How companies manage crises: Mastering challenges with courage


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Disclosure & Image Rights:  The German Youth Hostel Association has supported our research on site with a free stay and meals. The Kranzbach has supported our research on site by a free stay and our travel costs. Image material was created with a smartphone made available free of charge by our sponsor Mobilcom Debitel, which we checked as part of the test until it was unusable. Relais-Chalet Wilhelmy supported our research with a free stay.

Unexpected events require courage and determination from entrepreneurs. In the Corona crisis, the tourism industry in particular faced unexpected challenges. 3 companies show how they deal with government restrictions and how travel will change in the future.

How companies manage crises: Mastering challenges with courage

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Simone Janson Simone JansonSimone Janson is publisherGerman Top20 blogger and Consultant for HR communication.

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Unfamiliar situations, new challenges for Company

There are situations that have never happened before and that force companies to rethink radically. This includes, for example, the corona crisis, which has at least temporarily severely restricted the global economy. One of the most affected industries is tourism, which was brought to a virtual standstill during the lockdown and was then subjected to severe restrictions.

The hosts and restaurateurs, who have been running their businesses with heart and soul, passion and inner conviction, sometimes for generations, hit the many restrictions particularly hard. How do you feel about the difficult situation? I looked at three very different companies and spoke to the people on site.

How companies manage crises: Mastering challenges with courage

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Social distancing as a basic concept

The Kranzbach is one of Germany's best wellness hotels and has received several awards. With its idyllic location between the Karwendel and Wetterstein mountains and its extensive range of health options, it is particularly suitable as a hideaway for stressed people who can afford the luxury of this seclusion:

While the modern extension of the building was cleverly built into the slope and is hardly noticeable, the stone-walled castle stands almost alone on its own 130.000 m² mountain meadow. It was commissioned in 1915 by the English aristocrat Mary Portman, and built by the English architects Detmar Blow and Fernand Billerey in the style of the English Arts and Crafts movement.

The advantage is that social distancing is practically part of the concept in Kranzbach: guests should enjoy the peace and solitude for themselves and relax with a view of the imposing Wetterstein Mountains in the pool or during one of the many sports and meditation courses.

How companies manage crises: Mastering challenges with courage

How companies manage crises: Mastering challenges with courage

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"Travel will change"

In order to allow the guests this form of slowing down, the hotel foregoes a number of sources of income, as the owner does Dr. Jakob Edinger reveals: "We cannot be booked via platforms, do not hold events or seminars, not even weddings are possible and we prefer to recommend specialized businesses to families." He is therefore sticking to his vision even during the Corona crisis: The hotel is voluntarily only 75 percent full and so the state-imposed restrictions, apart from masks and gloves, are barely noticeable at the buffet.

The success proves the hotel owner right: "We have a lot of regular guests and in general the guests bring a lot of understanding and discipline." But he has also noticed changes: "There is more intensive inquiries, people have become more cautious and sometimes postpone bookings." Overall, Edinger, who also advises other tourism companies, is convinced: “Travel will change. The demand for retreats, nature and fresh air will increase - across all budgets. But this is also an opportunity for companies to score points with trust and good quality. "

How companies manage crises: Mastering challenges with courage

How companies manage crises: Mastering challenges with courage

 "Vacation in Germany is trendy again"

Stefanie Ziegelbauer, who runs the Relais-Chalet Wilhelmy as a boutique and design hotel in Bad Wiessee am Tegernsee, has had similar experiences: “People have become more reserved and understanding, but the need for security has also grown, which is why many now travel to Germany on vacation ”, explains Ziegelbauer, who has also noticed a change in the duration of the trip:“ In the past, guests only came for two days, now they spend their vacation here. Vacation in Germany is trendy again. "

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The small hotel with 28 rooms and 11 employees is a real, but very exclusive family business: the owners cook themselves, create their own flower arrangements, personally take care of each guest and work in the garden, cozy, modern rooms with balcony, terrace and garden view and mountains invite you to linger, a spa with sauna and pool offers relaxation and the Tegernsee is just a few minutes' walk away. Those who like it completely private can rent the luxurious Alm-Chalet with 120 square meters.

How companies manage crises: Mastering challenges with courage

How companies manage crises: Mastering challenges with courage

Carry on despite total failure and crisis

In addition, the house specializes in small, exclusive meetings and offers two beautiful conference rooms with mountain views, which are also often used by international companies, a source of income that is of course currently lacking. The corona crisis came for the hotel in the middle of a major renovation phase, the state requirements make additional staff necessary.

The company took extra precautions and paid for an insurance policy against company closures for 26 years, which now does not want to pay for the damage. “There are only legal steps left,” the hotel manager explains the difficult situation. Basically she welcomes state aid and also the sales tax cut, which has an effect, but: “We had two and a half months of total failure, we can only make up for that with loans despite government aid,” explains Ziegelbauer. “We want to continue after all”.

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How companies manage crises: Mastering challenges with courage

How companies manage crises: Mastering challenges with courage

When 40 percent of the income is lost in the long term

The situation is not easy for the German Youth Hostel Association (DJH) either: As a non-profit organization, the association is not allowed to build up any significant reserves, but should still operate its houses economically and thus cover costs. The corona crisis has created an imbalance that lasts well beyond the lockdown, the association gains 40 percent of its income from school trips. Exactly that is not currently available - and not until at least January 2021, at least in Bavaria. "If it stays that way, we will have major failures that we can no longer absorb," explains Marko Junghänel, who is responsible for communication in the Marketing & Education department of the DJH Landesverband Bayern.

In the beginning, the youth hostels were simply not in the focus of politics, explains Junghänel. At the instigation of the Bavarian State Association, a petition was started to draw attention to the situation. Active local politicians were also contacted. In the end, the DJH received almost 6 million euros. “That covers the costs from the start of the lockdown until this fall. Then we have to see how we can carry on, ”said the press spokesman, who sees no long-term solution in loans. Rather, the association now wants to develop new concepts.

How companies manage crises: Mastering challenges with courage

Tip: Text as PDF (please read the instructions!) Download or for a little more Book on the topic with discount or eCourse book. Actions or news via Newsletter!

How companies manage crises: Mastering challenges with courage

New concepts to deal with the crisis

New concepts are much more in demand: “We are currently actively approaching schools, for example to enable them to outsource lessons. But our speakers can also provide media-educational support when catching up on unusual teaching material or carrying out digital lessons. There is also a demand for team building measures to counteract the breakup of the class groups, ”reports Junghänel.

But the DJH is no longer just the target group for schools, many clubs and organizations also hold meetings and seminars here and are much less restricted by the restrictions. And youth hostels are also becoming more attractive for hikers and families who want to take a cheap holiday, as I discovered during my visit to Kreuth am Tegernsee: Like all youth hostels, the house has a large outdoor area with plenty of room to play and is in an idyllic location also a good starting point for other activities, be it hiking, paddling or cycling.

How companies manage crises: Mastering challenges with courage

How companies manage crises: Mastering challenges with courage

Tip: Text as PDF (please read the instructions!) Download or for a little more Book on the topic with discount or eCourse book. Actions or news via Newsletter!

Sustainable orientation as a unique selling point

The DJH would like to continue investing in its sustainable orientation, which represents a unique selling point in this price segment, as Junghänel emphasizes: “We will be significantly expanding the range of organic food from next spring. That was supposed to happen in March, but was difficult due to delivery problems and the short-time work of many employees. But we want to continue to offer our guests quality. "

However, one thing will not change either: the shared rooms typical of school trips. “Since the DJH has significantly expanded the range of smaller rooms in recent years, this of course makes us attractive for families. But we also keep getting feedback on how educationally valuable multi-bed rooms are for the students and we will definitely keep this concept. "

How companies manage crises: Mastering challenges with courage


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