz and the winery Haider with its first-class sweet wine.

For all sporting aces, I recommend exploring lake Neusiedl by bike and stopping in the small villages along the bank to experience all the delicacies of the region. If you find yourself stopping in Gols and generally enjoy premium wine, the winery Rommer is the best address for you. A short bicycle ride away, you can visit the Gut Purbach under Max Stiegl. The chef combines traditional and contemporary cuisine to an outstanding experience with a focus on excellent prepared innards.

In the middle of the state awaits the boutique hotel zum Oberjäger in the middle of divine castle grounds. The hotel masterfully combines heritage with modernity and offers an extensive breakfast as well as a glimpse at the life of famous Austrian aristocrat Esterhazy.

Short from the border to Hungary, you can spend relaxing days at the „Weinlofts“. In these renovated wine cellars, you can live amidst vineyards with every luxury imaginable, from Jacuzzis to infrared saunas and fabulous sun decks.

Where do you prefer to go to in summer? Share your thoughts and tips with me! I’d highly appreciate it.


My Favorite Summer Spots in Vorarlberg, Salzburg and Tyrol.

Just like last year, I am spending this summer working in the most beautiful places in Austria. This year, which is so full of extraordinary challenges, I appreciate the local hospitality, the warmth of the people and the stunning natural landscape with its peaks, lakes and wine regions even more. In the upcoming blog articles, I'll give you a glimpse into my summer getaway and will share my secrets on some hospitality gems, excellent gourmet experiences and special service moments throughout Austria.

Vorarlberg
Our trip through Austria begins in the westernmost state where countless hidden treasures await you, all of which can be easily reached from the area around Lake Constance. What has brought me back to this piece of countryside for many years is the FAQ Festival in the Bregenz Forest. Inspiring personalities, conversations on philosophy, business, art, handicrafts, media and many other topics, good food, great music and this year's five-year anniversary celebration convinced me to come back yet again in 2020 and to expand my horizons. A few miles away from the exciting festival, I enjoy one of the numerous, wonderful hotels in the Bregenz Forest, which is among my favorite regions in Austria. I feel particularly at home in the family-run Hotel Gretina in Bezau. It has everything I expect from a great hotel; it's authentic, cozy and friendly and an excellent value for money. Also in Bezau, but high up on the mountain, I like to stop at the Jagdgasthaus Egender. Here, they've got everything you need to power down for a while: a shoddy cellular network, the stunning mountains, pure nature and (above all) the best cheese spaetzle in all of Austria. In the neighboring municipality of Bizau, it is worth stopping by Edith's. This elegant boutique has everything ladies love: colorful dishes, home goods in Scandi-style and loads of pretty doodads. If I'm looking to treat myself to something special, I can do so at the Gasthof Krone in Hittisau or the Boutique Hotel Bären in Mellau. You should definitely stop by Hotel Bären for an excellent coffee. When it's too hot in the valley, I recommend visiting the Arlberg for a cool summer experience. For your accommodation, you can go visit Patrick and Benjamin in the friendly Hotel Arlberg. Equipped with fresh raw-milk butter and spicy mountain cheese from the Alps, you'll certainly leave the area full of enthusiasm after spending some memorable moments in the state.

When it comes to food, I'm already looking forward to the grand opening of the year. In the spring, Theresa Feurstein opened the Weiss restaurant in Bregenz along with Milena Broger (known from many of her positions, including at Klösterle and Schulhus in Zug). Known for the highest quality and a focus on regional specialties, they've created a real hotspot for hospitality here. By the way, warm meals are served here until midnight: the perfect place for a delicious beef tartare with a hay emulsion as a midnight snack.

Tyrol
There are also plenty of places worth recommending on the Tyrolean side of the Arlberg. James Baron (#26 on the list of Austria's 50 best chefs) serves alpine creative food at Hotel Tannenhof in St. Anton. I already had the pleasure of getting to know his extraordinary cuisine at several events. It's definitely worth a trip for culinary & hospitality fans.

When I meet up with friends in Innsbruck, a cozy evening at the Buzihütte above Innsbruck has been a fixed destination for many years since my years in Tyrol. The rustic atmosphere and the sun terrace with a grandiose view are my personal highlights, along with the delicious dumpling menu. From the Inn valley, I always try to get in at least a short detour to the Achensee. This is my personal power spot and a starting point for hikes in my top 10. After my memorable and instructive time at the FH Kufstein, I like to spend a few days back there. I recently discovered the Juffing Hotel & Spa in Hinterthiersee. The incredibly warm and personal management style of Sonja Juffinger-Konzett makes it the ideal place for me to relax and disconnect. Very close by, Thiersee invites visitors to enjoy the water and the Pendling mountain offers an incredible view of the entire region, the Inn Valley and the Kaiser Mountains.

In East Tyrol, I like to return to Hotel Dolomitenhof in Tristach, known far beyond Lienz's borders for its Tyrolean hospitality. My friends from university, Thomas and his wife Romana, run the small country hotel with a lot of love and dedication. It is the ideal starting point for a hike in the Hohe Tauern national park, where you can discover unique flora and fauna and stumble upon quaint huts perfect for a leisurely stopover.

For me, South Tyrol still belongs to Austria a little bit. But especially when it comes to hospitality in combination with design, the South Tyroleans are one step ahead of us in many respects. I'm happy to look across the border when it comes to that. From Hotel Miramonti to many small and cozy accommodations... there is inspiration and something new to discover around every corner.

Salzburg
If you end up in the city of Salzburg, you should start the day with what is probably the best coffee in town at 220 GRAD. This year you can take a trip to Hellbrunn Zoo to stroll and be amazed. The young rhino, in particular, is a sweet highlight for young and old. If the mountains are calling, you should stop by the Rauchenbühelhütte run by my fellow classmate Florian on the Gaisberg mountain, 10 minutes away from Salzburg. The excursion into the countryside already pays off on the drive up: here you have the best view of the city. The highlight of the hut is the immaculate roast pork - really special! The Zwölferhorn mountain is a great recommendation for all mountain lovers this summer. Since the railway is being restored, only locals and true mountaineers make their way up to the mountain. It is especially worthwhile if you start early in the morning, then stop at the Lärchenhütte after conquering the summit. An incredible selection of homemade breakfast specialties awaits you there. From porridge to cheese from mountain farmers and home-baked crispbread, everything an athlete's heart desires is here. You are up for a jump into the lake? While the Fuschlsee and Wolfgangsee lakes are popular, locals are particularly fond of the Hintersee. I discovered it this winter and would like to come back in the summer. The lake, tucked away in an idyllic area around a side valley, turns out to be quieter and less crowded with tourists. A real insider tip!

Further south, Salzburg's warmth takes top priority at the Verwöhnhotel Sonnhof in St. Veit im Pongau. In particular, the in-house, award-winning restaurant "Vitus Cooking" combines refined creations with unique stories about rivers and forests, creating long-lasting memories. But you can also go to Bad Gastein and get to know the "original location" of this summer resort a bit better. There are many great accommodations here, such as the small design boutique hotel Waldhaus Rudolfshöhe. Sissi and her entourage once spent mild summer nights in this spa town and the imperial flair can still be felt today.

My personal highlight: last year I rode my bike up the Großglockner mountain from the Salzburg side. That definitely brought me to my limit. But what a feeling! I can't put it into words. Incredibly rewarding and in some ways liberating too. Soon I'll be climbing the summit on foot... Follow along with me on Instagram!


The final impression is the one that stays.

First impressions count - we all know that. And that's a good thing, really. No question, the first impression is important. Companies to customers, applicants to employers, or flirting on the first date. But have you ever considered what effect the final impression will have on your customer experience? The final impression can completely change the first impression within seconds. I only really became aware of this when I visited two different restaurants, one right after the other. The final impression could not have been any more different.

On a Monday afternoon I was scheduled to have a business lunch at one restaurant. We entered the restaurant and waited at the front to be seated. After we arrived at the table, we enjoyed a delicious lunch. When it came time for us to leave the restaurant, with our positive impressions, my jacket had suddenly disappeared. We asked a waiter about it, but the waiter showed only moderate interest and said he could not help us. When we finally found the missing jacket in another area of ​​the restaurant, we went back to inform the waiter that our search has been successful. But he didn't seem to have any time to listen to us. There was no "Thank you for your visit". There was no "I'm so happy it turned up!" We left the restaurant a little disappointed. A final impression that unfortunately, we'll remember for a long time.

On the same day, I met up with some friends for dinner at a different restaurant. When we entered the restaurant, we were given a warm welcome and they kindly took our coats. We were taken to our table and with a hearty "enjoy your evening with us", we were handed the menus. Good service from the start... that leaves a nice impression, we thought. Once we finished our meal, we asked for the bill and were given a postcard with an inspiring quote on it as a gift. A friendly gesture that we appreciated. We thanked the waiter for the great guest experience and gave him a tip. After we paid, the waiter escorted us to the door. There again, he showed his hospitality. He immediately remembered which coat belonged to whom, helped us put them on and led us to the door. He shook our hands, thanked us for stopping by and wished us a nice evening. A pleasant end to our dinner. We all agreed that while the food was excellent, the final impression was what we would remember. Hospitality at its finest! Appreciation of the guest right up until the end.

You can convey this experience to every customer and in every industry. In a downtown shop, for example, the final impression could look like this: Instead of putting my purchases in a bag and coldly placing it on the counter, my bag could be lovingly packed, then handed over to me on the side of the counter, while thanking me for my purchase and wishing me well. That way, I feel valued as a customer and leave the shop with a good feeling. And I'll be very happy to come back. The saying "All's well that ends well" seems to not just be an old truism, but rather a basic principle of life. The final impression is the one that stays. Finally, fireworks are only really spectacular when the pyrotechnicians pull off a grand finale. I look forward to hearing about your final impressions today. I look forward to reading your stories. Write me at christine@friedreich.at


Pure adrenaline.

A friend once asked me if I am always called on and involved in projects at the eleventh hour. Good question! At that time I frowned and wondered how he had recognized that pattern after only a few years. Today, four years later, I would answer the question with yes, that he was right. Because I have now realized that this was not only the case once. Yes, we are solution-oriented reliable and—with a large network of freelancers and partners—also very flexible when it comes to the short-term implementation of projects. But why do we voluntarily, even with excitement, expose ourselves to this type of adrenaline?

It all started with my first customer in 2012. I was involved in a project in London at the time, when I got a call that a VIP and Hospitality Manager was urgently needed. Less than two weeks later, practically two hours after landing in Vienna, I was sitting in the viennafair office, and from then on, I was working 18 hours a day to ensure the success of the trade fair. That was the first event under new management, and it certainly has something to do with the level of enthusiasm I brought with me that I have been asked to organize the event every September since. Then it was off to India in the spring of 2019 for a major project, the request fluttering onto my desk two weeks before take-off and the flight being booked just two days beforehand. In the fall of the same year, we were involved in a completely new field of activity... we were brought on board as coordinators for hospitality support and given the task of ensuring the smooth running of a concert. Both tasks showed that we're more well-known for our spontaneity than we could have ever dreamed of.

We were asked to organize the entire guest experience for the concert within two weeks, from invitations to comprehensive location management, decoration, permits and transport of the team to their positions. Many unanswered questions. Why us? We create hospitality concepts, but not concerts. Then there was Teodor Currentzis, at the time, the most ambitious and well-known conductor on the international circuit. Are we even the right people for the job? Challenging would be an understatement when it came to the list of requirements. A church in the center of Vienna was chosen as the location. Setups and rehearsals were squeezed in between other trade fairs and concerts. All 60 musicians were asked to hold a candle during the performance. "Help, the last thing I need is a Notre Dame disaster in Vienna"... is what shot into my head as I simultaneously began to plan the appropriate security measures. But it was the wish of a long-standing client and we wanted to support him in successfully launching his project.

While we were indeed at full capacity, we still managed to juggle all of the projects and tasks, putting together a new team within 24 hours and welcoming 500 enthusiastic guests at the Friars Minor Conventual Church in Vienna for a midnight concert just two weeks later. Pure adrenaline. Enormous focus on solutions and flexibility is very much in demand in these sectors. It's good if you can rely on a strong network. Without these partners, many of the tasks would be nearly impossible and the thrill would be more like a small panic attack. What happened to my first "short-term project" from 2012? The planned short intermezzo turned into an outstanding, fixed annual date. And being able to shape the viennacontemporary each and every year is truly an exciting experience.


Time for a change?

It's time. Time for a change. You've come to realize that there is an urgent need for optimization in many areas of your business. Your employees don't feel fully at ease; your guests find the atmosphere cold and uninviting when they walk through the door. But you're concerned about how to make a change. What is the most efficient way to increase added value for your customers and your employees? Where do you begin?

Your colleagues and employees will be devoted to the long-term satisfaction of your customers if you, as their employer or manager, are just as devoted to the well-being of your employees. That's why nowadays, hospitality mostly begins with the optimization of internal processes and procedures. What changes can you implement to make a typical day at the office more pleasant? Does everyone truly understand corporate hospitality, meaning how we as a company take care of our employees and customers? Do we have a formal working environment, or are we all on a first-name basis? What do we offer our guests when they have an appointment with us at our offices? Is our hardware, i.e. our furniture, tableware and every other detail, in line with our corporate values? What type of customer journey are we offering our customers or guests, from the appointment setting and purchase to the goodbyes after an appointment and the follow-up? All of these processes are part of the big picture when thinking about hospitality in your own company. We recommend regularly stepping into your customer's shoes, considering things from his perspective and taking a birds-eye view of every small detail. Today, while digitalization has the upper hand in many fields, it's the personal details and the human touch that make the difference. That's what we all appreciate the most.

And that applies to every business. Do you have a hotel? Then spend a night in each of your rooms once a year! You provide a service and market yourself online? Then browse through your website on a regular basis and ask yourself whether your services are clearly and understandably described! You work in a law firm? How do you feel when one of your colleagues opens the door for you at reception and invites you into a room for a meeting? Is that difficult to do? Ask a friend to do this and to give you honest, critical feedback. What particularly bothers you at appointments or what do you need in your working environment to feel more comfortable? Share your thoughts with us and as a thank you, we'll send you a checklist to help you test the hospitality mindset in your company. We look forward to hearing from you and to an exciting exchange of ideas!


Is the Guest Really King?

“The guest is king” is a prevalent old saying that is still popular today. The guest, in my opinion, is first and foremost a person who wants to be treated with polite attention, appreciation and respect. But what exactly does that mean for the people who work in tourism? Should they be Subjects? Servants?

With the emergence of the Internet, the expectations put on the guest experience have dramatically evolved in the hotel and restaurant industry. People have never been able to compare tourism businesses as easily as today. The expectations of the guest experience in the hotel industry, gastronomy, organization and event industry have changed considerably with the era of the Internet.
While mistakes used to be allowed, nowadays, companies are immediately denounced via today's popular online rating platforms. But to make mistakes is human and they happen again and again. Mistakes are important, as they help us evolve and learn as people. Nobody is perfect! Despite this, companies affected by negative ratings suffer obvious damage and consequences. As the saying goes, once on the Internet, always on the Internet. Times are changing rapidly and with it, the expectations put on hospitality. Let's be honest – do you not read reviews from other guests before making an initial hotel or restaurant visit, and are you not influenced by the reviews?

Years ago, the focus was on the product, for example, the hotel room, the show or the food. Today it is about the service itself. In the future, factors such as empathy and appreciation will dominate. Choosing the right employees who can integrate these factors into their job has become a vital part of the tourism industry. The restaurant industry needs people who openly and confidently approach guests and convey a genuine interest in them. Warmth is becoming more and more important. Personal attention instead of simple service. The way to the guest's heart is emotion. To be successful in this industry, you need noticeable passion and genuine, honest enthusiasm! What makes excellent service? If the guest leaves your locale, hotel or event happier than when he came! And for that, you don’t have to regard the guest as king, just as a person who honestly wants to be valued. This is exactly what I experienced recently during my holiday stay in Hinterhiersee in the Hotel Juffing. Cordiality and passion that comes from the heart - communication at eye level. I will certainly come back.

Would you pay a second visit to a hotel or restaurant, if as a “king”, you were treated well, but with distance? Or would you be more likely to return if you were treated warmly and cordially, as a guest with individual needs? I’d love to hear about your customer experience, whether as a guest or as a king, at christine@friedreich.at - I am looking forward to your recommendation!