Tina Neudegger runs the hotel Nesslerhof in Grossarl (Salzburg) together with her husband Hermann. She is a mom of three daughters. Today Tina is preparing the Lillet Cocktail Summer Herbs for us and afterwards we sit together and learn a little more about her and her family’s approach to the hotel industry.
What is so special about your hotel?
Well, it is true that in Austria there are almost only first-class hotels, a fact that I actually like, because all of us have to give their best to play in the top league. It is important to differentiate yourself in some way to attract interest or to be remembered. We call ourselves “Guest Whispers” because we respond to our guests, listen to them and try to fulfill their small, individual wishes. The standard – clean rooms, good food, delicious wines – is something that nobody really talks about because it is simply expected in our category. Yet, the little things that are not necessarily in the manual, they are the ones that the guests will remember positively and that will make their vacation special. We, as owners, and the entire staff must live by those values.
Has the hotel business always been your dream job?
I learned my trade at Pfefferschiff (Salzburg) in a top-quality restaurant – so it was kind of obvious. My dream was to open a restaurant right in the city of Salzburg but then I met my husband and as life goes, I ended up somewhere else. In 2001, right on my 21st birthday, we bought a bed and breakfast. That was my first step as an entrepreneur. Six years later, my parents-in-law informed us that we could take over this house and hence build up our own business. In 2011 we opened the hotel Nesslerhof.
How do you juggle such a business with three children and manage being a hotelier and a mother?
This is what I ask myself every day (laughs). My girls are now 13, 10 and 7 and they are autonomous, sporty and very active. Still, they need me intensively, especially when it comes to going with them to trainings or sports competitions. Of course, everything is based on perfect organization, because it does not work without a network that you can rely on. I am grateful that both my mother and my mother-in-law do support me with the kids. As my daughters grow up in a hotel there are of course also conveniences that make life easier for all of us. In our home nobody has to starve – that is for sure (laughs).
Is there something like privacy?
I find it very important that a woman concedes a private life, no matter how many children or what job she has. We achieve a lot and we also need time for ourselves. Every now and then, I enjoy a girls’ evening with my friends, where we have fun and other topics than just the kids or the job. I also do a lot of sports, which I can perfectly combine with my children. Then there is the time I spend alone with my husband, because this is important, too.
How do you recharge your batteries?
I love to be in the mountains because I enjoy having a view. In Salzburg we live in valleys and I regularly need a higher perspective to feel my energy and let my thoughts flow. Then I fight my way up to the peak and I feel invincible. Later, I transfer this positive feeling to everything I have to deal with in everyday life.
Do you want your three daughters to be active in the family business one day?
They are already involved a bit anyway and I hope that one day at least one will wish to run the business. The good thing is that the girls feel very comfortable in the hotel and appreciate what we have built up. I do not like that people tend to shed a bad light on the tourist industry because there are also many advantages: For example, in the afternoon I usually have a long break and can do something with my children. Of course we need to work in the evenings and on the weekend, but that also varies depending on the season. I think that I can set a good example for my daughters how to handle such a job, without having to cut back on my family or my private life.
Where do you get ideas for your concept and the interior design of your hotel? What inspires you personally?
Basically I do not try to copy other hotels, because it would not work and would be at the expense of authenticity. I provide many ideas myself and implement them together with young, creative architects. I think it’s important to work with young, innovative minds who want to make a difference. We as hoteliers, who know what works in practice, must be open to new ideas and paths. This is the only way to create original concepts that are interesting for discerning guests.
Do you have a personal dream hotel?
If I needed a break, I would always travel to different places. I think we require diverse things like the sun, snow, sea, cities or mountains depending on the phase we are in. Right now, for example, I am interested in Iceland, but actually I want to see the whole world. Nevertheless, I love the Austrian hotel industry and I know that you do not have to head far to experience beautiful things. The Austrian standard, and also the South Tyrolian, is unique and almost out of reach worldwide. We should always keep that in mind and appreciate it.
A cooperation with Lifestylehotels and Lillet.