Five-star Swiss resort set to tackle challenging second half-year with ongoing development plansGrand Resort Bad Ragaz, Europe’s leading wellbeing and medical health resort, posted turnover growth of 5% in the first half of 2016. With a new club house planned for the Golf Club Bad Ragaz, the second half of the year will be a period of ongoing development. In November, a new General Manager will take over the management of the Grand Hotels at Europe’s Leading Wellbeing & Medical Health Resort.
While the situation eased slightly for Swiss tourism in the first half of the year following the euro shock, the number of overnight stays from Europe and Russia continued to fall, and the Grand Resort Bad Ragaz took an active approach to addressing this situation. “The training camp for the Russian national team in preparation for Euro 2016 is just one example of our efforts in the Eastern European market. At the same time, our marketing activities at home in Switzerland and in our secondary markets also started to bear fruit,” comments Peter P. Tschirky, Chairman of the Executive Board of the five-star resort in Eastern Switzerland. These efforts led to an increase in the number of guests from Switzerland, North, Central and South America, and Arab countries. Including the Clinic Bad Ragaz, the resort was thus able to achieve a slight increase in the number of overnight stays.
In addition to the two Grand Hotels – the Quellenhof & Spa Suites and the Hof Ragaz – the Grand Resort Bad Ragaz also comprises the Medical Health Centre Bad Ragaz, the Clinic Bad Ragaz, the Golf Club Bad Ragaz and Golf Club Heidiland golf courses, the Tamina Therme thermal spa and the Casino Bad Ragaz. With the purchase of Hotel Schloss Wartenstein at the beginning of the financial year, the Grand Resort Bad Ragaz made an investment into the future and reinforced its commitment to tourism in the region. The resulting new business area, the ongoing expansion of online platforms and reservation options, and turnover in the IGNIV by Andreas Caminada restaurant and the Casino generated a turnover increase of around 5% to CHF 55.8 million compared to the previous year.
Successful ongoing developments
The resort was able to reinforce its position as the leading wellbeing & medical health resort in Europe in the first half of the year. Awards such as Resort Spa of the Year: Western Europe & Scandinavia (World Spa & Wellness Awards 2016), Medical Master (Tatler magazine, UK, Spa Awards 2016) and Switzerland’s Best Wellness Hotel from two different publications (SonntagsZeitung and Connoisseur Circle 2016) are helping to enhance international awareness of the health resort.
Thanks to the football training camp, the Tour de Suisse preparations by Team Roth and the Swiss Olympic Medical Centre, momentum at the health resort was strongly influenced by sporting activities in the first half of the year. “Our five-star establishment sees itself not only as the ideal location for nurturing top sporting performance, however. We take a diverse approach to bringing together generations, cultures and interests,” says Tschirky. With this aim in mind, the company invested over 13,500 hours of training in employee awareness and development in the first half-year, helping the resort to set itself apart from the competition with its comprehensive service.
In these economically challenging times, the resort has done well to focus on marketing events that are not subject to economic trends, and on enhancing its culinary offering. In addition to functional business & events catering based on individual needs, these efforts are also apparent in the seven restaurants at the resort, with the new gourmet experience IGNIV from Michelin-starred chef Andreas Caminada having made a significant contribution to the increase in turnover, for example. The new restaurant brand launched by the Graubünden chef with three Michelin stars and 19 GaultMillau points opened its first location in the former Äbtestube on 14th December last year.
In the area of medical services, Dr Beat Villiger MD handed over the reins at the Medical Health Centre and the “Clinic Bad Ragaz – The Finest Art of Rehabilitation” to Professor Beat A. Michel MD in March. The appointment of the former director of the Department of Rheumatology and the Institute for Physical Medicine at the University Hospital Zurich has enabled the interdisciplinary Centre and Clinic to strengthen their competence in both outpatient and inpatient rehabilitation in Bad Ragaz. Dr Brigitte Bollinger MD replaced Dr Claudia Steiner MD in the field of dermatology and, in the spring, the renowned dermatologist and specialist in anti-aging and hair diseases opened a Laser Centre equipped with state-of-the-art lasers.
Gains for the Tamina Therme & the Casino
Alongside the resort division (Grand Hotels, 36.5° Wellbeing & Thermal Spa, Medical Health Centre, Clinic Bad Ragaz and Golf & Sports), the Tamina Therme and the Casino Bad Ragaz, both of which form part of the group, were also able to increase their turnover. The continued enhancement of the thermal water and sauna facilities, as well as the massage and beauty offering, is helping to reinforce the position of the Tamina Therme – above and beyond the concept of the thermal spa – as a holistic wellbeing oasis for the resort and the region. These developments have resulted in a 4% increase in turnover for wellbeing treatments and 16% in sauna visits, as well as higher turnover for the Tamina Therme overall.
During the same period, the Casino Bad Ragaz benefited from the international guests who were keen to include a visit to the Casino in their stay at the Grand Hotel. In addition to this, an increase in the number of prize draws held during events in the region also proved to be an effective marketing activity. In combination with extended opening hours, the Casino was thus able to increase its turnover by around 10% to CHF 12.1 million.
Second half-year brings new development work & personnel changes The second half of the year got off to a positive start with the staging of the 20th Swiss Seniors Open. Just a few days later in mid-July, professional golfer Sergio Garcia invited stars of the European and PGA Tours – including British Open winner Henrik Stenson – for a charity tournament at the Grand Resort Bad Ragaz, helping the resort to ensure continued international media presence.
In view of the geopolitical situation and the UK’s Brexit decision, however, it will be difficult to follow on from the strong second half-year of the previous year. The resort is continuing to respond to the renewed turbulence on the financial markets with a careful balance of cost pressure and guest experience. Marco R. Zanolari, a hotelier originally from Chur with experience in international luxury hotels who has most recently worked for the Four Seasons hotel chain, will take over from Thomas Bechtold as General Manager of the Grand Hotels on 1st November.
Architectural work in the second half of the year will be dominated by the construction of a new club house for the Golf Club Bad Ragaz from 20th September 2016. By 30th April 2017, the existing building will have been replaced with a modern club house that will also offer additional space for events at the Grand Resort Bad Ragaz in the winter months.
Nightly rates at Grand Resort Bad Ragaz start from CHF 245 /£189* per person sharing a double room. Rates include breakfast, welcome aperitif, use of the 36.5° Wellbeing & Thermal Spa area and Tamina Therme, fresh fruit and Ragaz water each day and daily fitness and relaxation lessons as well as VAT.
*Prices in Pound Sterling are according to today’s exchange rate.