Two generations talk to each other

The Norwegian hotel association had invited the young hotelier to its annual conference in Sandefjord in the south of Norway.  At the time, Berno-H. Feuring was 26 years old and - four years after setting up his company - had already erected six innovative hotels in Germany, Austria, Spain and Morocco according to his own concepts.  He also was the official partner of the president of Cyprus in order to promote tourism on the Mediterranean island with his new ideas.

On the occasion of Feuring Hotelconsulting’s 50th anniversary, Berno-M. Feuring and Bardo-M. Feuring, sons of the company’s founder, Berno-H. Feuring, and Matthias Lowin, his son-in-law, took a close look at one of the founder’s early speeches to see in how far it is still up-to-date.

The speech of Berno-H. Feurings from 6th of November 1963.


Internationality

„The political aim was to bring the countries of Europe together.  Our basic idea was to apply this understanding of Europe to the hotel sector.  And to turn this alliance within Europe into an alliance with the rest of the world.“   B.-H. F., 6. November 1963

Bardo-M. Feuring jun.:
It was very clever fifty years ago to put your stakes so decisively on working on an international level.  Today this aspect is still interesting because not every hotel chain is represented everywhere.  That is our business – we focus on the whole of Europe and go as far as Asia.

A luxury hotel for everyone

“The revolutionary novelties, which were part of the idea “a luxury hotel for everyone”, were introduced in Mainz on May 15, 1959.  Special features, which included a key-safe, a drinks lift, restaurant logistics with a show kitchen and serving centres (...), made it possible to substantially reduce the number of staff required to serve guests.  The novelties also played an important role in attracting guests.  Other important factors were, for example, the high standard of quality set by the international hotel industry and the architectural improvements with regard to the hotel lobby and sound-absorption.”
B.-H. F., 6. November 1963

Matthias Lowin:
Just from a functional point of view, there no longer are any innovations of the kind there were forty years ago.  Often, only the marketing is innovative.  With regard to a luxury hotel there are only two dimensions in which true innovation becomes apparent:  gaining time and creating space. Having time and space has always been a luxury.

Berno-H. Feuring sen.:
There are two examples for innovations in first class hotels which we initiated as long as ten years ago and today are widely spread:  On the one hand the technical installations for use of modern media in hotel rooms, such as large flat screen televisions, for example.  On the other hand, to recognise the trend towards large bathrooms as they are now standard in the up-market segment.

shape and emotion

(During his speech, Berno-H. Feuring quoted the architect, Hans Joachim Lenz, who said in Recklinghausen on August 2, 1961:)

I didn’t just want to create contemporary shapes, I didn’t just want to be modern, i.e. create an empty shell that is just the result of all sorts of fads or intellectual speculations.  I wanted to create something for mankind that is filled with life and is not primarily “shape” but is something that is in between things, upraises mankind and increases his sense of being.” 

Bardo-M. Feuring jun.:
Each architect or interior designer would like to leave something behind for posterity.  In order to do that, he interprets people’s needs and manifests these in a certain form – this is true of the past and present.  Mr. Lenz’s statement certainly was very trend-setting.  At the time, there were no particular standards, but basically the Europahotels were designer hotels which “increased the sense of being”.  A hotel with a clear concept will always be regarded beautiful.  Hans Joanchim Lenz struck the pulse of the time.

A hotel with a brand-name

“The idea was to create a “hotel” with a brand-name that pointed beyond the geographical boarders.  What is required to do this?  First, to build a hotel and create a clear brand for it, then, to define a detailed programme that suits the hotel brand.  Our company logo depicts Europe and its connection to the rest of the world; basically it stands for maximum comfort and value for money and the defined market for this branded good is called “A Luxury Hotel for Everyone”.
B.-H. F., 6. November 1963

Matthias Lowin:
The Feuring brand stands for services that have been delivered for 50 years now and still meet the high standards the brand sets itself.  The more than 400 hotels, Feuring Hotelconsulting was involved in during this time, speak their own language.  All of them are still under operation, all of them are successful.  With our brand, we have a bundle of attributes as no-one else has them.  Our understanding of quality is unique, as is the reliability and the value-for-money aspect of our concepts on a long-term basis.

Quality

Bardo-M. Feuring jun.:
If you have the ambition to work with a renowned designer, you have to be able to guarantee the quality of the product.  Of course, there is always the financial aspect but the decisive factor is to properly plan sustainability.  The contents of a hotel are generally planned for a life cycle of about six to seven years.  There comes a point where you no longer feel very enthusiastic about the style of the furniture, often the design concept will have been watered down in the course of the years and there will be signs of wear and tear everywhere.  All this means it’s time to start a renovation and here the same rule applies: if you promise quality, deliver quality.  That has been our motto at Feuring from the very beginning and that is how we made a name for ourselves.

“The most problematic aspect is that of supply by sub-contractors, i.e. monitoring them and giving a guarantee for the quality they deliver.  We have set our own standards of quality and have on many occasions ensured that they are adhered to by supervising the hotel development ourselves.
B.-H. F., 6. November 1963

Thriftiness

“From the very beginning, I was taught to be thrifty.  I undertook my first journeys with relatively little pocket money on the back of my scooter.  On my first trip I very consciously studied the world of hospitality from the point of view of every kind of tourist.  I didn’t just look at luxury hotels but at all aspects of tourism and the differences between them, ranging from camping sites to luxury hotels.”
B.-H. F., 6. November 1963

Matthias Lowin:
Right and effective thriftiness will always become apparent if it is put in relation to the results.  If, we tell our clients today that the calculated prices will remain stable over a long period of time and that they will not need to invest any extra money later, they are prepared to get on board the project with an investment that is fair for everybody involved.

Berno-H. Feuring:
Thriftiness does not work without the necessary experience.  The decision makers we work with can count on getting the most reliable forecasts.  And that is worth an awful lot – because, after all, you have to consider a risk period of three to five years and you always have to be well prepared in case of an emergency.

Expertise

Matthias Lowin:
The main thing is to develop a product that is flexible when it comes to reacting to changing market conditions.  For this purpose we do a market and location analysis, set up a feasibility study and do a forecast.  We always do this against the background of several decades of experience in our sector and with our know-how of the entire requirements-spectrum in Germany, Europe and worldwide.  Our expertise becomes apparent in the ability to correctly estimate the risks involved and to incorporate these risks in our calculations appropriately.  After all, the main risk is the inability to react to risks correctly.  We anticipate everything and this tactic has always served us well.

“Most of the time, the offer to build a hotel reaches us by post.  In 1962 about 200 projects were introduced to us.  Only very few of these fit our requirements to such an extent that it is worth our while to follow them up.  The most important decisive factor is an appropriate market analysis.  For this purpose, we do a kind of public poll of our own.  The second factor is the location, the country, the city, the county and any special features.”
B.-H. F., 6. November 1963

Marketing

“One of the consequences of an efficient hotel chain is advertising.  From the very first day, we turned our attention to this subject:  When our first hotel opened in Mainz we counted more than 400 press reports.  We published our own magazine in our own agency and created our own printed matter. Some of our artful designs used on our menus, for example, were true little masterpieces.  However, we never restrict our advertising to well-chosen words but put an emphasis on our services."
B.-H. F., 6. November 1963

Matthias Lowin:
We still put a lot of value on the right means of communication today.  This is particularly important in a field of several hundred instead of only twenty players.  The moment foreign investors enter the scene we have to make sure that our brand communication is up-to-date in order to keep up with the pace of modern business and to convey sustainability in an abstract form.  It is part of the globalisation process in the international world of investments.