Where the hotel business is reimagined

The Palatin in Wiesloch is one of Germany’s top conference hotels, a location for special events and also a training workplace which reimagines the hotel business. Together with its team, the Palatin collects awards like other people collect fine wines.

 

Jana is a football player, training every day with TSG Hoffenheim’s women’s team. She sprints, dribbles and grinds with a single goal: to play in Germany’s Bundesliga. And her chances are good. Four years ago, she came to the Kraichgau region to pursue her football dream here. But in contrast to male football players, women players cannot survive from their passion alone. “This would be much too boring for me, anyway,” Jana Beuschlein says, since she has yet another passion: concerts and events.

Klaus Michael Schindlmeier, Jana Beuschlein and Lisa Aenis

But what employer likes his employee training professionally on the side and enjoying concerts and cultural events with the same passion? The 22-year-old found one. Through Anpfiff ins Leben (“Opening whistle to life”), the training programme of the Dietmar Hopp foundation, Jana came to the Palatin Hotel in Wiesloch, where she met Klaus Michael Schindlmeier. He has been managing director of the conference hotel and cultural centre for eleven years—and likes to call himself stage director or a “talent on the look-out for talents”—such as Jana.

The talent Klaus Michael Schindlmeier is himself a trained cook, management expert, head chef and certified hotel manager. He was 19 when he became head chef for the first time—in the Schlosshotel Bad Neuhaus. Later, he ran his own restaurant, was manager of the five-star hotel Vier Jahreszeiten and of the four-star hotel Marc Aurel in Bad Gögging, after that he became managing director of the golf resort Golf- und Vitalpark Bad Waldsee. Since 2007, he has vividly demonstrated in Wiesloch how a city-owned event location can be turned into a conference hotel, which is one of the top training workplaces in Germany. Excellent training workplace, one of the best conference hotels in Germany, special event location, top employer—the Palatin collects awards like other people collect fine wines. Most recently, the Palatin was certified for its sustainability. “We heat with three co-generation units, the rooms are painted with ecological paint and we also take the data privacy of our employees very seriously,” Klaus Michael Schindlmeier says—and you can hear the devotion put into every detail of this large-scale project.

For this boss the key to his success is his staff. This might sound trivial, but for Schindlmeier his very young crew is his philosophy put into practice. “We are one family, we are on first name terms with each other and take good care of each other.” Jana noticed this trusting atmosphere already at her job interview, when her future boss opened doors for her, enabling her to study at the Baden-Wuerttemberg Cooperative State University Mannheim and to carry out her football training units and her cultural activities at the same time. “Then, I became a N8:Schwärmer (“night crawler”) very quickly,” she tells us, talking about her first experiences in event managing. The all-women team has changed Wiesloch’s N8:Leben (“nightlife”). For six years, the event series N8:Schwärmer has presented an exclusive programme of concerts and parties—on their own authority. “It’s your own personal project and you really throw yourself into the task,” Jana explains enthusiastically. And that is the case although the Palatin team already is very busy, indeed. Every year, it organises up to 120 events, ranging from comedy to concerts. Without the Palatin, there would not be much going on in Wiesloch and the surrounding area. “We made the change happen, since until then our audience was mainly over 70. Our team does everything by itself—from planning to marketing, carrying out the events and the debriefing—because we have to think hotel business differently,” Schindlmeier says convincedly. Many of his colleagues complain that they did not find the right junior staff. “But only because many of them do not know what benefits come with training your own staff. When you take your staff members seriously and communicate with them as your equals, you integrate decisive, confident, goal-oriented and team-working people into gastronomy.”

In Wiesloch, this philosophy flourishes. Lisa Aenis experienced this, too. In October 2011, she started her cooperative study programme at the Best Western Plus Palatin. After two trial-working days in the service industry, the now 25-year-old was not sure she would be accepted at the university she applied for. But her boss was so pleased that he even got her another university admission at the Baden-Wuerttemberg Cooperative State University. She too is a member of the N8:Schwärmer team, having contributed to the strategic new orientation of the purchasing activities and having worked in all departments of the conference hotel—today she is Klaus Michael Schindlmeier’s personal assistant. Lisa wrote a book about her work experience together with eleven other colleagues: „Breite Brust – Hotellerie ist Zukunft” (“Self-confidence—hotel business is the future”). This book is a clear statement on the fact that you can be very successful at the Palatin in Wiesloch when you are self-confident: from being an apprentice to personal assistant to the managing director. “We need to think like young people,” Klaus Michael Schindlmeier says, enjoying the feeling that the Palatin is ideally positioned for the future with its concept of promoting new talents—for the benefit of Wiesloch and the entire region.


www.palatin.de