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Leonardo Hotels Central Europe: Overcoming the corona crisis with a strong team spirit

Hotels reopening at many locations throughout Europe; Against the crisis – hotel portfolio expansion in 2020. 

BERLIN – Many hard and dramatic weeks lie behind Leonardo Hotels. The hotel business had to be suddenly shut down with the exception of just a few open hotels and staff had to be put on short-time work. The management was in crisis mode. Yoram Biton, Managing Director of Leonardo Hotels Central Europe: “Despite initial great uncertainty, it was clear to us at the start of Covid-19 that the situation is very serious and that quick action is required. From then on, we had to assess the current situation in daily video conferences and make new decisions based on that. We started accelerated discussions with our banks, partners, investors, owners and suppliers in order to find solutions together. We are very grateful for the support and understanding we have experienced with regard to this. The safety of our employees always takes top priority in all our decision-making. Our aim was always to get them through this time while reducing the enormous costs as far as possible. We have so far succeeded in doing this and I hope that we will overcome this exceptional situation. The crisis has shown me one thing very clearly and I am proud of how well we stick together as a team and what we can do together.”

Hotels opening in many locations throughout Europe 
Since the beginning of May, Leonardo Hotels have reopened their hotels at numerous locations across Germany and Europe. Yoram Biton’s assessment: “Several hotels at key locations were open to our guests during the shutdown. Now we are delighted that we are able to gradually start up our hotel business from week to week because we missed our guests very much and they missed us. In addition to the extensive protection and hygiene measures that have been put in place, we are constantly reassessing the current situation, which activity is becoming discernible on the market and how our corporate customers and partners are behaving. Furthermore, we cannot disregard the decisions being taken by the governments of the individual European countries in which we are represented. The re-openings are also combined with being able, albeit slowly and gradually, to get our staff back out of short-time work.”

Establishment of a social fund to financially support staff
Putting staff on short-time working was the most difficult decision the company has ever made. In order to provide support here, Leonardo Hotels Central Europe have set up a social fund for special exceptional situations. The fund is supported by private seed capital from David Fattal, CEO of the Fattal Hotel Group and founder of Leonardo Hotels, and by staff donations. The first applications have already been processed: “The fund is intended to show our staff that we are there for them in emergency situations, in the long term and beyond the crisis. Many of them are able to finance their current living costs for a few months, even during the short-time work phase, but if, for example, the washing machine breaks down or their kids need to buy something at school, or if a there’s a special medical expense, then their finances are often insufficient. This is where we would like to help and provide support”, explains Anke Maas, Human Resources Director Leonardo Hotels Central Europe.

On course for further growth in 2020
Despite all the ongoing challenges, Leonardo Hotels will add more hotels to its portfolio this year. Leonardo Zurich Airport opened a few days before the outbreak of the pandemic and then had to be closed immediately. The hotel will reopen its doors as soon as flight operations have stabilised. Leonardo Verona in Italy will be integrated into the Leonardo brand family following extensive renovation work with a new look & feel concept in July/August 2020. From August, it will be possible to stay at Leonardo Dortmund at a central city location. A special highlight will be the opening of the NYX Hotel Warsaw in September. Guests can expect an exciting lifestyle interior with a high coolness factor and integrated local street art. A visit to the bar on the rooftop terrace on the 20th floor looking out on to the popular metropolis of Warsaw will also be worthwhile – even at a minimum distance.

Vicky Karantzavelou
Co-Founder & Chief Editor - TravelDailyNews Media Network | Website

Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales.

She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.