Interview with Thomas Willms

These are truly turbulent times - not only, but especially for the entire hospitality industry. In such situations it is particularly important to cultivate partnerships and business relationships. We spoke to Thomas Willms about his understanding of a successful partnership and the importance of personal contact.

Thomas Willms CEO Deutsche Hospitality

What are the distinctive characteristics of the Deutsche Hospitality hotel brands, that are always inspiring business travelers?

It is our absolute passion for hospitality that our guests experience across all our brands. In addition, the brands of Deutsche Hospitality are characterized by outstanding expertise in the MICE sector: The central location and excellent transport connections are further factors for success. Our premium brand Steigenberger Hotels & Resorts has with its 90-year tradition and excellent service set the standard for the hotel industry worldwide. MAXX by Steigenberger impresses with its high level of comfort and sustainable conference offerings. Jaz in the City was born out of the enthusiasm for music and lifestyle and offers business travelers unconventional meeting solutions. IntercityHotel focuses on a seamless integration into the public transport system and the complete digital integration of all its services. With Zleep Hotels we offer modern Scandinavian charm in the economy segment - soon to be available in Germany.

What has been your biggest challenge in recent weeks?

The portfolio of Deutsche Hospitality comprises of nearly 150 hotels in a total of 20 countries and spanning three continents. More than 10,000 people work for the Deutsche Hospitality brands. During the lockdown we had to close a large part of our operations. Our first concern was therefore to ensure that none of our employees lost their jobs because of the Corona pandemic. We also take our responsibility towards our partners, owners and investors very seriously. In recent weeks, we have reacted very flexibly and with agility to the many different regulations of the individual countries and federal states, which represents a significant challenge for our industry, and have always made the well-being of guests and employees the guiding principle of our actions.

What are the most important criteria for you in a partnership and what expectations or wishes do you have of a customer and likewise of a partner?

For me, the most important criteria for a successful business relationship are openness, transparency and respectful, loyal interaction with one another. The personal contact with our customers and partners is of particular importance to me. For me, successful partnerships and customer relationships are characterized by the fact that they successfully complement each other. We aim to be the best hosts at each and every location. My expectation of our partners is that they share this commitment with us. I would always like to receive honest feedback from our customers, so that we can learn from their experiences in order to become a little better every day.

Which services of the DH B2B contact persons (Central Sales) do you consider to be particularly valuable for customers?

Our colleagues from the Central Sales Team are always personally available for our customers. Our team members respond to the individual wishes of our customers and the requirements of the various sectors. Our sales staff are all experts in their field and have many years of experience and extensive industry knowledge. I also consider a personal relationship between customers and partners and the salesperson to be particularly important. Hospitality is a people business throughout. Particularly in the B2B sector, good business relations are a decisive factor for economic success. Our goal is to respond individually to the needs of each customer or partner and thus create long-term and trusting business relationships.