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Building identity in hospitality

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“Where you start as a business may not be where you end up. Our strategy has been to be responsive to where the company has an opportuntiy to succeed.” So begins CEO Stefano Vigolo, who is approaching nine months as head of the Arjeplog Hotel Silverhatten, and continues: “Our strategy going forward has been about honing in on what makes us special, to persuade potential clientele to journey to our remote location.”

Situated in northern Sweden, the history of the local area was something identified as a key part of its offering to customers: “Our resort was established in the early 1970s as an alpine skiing resort, but it soon became a key location for testing cars in winter environments. Opel was the first, but now all major car companies use this location, as well as component manufacturers.”

For the CEO, the hotel has pivoted to a more automative theme to respond to this: “We already have a very strong position in the local hospitality market, but in particular with our main site, Silverhatten Hotel, we have been working to transform it into a venue brimming with the history of auto-testing in this area, so that when conferences are held here, there is a strong memorability to the way things look.”

While automotive heritage is a strong part of the local area, Mr. Vigolo’s strategy is multi-dimensional, with multiple sites serving different aspects of the overall vision: “Building our identity in hospitality has been about more than just taking a theme from the town’s history and building around it, as that wouldn’t be enough to maintain interest on its own. It’s been about also showing our clientele something new, so that they keep coming back. As a company, that has meant branching out into our exclusive Silver Lodge site, which sits 700 m above sea level in a smaller and more exclusive set-up, our top-tier if you like. There is also a restaurant and top-class hospitality facilities. Our third tier is our KRAJA campsite with cabins and experiences such as pike fishing. These facilites attract different kinds of clientele, our campsite lets us tap into the private holidaymaker’s market.”

“Corporate clients remain our key market, and the combination of history, and also fresh experiences and different location options are something they remember about us.”

For Mr. Vigolo, these three tiers are united by their shared staffing standards, a key attribute of the company’s identity: “Some clients stay for two or three days, others for a week, so finding staff who understand the hospitaty needs of diverse guests is key.” This has meant working closely with recuiters to cultivate a professional yet open and diverse atmosphere on site.

It’s great to know that we began as a skiing resort, but because of our flexibility are able to now tailor our hospitality venues to a specific industrial audience. Stefano VigoloCEO

Taking the plan still forwards, Mr. Vigolo is looking forward to an excellent 2019 winter season: “We are busy developing exciting new experiences for our customers this season, and are looking to increase our customer’s reach into local culture and nature.”

According to the CEO, the company, which turned over seven million EUR this past year, markets itself through the recommendations of its customers: “We market locally, and have built up a network of tour operators to work with. Developing these ties, and aided by the recommendations of our clients, we are confident in reaching out to ever more clientele with our home-grown identity mixed with stunning corporate hospitality service.”

“It’s great to see”, closes the CEO, “that we began as a skiing resort ... It’s a testament to our willingness to move where the market is going, and establish a strong identity.”

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