MCI Livetalk with Erich Falkensteiner, Hotelier & entrepreneur; supervisory board, Falkensteiner Michaeler Tourism Group; Angel investor & founder of Falkensteiner Ventures
Crises are not a foreign word for the entrepreneur from South Tyrol. Erich Falkensteiner shares these experiences with the virtual audience at the MCI Livetalk. Falkensteiner experienced his first personal crisis at the age of 17 when his father passed away and he had to take over his parents' hotel together with his brother.
In the Covid-19 crisis, however, the hotelier also sees opportunities. Because with the implied travel restrictions, Falkensteiner experienced this summer that a new target group traveled to South Tyrol. Customers from Austria or Germany, who had not been to South Tyrol since their childhood, but who were now completely enthusiastic about the region's diverse offerings. Now it is important to retain these customers for the long term.
"We will emerge from this crisis as winners", emphasizes Falkensteiner. The prospect of a vaccination, government support through short-time work and the fact that vacations are now simply part of life will revive the industry, the entrepreneur is convinced.
Falkensteiner does not expect major changes due to the Corona crisis in the travel industry. However, he forsees:A trend away from short shopping-trips, but longer summer vacations; rising prices for flights, a turnaround in the seminar industry in hotels, such as use for meetings when office space is not available, the future of the hotel industry sees Erich Falkensteiner in the specialization and/or in target group topics such as wellness- or family vacation. Also, Glamping, vacation in tree houses and so on are upcoming trends.
Although, Falkensteiner sees a problem in holding employees in the future. To steer away from this emerging problem, he recommends implementing a vision of hospitality within the team.
He always had a feeling, that digitalization is the way to go. Falkensteiner sees immense opportunities to apply artificial intelligence in the hotel industry. Although he does not think much of replacing services such as the reception service, it should definitely be used in the back end. In this way, CRM systems can support the targeted acquisition of customers.In his latest venture, Erich Falkensteiner invests in start-ups. He appreciates the fact that he can combine his many years of experience with the ideas and motivation of young entrepreneurs. He has already received 700 inquiries and has invested in 16 of them. Factors such as scalability naturally play an important role in his decisions, but ultimately the chemistry between start-up founders and the group of investors must be right. As an investor, Falkensteiner must be able to rely on the founders not burying their heads in the sand at the slightest crisis.
Because as an entrepreneur you have to be aware that a lot can go wrong. "You just have to get up again and again". These experiences help to develop further. Falkensteiner emphasizes that this was no different in his career.
To be successful, he concentrates on always being one step ahead. What are the next trends and developments? You want to be a trendsetter, not a copycat.
Thinking ahead is also important to Falkensteiner when he hands over the family business to his children. This requires clear rules of the game and clear competencies to minimize the tensions that often prevail. He also advises that the children gain their training and experience in other companies. When they then return to the parental company, they will have a different status.
Falkensteiner Hotels & Residences is one of the three leading brands for the operation of vacation hotels in Central Europe. The FMTG is involved in all areas of tourism and the development of tourism products and services.
Curriculum vitae Erich Falkensteiner:
1978 Takeover of his parents' business "Ehrenburgerhof" in Ehrenburg at the age of 201978-today construction and expansion of the company "Ehrenburgerhof" in Ehrenburg1982 Foundation of the 1st "Incoming Agency" (Falk Tours) in South Tyrol1986 Foundation of the first hotel cooperation in South Tyrol1989 Foundation of the first hotel purchasing company in South Tyrol1995 Foundation of the first hotel consulting company together with Otmar Michaeler as partner1997 Foundation of the first hotel management company in South Tyrol; business expansion to Austria1997 Foundation of the FMTG - Falkensteiner Michaeler Tourism Group