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Breaking Travel News interview: Melanie Ehlert, director of sales and marketing, Gstaad Palace

Breaking Travel News interview: Melanie Ehlert, director of sales and marketing, Gstaad Palace

Built in 1913, the Gstaad Palace has earned an unrivalled reputation for discreet, refined hospitality over the years. Set on a hill overlooking the beautiful town of Gstaad, the resort offers breath-taking views of the majestic Swiss Alps.

The 104 tastefully decorated rooms include 19 Junior Suites and a sophisticated three-bedroom Penthouse Suite. Other features include a spa with an indoor and an outdoor pool, a squash court and four outdoor tennis courts. A wide variety of activities such as golf, heli-skiing, hot-air ballooning and many more are offered in close distance to the hotel.

Hospitality professional Melanie Ehlert has just taken up her new role as director of sales & marketing at the luxurious family-owned and run Gstaad Palace in Switzerland. Just two weeks after her appointment, Breaking Travel News sits down with Melanie to find out how she is finding the new post.

Breaking Travel News: When did your new role as director of sales & marketing officially begin?

Melanie Ehlert: I started at the Gstaad Palace July 15th.

The elegant double deluxe room at Gstaad Palace

BTN: What do you bring to the role?

ME: I have 10 years of experience within Marketing & Sales in the Luxury Hotel Industry. Previously I worked for well know names like Small Luxury Hotels of the World, Art Deco Hotel Montana, Capital Hotels London and most recently Morgans Hotel Group.

BTN: What will be your key priorities in the new role?

ME: To embrace new markets and with the help of my colleagues and our Director Andrea Scherz to equally continue to satisfy the high level of expectations our existing guests have when coming to the Gstaad Palace. The hotel is family owned and run, which is very rare and special these days.

This can positively felt within the whole hotel as guests experience a very warm and personal way of hospitality. We have a high number of return guests each year which is proof that this personal approach to deal with our guests works. Still we are adapting to changing needs and trends of travellers to make sure that the next generation will still return to the Gstaad Palace in great numbers.

BTN: Which new destinations will you be looking to tap into in coming months? How will you do this?

ME: Via PR and personal visits we are working on new markets such as the Americas, India and China.

BTN: Which types of travellers are you hoping to reach?

ME: Given where we are our main client base comes from the leisure side. We do have guests across various generations including families.

New lounge palace spa at Gstaad Palace

BTN: What are the greatest challenges for marketing to new destinations?

ME: Language barriers and cultural differences demand that you study your markets in detail before you invest in it.

BTN: What new trends are you noticing among travellers?

ME: Family travel and sustainable tourism are still an increasing trend. Guests want to connect with the area and be active.
BTN: To what extent is the online travel space a priority for you? What are you doing in this area?

Online travel cannot of course not be ignored these days. We have a very successful Facebook Page and are also active on other social media platform such as twitter and weibo.

BTN: What differentiates Gstaad Palace from other properties in the Switzerland?

ME: We are a family run hotel which reflects in the way we interact with our clients. At the Gstaad Palace you emerge in luxury surroundings but you can still be yourself and relax. This is what our guests love and appreciate.

The Palace is nestled on a hill with unrivalled view on Gstaad and the surrounding mountains. The hotel facilities like our spa, tennis courts, inside and outside pools and many more allow our guests to stay onsite all day if they want – or of course venture out to enjoy some of the many activities at hand in and around Gstaad.

Our concierge team is a wealth of knowledge and will find something for every taste. And last but not least hardly any other hotel could say it also has its own private and historic mountain hut guests can escape to, either for a social lunch, a romantic dinner or even an overnight stay.