In an exclusive interview with Travel Trade Journal (TTJ), Sullivan Sananikone, Regional Director, Sales and Marketing, Western Europe at Kempinski’s Regional Office Europe, shed light on the brand’s exceptional performance and their strategies in the European market. Kempinski, an esteemed global luxury hotel brand with a rich history dating back to 1897, has built an extensive presence in Europe over the years, operating iconic properties in Munich, Berlin, Budapest, Austria, and Switzerland.
– Vartik Sethi
With roots dating back to 1897, when the first Kempinski hotel graced the vibrant city of Berlin, Kempinski’s strong German heritage has been deeply entwined with the European continent. As Sullivan Sananikone, Regional Director of Sales and Marketing, Western Europe, passionately expressed, “Europe holds a special place for Kempinski, boasting a considerable number of its iconic properties in esteemed locations such as Munich, Berlin, Budapest, Austria, and Switzerland.”
A Wealth of European Hotels
The European market stands as a pivotal focus for Kempinski, as most of its hotels are proudly established across diverse European landscapes. The brand’s presence extends from the picturesque coasts of Spain with properties like Kempinski Hotel Bahia Marbella Estepona to the enchanting eastern parts of the continent.
While Kempinski’s DNA is centered on offering a collection of unique hotels that distinctly reflect their destinations, the European properties exude a singular charm. The brand’s emphasis on heritage is evident, as Kempinski takes pride in operating hotels that are often housed within historical, listed buildings. This strong link to Europe’s rich history and architecture sets the European properties apart, creating an unforgettable experience for guests seeking a deep cultural connection.
An Uncompromising Standard
Amid the diversity of the individual properties, Kempinski maintains a consistent thread of luxury that weaves through each experience. Sananikone emphasised the brand’s commitment to providing guests with not just a place to sleep and dine but an immersive experience of the destination itself. Whether traveling in Switzerland or any other location, guests will find the Kempinski touch reflecting the local culture, traditions, and unique offerings. Sananikone said, “Our most important thing is to provide a luxury experience that goes beyond just staying and eating at the hotel. We want our guests to feel the essence of the destination itself.”
A Fascination with the Indian Market
Sananikone discussed the Indian market’s affinity for Europe, driven by its people’s appreciation of rich history and profound traditions. Indian travellers seek authenticity and are drawn to Europe’s wealth of heritage, making it a cherished destination for many. Kempinski’s European properties, with their deep-rooted connections to history and culture, align perfectly with the preferences of discerning Indian travellers.
Kempinski also recognises the importance of catering to Indian weddings, a significant segment of the luxury travel market. To ensure the perfect wedding experience, the brand partners with local experts to provide exceptional culinary experiences and culturally relevant services.
Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, Kempinski achieved remarkable success in 2022, surpassing pre-pandemic levels with a staggering 20 per cent increase in rooms revenue compared to 2019. The brand’s resilience, combined with its commitment to delivering exceptional experiences, has made it a preferred choice for luxury travellers seeking unique and culturally immersive stays. Sananikone said, “In 2022, we surpassed the revenue from 2019 by 20 per cent, which is a remarkable achievement for the luxury market.”
Kempinski’s continuous growth is a testament to its unwavering dedication to quality, authenticity, and sustainability. As the world slowly recovers from the pandemic, Kempinski remains focused on enriching the travel experiences of its guests, forging ahead with strategic expansion while staying true to its European heritage.
Focus on Sustainability
Kempinski places great emphasis on sustainability and responsible tourism practices. The brand has partnered with Earth Check, an internationally recognised certification program, to ensure its hotels meet rigorous sustainability standards. As part of their commitment to sustainability, Kempinski aims to have approximately half of its European portfolio certified by Earth Check, demonstrating their dedication to environmental protection and community engagement.
Looking ahead, Kempinski aims to enhance its presence in the American market, further reinforcing its global footprint. The brand’s unwavering commitment to providing authentic and immersive experiences will undoubtedly resonate with travellers from around the world, continuing the legacy that began in the heart of Berlin over a century ago.
As Sullivan Sananikone’s insights revealed, Kempinski’s European properties possess a unique allure, beautifully combining luxury and cultural authenticity. With its distinguished German heritage and remarkable presence spanning the continent, Kempinski continues to enchant discerning travellers seeking an enriching and unforgettable experience in the heart of Europe.