Otmar Michaeler, the CEO of Falkensteiner Hotels & Residences, is driving his company forward in a competitive industry by staying true to his roots and fuelling innovation.
The story of Austrian-based Falkensteiner Hotels and Residences is all about family, well, two families to be exact: the Falkensteiners and the Michaelers. Twenty-four years ago the clans decided to team up, which made perfect sense as both have hospitality in their blood.
It all started back in 1957 when Maria and Josef Falkensteiner opened a small guesthouse in the Pustertal Valley in South Tyrol, Italy. Nobody could have imagined that just over half a century later it would become one of the most successful family-run holiday hotel groups in Central Europe. When current CEO Otmar Michaeler’s mother and father signed a deal with the Falkensteiners in 1995 to merge their hotel businesses, things really took off.
Falkensteiner Hotels & Residences quickly spread from Italy across the continent to Austria, Slovakia, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Serbia, and Montenegro. Despite this rapid expansion, the joint management have kept their South Tyrolean roots at the heart of everything they do and Otmar is keeping this ethos alive. As a result, each and every guest at the 26 hotels and three apartment complexes soaks up the Alpine down-to-earthness and Mediterranean optimism – depending on which of the seven countries they’re staying in. As the Falkensteiners have always said, “the challenge is not to build a hotel but to create a home.”
“I’m 52-years-old and I’ve been CEO for the last 10 years,” Otmar says. “We’re a family-driven business and now have more than 2,000 employees. We’re running and developing hotels and we have brilliant teams for both sides of the operation. I’m a big motivator so I like to drive people’s ambition – at Falkensteiner we understand that the hotel industry isn’t just about bed and breakfast, it’s about emotion as well. We have great people working here including amazing designers, architects, chefs, and everyone who works in service.”
Falkensteiner offers accommodation for all types of holidays, whether it be a family vacation on the beach or in the mountains, a relaxing wellness retreat with a partner in an oasis of bliss and tranquillity, a sports holiday with friends, or a city break to one of Europe’s stunning capitals.
Otmar explains the group’s plans for the next three to five years: “The next step is to open our business up to investors from outside to grow faster. To get new capital in the company, you need a lot of equity to grow in the hotel industry, especially if you’re a developer like us, our next step is to find a strategic partner for our mother company, so we can grow.”