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A positive look at the crisis – Interview with Christa and Matthias Schulze Dieckhoff

March 13, 2021 Headline News, Hotel Feature No Comments Email Email

In the Green Pearls® newsletters, we write about hotels and destinations and their green initiatives. With a great deal of personal commitment, Green Pearls® hoteliers work day in and day out for more sustainability in tourism and continue to inspire us, even in the midst of a pandemic.

What inspires and motivates you at the moment? How do you motivate your team?

We hope Corona will be a wake-up call for society. The whole situation actually only makes us want to go our own way even more.

In fact, we seem to have found a way for our team to get even more involved. We have recently been questioning the way we work. As with almost all companies, we have had communication problems. With a new communication structure and digital tools, we have managed to make everyone feel involved. And that spurs us all on!

We also did some team events together and visited our partners’ production sites. We planned these events for our trainees, but the whole team was always invited to come along and it was very well received.

Christa and Matthias Schulze Dieckhoff are hoping for positive changes through the Corona crisis and are leading by example. They are renovating their hotel, the Biohotel Sturm in the Rhön, during the forced break. During an interview, the two entrepreneurs told us what drives and motivates them and what they envision for the future.

What does your day-to-day work currently look like?

Honestly? When things get going, here again, we’ll take a holiday! We have a lot of renovations and modernizations going on at the moment. The communication structures we mentioned earlier are part of it, but we are also working on a new homepage and on revising our company image and identity.

On the second floor, six rooms are currently being completely renovated, and of course in a sustainable way: clay walls, wood from the region, and carpets from CO2-neutral producers. We also looked at all the bathrooms and refreshed them or replaced fittings where necessary. We replaced all the duvets and pillows. The benches in the saunas were sanded down. A huge project is the modernization of our former 380 sqm sunroom. Oh yes, a new building in the hotel garden is also planned for the autumn. But we don’t want to give too much away yet!

Why are you renovating now of all times?

These renovations would have come our way at some point anyway and we have used the hotel closure pragmatically. These projects are only possible for the moment. We have asked our long-standing partners and craftsmen for some assistance on short notice.

What do you miss most during this “compulsory break”?

Our guests! But also, our staff, for whom we are especially happy when things get going again. It’s very quiet here – so much space without people is really strange.

What sustainable vision are you striving for for the hotel?

Our greatest wish is that our guests recognize our good work in everything and that we are on the right path. We want to endure and persevere and always develop our hotel for the best. The organic approach is not the easiest and simplest and we hope that this will be recognized and appreciated.

Do you think Corona leads to people rethinking their (travel) behavior?

Yes, there will be a change in people’s behavior. We really hope that Corona will be a wake-up call to stop simply carrying on as before, also with regard to travel. And we hope for more holidaymakers in Germany.

What are your hopes for this year of travel?

It is important for us to start earning money again, otherwise, things will get very tight at some point. However, we suspect that the situation will only improve after Easter or even Whitsun.

How do you look back on 2020 and the time last summer?

The spring was a real shock and triggered real existential fears, as it did for so many others. In the summer, we had an unbelievably large number of guests. They helped us get through the time until now. We have experienced a lot of understanding, especially with regard to hygiene and distance rules. We can almost say that we are grateful for this experience because it has shown us that we are on the right track and we should keep doing what we’re doing.

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