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August 18, 2014
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Kempinski Looks to Boost MICE Appeal; Will Launch New Brand Standards





Kristina Mees

As the upscale Kempinski hotel brand stretches beyond its origins in Europe and into more continents, its meetings and events division is developing ways to appeal to C-level international clients from a range of backgrounds. We spoke with Kristina Mees, Kempinski’s new corporate director of group sales, to see how the luxury brand was adapting to changing needs while maintaining its traditional style. 

Mees, who took on her role in early July, has already launched initiatives to improve Kempinski’s offerings. The company recently completed a client survey that will help the team develop a level of standards that will remain consistent across the brand. The “Kempinski Group & Event Signature Standards” are set to roll out within the next six months, Mees said, and will focus on consistency in response time, site inspections and perks that can include anything from free rooms for planners to free Wi-Fi to free phone use. “Really, it’s a commitment from our side that all groups and events have certain standards when they’re held in a Kempinski hotel,” Mees said. The research is being consolidated and will be formally presented next month at a conference in Amman, Jordan

RELATED: Kempinski to Open Three New Hotels in India

Technology

Kempinski is currently piloting an event app for planners in three properties, and plans to roll out the app globally if client feedback is positive. This app, Mees said, will support meeting planners by “facilitating communication to the event participants.” The app will include event agendas, information about speakers and the ability to categorize attendees into groups for easy “push” messaging to certain individuals. Attendees will also be able to upload photos from events using the app to social media. The goal, she said, is to engage participants “not just during the event, but before and after.” 

Mees is also working with Kempinski’s food and beverage teams to develop what she calls “innovative banqueting” that focuses not just on food, but on technological elements of a reception or formal dinner. Specifically, she said, planners are concerned with the “sense” of a function, creating smells and textures that are appropriate to the event. 

One City, Two Hotels

Kempinski is represented in some cities by two properties, and planners can work with both hotels when hosting large-scale or city-wide functions. In these situations, Mees said, the hotel teams will work together to make sure the client is not contacted by two hotels, but by a single, unified brand. “[The hotels] don’t compete in the cities with multiple properties,” she said, citing unique qualities and location as factors that prevent each hotel from stepping on the other’s toes.  Berlin, for example, has both the Hotel Adlon Kempinski and the Kempinski Hotel Bristol. The two properties are not within walking distance of one another, she said, but are close enough to share a large group. “We position the hotels differently. The Adlon is the more prestigious product, while the Bristol would come at a more attractive price.” 

Looking Back, Looking Ahead

Last year, Kempinski began taking steps to consolidate its MICE strategy and reinforce its role as a MICE-oriented company. The first step was hiring Mees herself, and as of July, she “has been focused on creating and implementing the MICE strategy” for the brand’s hotels worldwide. 

The next steps—the client survey and the upcoming conference in Jordan—are already in place. “We need feedback,” she said simply. “I can put in so many strategies, but we need client feedback to go in right direction. My ideas are only as good as what the client thinks.” Her first real success, she feels, will be the rollout of the signature standards later this year. “Then we will start giving more guidelines to hotels,” she noted.  

Looking ahead, Mees feels that time will become “more and more precious” to meeting planners. “Our projects focus on how we can assist our clients to help save time and make their work easier. For instance, we are looking into introducing a group reservation management tool, which will be an enormous added value for meeting planners and will soon go into pilot phase in some of our properties.”

Apart from tech innovations, Kempinski is also increasing its focus on food and beverage for events. “Healthy, local food is becoming a must,” she noted. “Innovation in this area will also be one of our key strategies.”


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About the Author: Jena Tesse Fox

Jena Tesse Fox


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