By Lara Juker, Sales Executive at Gstaad Palace
Summer Season 2020 at the Gstaad Palace
Hello from the Gstaad Palace in Switzerland! We want to share a summary of our summer season 2020 with you. But before you continue reading, you must know that everyone is missing Switzerland’s #1 fans from North America, including our small boutique owners, our chefs, our barmen and barwomen… even the cows are missing taking selfies with you! In summary – we can’t wait to have you back in our lovely country.
Now, let us go back in time and share with you highlights from summer 2020 in Gstaad:
July – The Month We Didn’t Know What to Expect
We were very excited to open our doors on July 10 (three weeks later than originally planned)! Our Sales & Revenue teams calculated three different forecasts: one best-case scenario, one okayish-scenario and – obviously – “one we hoped we would never see” scenario.
To our wonderful surprise, the month of July was better than expected! Our occupancy was slightly higher, and revenue per room even increased a bit compared to last year. Not bad considering we’re almost the biggest 5-star hotel in the region with our 90 rooms and suites! One interesting note was that almost 63% of our guests were local Swiss residents. In anticipation of this, we became creative! For example, the very first open air cinema in Lauenen (15min away from Gstaad), was opened and brought a Hollywood feel to the Swiss Alps – it was a great success!
August – the month where we almost forgot Corona existed
For those who aren’t familiar with Gstaad and its seasonality, August is basically “festive” period of our summer season – and it totally lived up to its reputation. With a monthly average occupancy higher than 70% our operations were working long days, but always with the greatest smile and dedication to make every guest feel at home. We started off strong with our National Holiday celebration on the 1st of August. Who doesn’t like to sit outside in summer and enjoy some champagne whilst looking at fireworks?
We also saw more international travelers during this month, especially from the UK and France as some quarantines had been lifted in the meantime. Some days we almost forgot that “something” was different than the other years, yet you never left the house without your hand sanitizer and mask… safety first after all.
Towards the end of August we were very much looking forward to our very own “Gstaad Palace Challenge” – the most exclusive vintage vehicle rally in Switzerland organized every year by our own GM, Mr. Andrea Scherz. We finished the month with a bang and our operational hotel staff slowly saw some light at the end of the tunnel and was getting ready for one last week of opening.
September – short, but sweet
The weekdays of our last opening week were rather quiet and gave our operations some time to breathe. Kids were back to school and the village was getting calmer, too. However, for the last weekend of our summer season, we had an amazing event planned! If you are a fast, unique and (very!) expensive car enthusiast, you were in heaven. We co-hosted a weekend getaway event called the “Supercar Owners Circle” and had a parking lot full of dream cars right at the Hotel. The motto was “go big or go home” and we took it all the way home cheerfully closing the hotel with 100% occupany our last week!
For now we have already switched to “winter mode” and are in the middle of creating new and unique experiences and adventures for our guests. Of note, our health & safety concept will be even fancier than in summer! Winter always brings more “bling” to the understated Gstaad! We are fortunate to already have reservations on the books from around the globe, and we obviously can’t wait to welcome back all international travelers, especially our lovely Americans, Canadians, and Mexicans! We miss you terribly and are ready to welcome you back safely to the magical castle of Gstaad. In the meantime take care of yourselves and see you hopefully very soon.