My experience at Austria’s Hotel Jagdhof
As a keynote speaker one of the things I enjoy most about sharing my thoughts about customer service, social media and branding is the variety of the locations I’m invited to speak. I’ve now given my presentation in Mexico, across North America, London, Glasgow, Prague, Siberia, Moscow and St. Petersburg, as well as in Australia and Dubai. With many of the events, I’ve been blown away by the quality of the hotels and conference spaces and last week I enjoyed an amazing experience in Austria that I think is worth sharing.
After presenting in Innsbruck at the SDT conference (for people who design great customer service experiences), I had the opportunity to spend two days at the Hotel Jagdhof (pronounced “Yagtoff”) which is a 2nd generation family owned Spa hotel in the Stubai Valley, 20 minutes outside Innsbruck. The hotel can accommodate roughly 175 guests and is owned by Armin and Christina Pfurtscheller. Armin’s father had the vision to build the facility at the same time as the nearby glacier was being developed for skiing and the Jagdhof has been a jewel in the valley ever since. Today the Stubai Glacier opens in late October making it the earliest opportunity to ski in the Northern hemisphere, and the hotel is an all-season resort.
From the outside the Jagdhof is a five story traditional chalet style construction hotel of stucco and dark wood beams and flower boxes surrounding each balcony. My room was well appointed, including a private sauna, bathtub and separate shower and a spacious balcony overlooking the mountains and Stubai Glacier. If you want to relax in your room then it’s more than possible to do that in your private space.
The Jagdhof is all about service and experience. The ladies working the front desk are dressed in traditional dresses. Their incredible spa offers 15 different types of steam bath and sauna rooms for men, women and couples, as well as a variety of massage and treatment spaces. There’s an indoor pool that connects with the outside pool and hot tub. There are lounges placed around the grounds for people interested in relaxing to the backdrop of the surrounding mountains and quiet of the valley.
They offer a fine dining experience on a menu that changes daily using local ingredients whenever possible. Armin joined us for dinner on both nights and with my first dinner I was treated to venison that was cultivated by the hotel’s own hunter from their 3000 hectare private game reserve. On the second evening we ate lamb that came from Armin’s fathers nearby sheep farm. Their chef is one of the best in Austria and the hotel’s cuisine and facility has been deemed best in class by critics.
Armin takes great pride in the wine cellar he has developed over the years and his sommelier’s pairing’s of world class wines with both meals was perfect, in my opinion, as he took the time to explain his choices. After dinner we retired to the piano bar to a warm, comfortable atmosphere before Armin invited me downstairs for a wine tasting in his cellar. There, I enjoyed the finest glass of red wine to ever pass my lips and received an education at the same time. That was an incredible experience and Armin explained that he does this once a week for guests at the Jagdhof.
Despite the fact that the amenities of the hotel are world class what struck me about the Jagdhof was the attention to detail and work ethic of its owners. Armin and Christina work seven days a week, aside from short holidays away at their lowest season, and they are absolutely committed to delivering quality experiences to all of their guests. They are friendly, present and engaged with everyone and as a result their excellent staff follows their lead.
Many hotels offer material luxuries but Armin and Christina are the Jagdhof’s secret ingredient that make this hotel tower above any chain competitor in its class. When you leave the Jagdhof you feel as though you are saying goodbye to old friends and that experience cannot be bought; it can only be shared. Armin and Christina understand the difference and that is why the hotel Jagdhof will continue to be the jewel of the Stubai Valley when they pass ownership of the hotel to their son in just a few years.
Hey Dave, you’ve just taken 4 good paragraphs of reading that could have been summarised as;
“Great Service is achieved through the personal touch and attention to detail”
As a technologist in the Customer Experience space please rest assured I spend most of my time trying to figure out how to enable a personal touch where pure volumes and complexity of interactions are far too broad for anything other than a corporate touch. Knowing Context and Customer Expectation helps. Maybe the new model view of service is simply that – going back to the high-street, where business was driven through personal relationships, knowledge and familarity.