‘Happy to see you!’ – That’s where it starts. In most houses run and refurbished by Grape Hospitality, you don’t have to walk up to a formal reception desk to book a room. Instead, you are greeted by a friendly employee with a mobile check-in tablet who welcomes you in a pleasant, open environment.
“Our idea is to remove barriers,” emphasizes Frederic Josenhans, CEO. “By the same token, we want our guests to be able to check in and out from wherever they like. Regional integration is an important aspect of our development. Our hotels should not only be interesting for business travellers, but also become part of the everyday life of the regional population. That means we would like people to use the restaurants as well as the sports and wellness facilities. Hotels are also ideal for events and can become regional meeting points.”
Although Grape Hospitality has acquired 87 hotels in France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and Austria already, Mr. Josenhans feels that it is not the total number that counts, but the success of the group. “Our philosophy is to create values and bring the hotels in a better position,” he adds. “To this effect we adopt innovative technologies and cooperate in a team.”
Unlike most other hotel groups, Grape Hospitality is usually the owner, manager and operator of the hotels it modernizes. “About 50% of our hotels are economy class hotels, mainly Ibis, and the other 50% superior three-star hotels such as Mercure, Pullmann, Novotel and MGallery by Sofitel,” explains the CEO. “Many of the hotels we purchased were not sufficiently booked or financially unstable before, and we have managed to make them profitable again. Our task is to bring hotels back up to standard, carry out the necessary refurbishments and give them a new value of their own.”
Good sleep being the prerequisite of comfort, the first step is always replacing the mattresses. “Networking is another important aspect,” adds Mr. Josenhans. “We ensure that all our houses have optimal W-LAN connection and modern TVs with data links.
Moreover, we observe sustainability and environmental compatibility in diverse areas.” Indeed, Grape Hospitality supports initiatives such as the production of organic wine for the consumption and sale to its guests. Quite a few of its hotels produce their own honey for use in their own restaurants. Last, but not least, there are 20 charging stations for electric cars by the group’s hotels already, with more to follow in the near future.
Our hotels should not only be interesting for business travellers, but also become part of the everyday life of the regional population. Frederic JosenhansCEO of Grape Hospitality
Grape Hospitality serves both business and leisure travellers, which is a tide of the times as the interests of both groups tend to mingle. “There is no strict separation between the two any more,” confirms Mr. Josenhans. “Many business travellers include some leisure aspects, and many tourists like to use business hotels for economy reasons. Both appreciate a friendly restaurant, a nice bar and free W-LAN connection.”
Many guests use the Accor reservation center to book a hotel. “We also cooperate with various Internet portals and assist our hotels in becoming active and winning their own clientele,” adds Mr. Josenhans. “Just recently, we trained 20 hotel managers to obtain master status in the framework of a program that took several months.” Generally, hotel managers run their establishment as entrepreneurs and manage their team with the aim of optimizing their results and obtain full customer satisfaction. They assume full responsibility for their staff.
“We have our head offices in Paris and Luxembourg,” points out the CEO. “Nevertheless, we often visit the different hotels to support the manager’s marketing, personnel management, financing and refurbishment activities. A regular exchange and close cooperation take place between us.”
Our task is to bring hotels back up to standard, carry out the necessary refurbishments and give them a new value of their own. Frederic JosenhansCEO of Grape Hospitality
In all, Grape Hospitality has 2,000 employees who contribute to its steadily increasing turnover and the growing popularity of its hotels and restaurants.
Within only three years, the group has proven its ability to bring hotels back to profitability through innovative technology and team-oriented management. Some hotels will be resold once they are running smoothly again, yet there are new additions as well. “The hotels of our new own brand Demeures De Campagne will open in 2020,” says Mr. Josenhans. “They are beautiful places in a peaceful environment with many leisure opportunities, for example wellness areas or animation in nature. We plan to acquire and integrate further hotels, one of them in Berlin.
It will be the first completely ecologically oriented establishment meeting the current trend away from plastics and towards raw materials recycling – a bit like a pilot project for us.” Grape Hospitality sees good perspectives on an international level, also in Greece and Great Britain. “Europe will remain our scope of operation, however,” confirms the CEO with a view to the future. “There is no standstill of development, and we will keep cooperating and evaluating our work.“