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Taking a sustainable approach to hospitality pays off


Hotel Annaberg started as a small family venture in January 2008. The hotel is managed by Mr. van der Laan, who had been working as a hotel manager for twelve years prior to establishing his own business. Mr. van der Laan counts on the support of his wife Melanie, an expert restaurateur.

Together, they launched a business that was fully in line with their vision and understanding of the hospitality industry. “Businesses should be independent, but they should also create synergy with their customers,” says Mr. van der Laan, summarizing his approach to the hospitality business.

Right from the beginning, Mr. and Mrs. van der Laan set out to exceed their guests` expectations by adding unique personal touches to every aspect of their business, like complimentary wine samples upon arrival.

Moreover, they aim to offer guests the opportunity to discover everything that the region has to offer, serving only locally produced food. Likewise, the restaurant`s wine menu features wines produced exclusively in the local area.

Sustainability is an important part behind Hotel Annaberg`s business concept. For example, the restaurant only serves fish that has been farmed using ethical and environmentally sustainable practices.

“We want to do our part and to inspire our guests to adopt environmentally sustainable practices,” says Mr. van der Laan. Being aware of the problems faced by unemployed youths, he decided to employ Spanish apprentices, offering them the chance to learn valuable skills that can help improve their future employment prospects.

It is clear that Mr. van der Laan`s business philosophy has been effective. On weekdays, Hotel Annaberg caters mainly to business guests, whereas during the weekend, guests are primarily tourists or mid-sized wedding parties of up to 90 people. In 2013, the hotel reached a milestone, having average occupancy rates of 62% and a 1.5 million EUR turnover.

Encouraged by the success of their first hotel, Mr. and Mrs. van der Laan opened a second venue in Freinsheim, 7 km away from Bad Dürkheim. Their hotel in Freinsheim opened to the public in April 2014 and offers modern conveniences and well-equipped rooms in a traditional building.

Despite price competition, rising costs and the increasing difficulty of finding dedicated staff, Mr. van der Laan is optimistic about the future and has plans to increase occupancy rates at both hotels by working with tour operators and by taking an active role in local hospitality committees.

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