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TRAVEL - INTERVIEW

Interview with Thomas Goval, General Manager at Hotel Indigo Berlin Ku'damm

Hotel Indigo Berlin Ku'damm is located near Ku'damm with its fully personalised services and the texture that reflects Berlin and Ku'damm cultures.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Thomas Goval, General Manager at Hotel Indigo Berlin Ku'damm. Photo by Maxime Dufour Photographies

Thomas Goval, General Manager at Hotel Indigo Berlin Ku'damm. Photo by Maxime Dufour Photographies

TRAVEL - INTERVIEW

by Beren Dere

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Berlin is a city that hosts both the business travelers and leisure guests. Berlin is a center of attraction for guests from all over the world with its historical and cultural atmosphere. And "Ku'damm" is the major shopping avenue in Berlin with its 3.5 km length. Hotel Indigo Berlin Ku'damm is located near Ku'damm with its fully personalised services and the texture that reflects Berlin and Ku'damm cultures. In order to learn more about their concept, services and Berlin, I asked Thomas Goval, General Manager at Hotel Indigo Berlin Ku'damm.

Thomas, before start talking about Hotel Indigo Berlin Ku'damm, please tell us about your background and hotel management experience. Where did you start from and how did you join the Hotel Indigo Berlin Ku'damm?

I started with IHG 6 years ago as a "Future Leader" (graduate programme). After rotating in various departments at the InterContinental Berchtesgaden Resort (Southern Bavaria, Germany) and specialising in the Rooms division at the InterContinental London Park Lane, UK, I had the privilege to become Assistant Manager for the first French opening of Hotel Indigo, located in the Opera district. I then took over my first General Manager role in Berlin to transition the hotel from a franchise into an IHG managed property. Working in 4 properties for 2 brands in 3 countries has definitely been an enriching journey!

Hotel Indigo Berlin Ku'damm

Hotel Indigo Berlin Ku'damm

Could you tell us about Hotel Indigo Berlin Ku'damm and the overall concept?

Hotel Indigo Berlin Ku'damm as every Hotel Indigo property is closely related to its local neighbourhood. It means that even hotels located in the same city will all be different. Guests need to feel immersed within the neighbourhood thanks to design and insider tips shared by the team.

What is the Hotel Indigo Berlin Ku'damm design concept? Please tell us about the design details.

Our design concept is all about arts since we face the University of the Arts of Berlin. As an example, a street artist painted one of the lobby walls, another wall is dedicated to photography, a third one shows Instagram posts from guests in a printed version, a funny app (Standard Time) - a digital clock in the form of a movie being 24 hours live recorded in Berlin - is displayed at the reception and our lobby scent was imagined by Frau Tonis Parfum, our exclusive niche perfume brand partner.

Hotel Indigo Berlin Ku'damm

Hotel Indigo Berlin Ku'damm

What type of different experiences could your guests live in your hotel?

Guests should really experience a very personalised stay at the hotel, we aim at collecting always more preferences about them and know their wishes ahead of their stay. It is not used for marketing campaigns, its only purpose is really to know them better and allow us to anticipate their needs and therefore personalise at best their next stay with us... to hopefully make them become loyal.

What features of Hotel Indigo Berlin Ku'damm sets it apart from other hotels in Berlin?

Very personalised service is actually what really sets us apart from the competition. Design through our partnerships with artists and brands also supports a very unique atmosphere at the hotel.

Hotel Indigo Berlin Ku'damm

Hotel Indigo Berlin Ku'damm

How many types of rooms do you offer? What are their features and price range?

We offer 81 rooms divided into 3 different room categories: 30 Standard rooms facing the very quiet inner court, 45 Deluxe rooms with even more daylight through 2 large windows overlooking the city and 6 Executive rooms located on our top floor with balcony. Prices obviously vary regularly, within 80-250 € on average, especially during fairs in Berlin.

Hotel Indigo Berlin Ku'damm

Hotel Indigo Berlin Ku'damm

Please tell us about your services and amenities. How could your guests spend time at the Hotel Indigo Berlin Ku'damm?

Reception is at the heart of the hotel, taking care of concierge and reservation requests too, we offer breakfast daily as well as a bar in the evening with drinks and possibility to order gourmet Italian dishes through our partner Vadoli. Every room offers tea and coffee facilities on a complimentary basis as well as 2 welcoming bottles of water. Our bathrooms amenities are from Aveda. Guest can spend time in the lobby or at the bar but should beyond all explore the neighbourhood. Our team is always delighted to share many insider tips!

Hotel Indigo Berlin Ku'damm

Hotel Indigo Berlin Ku'damm

Could you tell us about the advantages and disadvantages of being a part of a hotel chain? How does it affect the experience of your customers?

Being part of a hotel chain allows guest to receive the same amenities irrespective of the hotel location, ensures an equal level of product quality thanks to numerous brand standards, especially focusing on bedding and shower. Some drawbacks could be too much standardisation, however, the Hotel Indigo brand DNA through design and service always guarantees a very unique experience.

Hotel Indigo Berlin Ku'damm

Hotel Indigo Berlin Ku'damm

What kind of additional services do you offer for business travelers?

Our cosy meeting room can accommodate up to 8 guests, WiFi is offered on a complimentary and unlimited basis - it is even part of IHG Connect, i.e. if guests connect once through this network, their device(s) will automatically be recognised and connected at any other IHG property being also part of this IHG Connect network.

How can travelers make their individual or business/group reservations?

Travellers can make their bookings by email or over the phone directly with us (reception or in-house reservations) which is the preferred way since not only does not the hotel need to pay any commission but beyond all it allows us to better capture guests' preferences ahead of their stay, without any discrepancy or loss of information which happens more often when booking via a third party intermediary. An IHG Central Reservations Office remains also at the guests' disposal. Group requests are handled at best by our in-house group reservations colleagues.

Hotel Indigo Berlin Ku'damm

Hotel Indigo Berlin Ku'damm

Could you tell us about the IHG Reward Club? What type of advantages that you offer to your guests? Do you have a special offer for long-term accommodations?

When booking online - be it on a laptop, tablet or via smartphone and for any IHG brand - guests can register as an IHG Rewards Club member for free. Not only does it allow them to earn points each time they stay or dine with us - and then redeem them against complimentary nights, they can also complete their profile which is then automatically known by each IHG hotel prior of their stay. On top of it, they receive 10% off the public rates, additional amenities during their stay such as complimentary newspaper, late check-out until 2 pm or room upgrade upon availability.

Which is the top season for travelers who want to visit Berlin? What is the reason? What are the most famous attractions near you?

The top season in Berlin is quite challenging to identify! For corporate business, it would be between March and October, except summer when more leisure guests are in town. This is actually the season I would recommend for people to visit Berlin, especially if it is a first time, to enjoy warmer and sunnier weather. December with its Christmas markets is another preferred time for leisure. The hotel is located near "Ku'damm" which is a 3,5 km shopping avenue equivalent to the Parisian Champs-Elysées and is close to the C/O Museum (photography), Memorial Church or Bikini Centre, a very local design shopping mall. Last but not least, Savigny Place is a lovely place surrounded by many terraces and restaurants.

Hotel Indigo Berlin Ku'damm

Hotel Indigo Berlin Ku'damm

If you have only one weekend in Berlin as a first-time visitor, in this limited time, what are the best things to do?

My advice would be to start with a panoramic view of the City to better understand how/where the city remained divided by the wall less than 30 years ago - it does not have to be from the famous TV tower (expensive with lots of queues), the one at Potsdamer Platz (so-called "Panorama Punkt") is as ideal as the former. To "touch" the wall and better understand its history, one can visit the "Topography of Terror" museum, located near Checkpoint Charlie. A more artistic version of the wall is shown through the "East Side Gallery", 1,3 km long and decorated by artists. Other must-see locations are the Brandenburger Gate, the Reichstag (Parliament) which needs to be booked online in advance or the Jewish Memorial. Bus lines 100 and 200 are recommended to get a great first overview of the city.

How do you describe Berlin in one sentence?

The only city in Europe which mixes that well history and modernity.

Thank you Thomas.

For more information, please visit website of Hotel Indigo Berlin Ku'damm





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