From promotion jobs in Berlin to Head of PR and Brand Communications at Vienna House. Sound far-fetched? You bet! Find out why – and above all how – Betina Welter came to Vienna in today’s Face to Face Interview…
1. So tell us: Where did your career begin? Did you, like most people, get your start in tourism at a young age?
Not at all! I grew up mainly in Karlsruhe, near the border to Alsace. While studying contemporary German literature and journalism in Berlin, I helped finance my student life in the big city with promotion jobs. I had some exhausting but also very exciting experiences: the Berlin Wall had fallen – and I’m a person who knows how to enjoy life [grins].
2. And then? Where did you get your start professionally?
At some point, my father said “enough” and I had to bring my time as a student to a quick end. Somehow I ended up at an insurance company as head of corporate communications, where my achievements in eleven years included setting up the internal communications and PR. This was followed by a brief “side trip” at an exciting start-up company in the financial services sector as head of communications. I don’t think I have to explain what happened when the economic crisis hit Europe…
3. You’re really keeping us in suspense! How did you finally manage the jump into tourism?
I guess I have my sister to thank for that, who was already working for my future boss Rupert Simoner in St. Moritz in Switzerland. She always thought that I would fit in well in the hotel business and so she gave me a little nudge – and turns out she was right! And so I packed my bags and started as PR Manager at the Kempinski Grand Hotel des Bains in Switzerland. A short time later I became PR Director and then Area Director Public Relations for the Kempinski hotels in St. Moritz, Tyrol and Vienna. It was an unbelievably exciting and fascinating time! Shortly after Mr. Simoner was chosen CEO of Vienna House, I responded to his call to come to Vienna as Head of PR and Brand Communications.
4. That sounds like a 24/7 job. What do you do in your free time to turn off and catch your breath?
My friends are really important to me and give me strength. There’s nothing finer than going shopping at the market and then cooking together, enjoying a glass of wine and just chatting. I also love the opera… but only the tragic ones – I hate a happy end [laughs].
5. What about travel? Have you got any travel tips for our readers?
I got to like the Swiss Alps for skiing and in the summer too, but Berlin remains the centre of my life. And if you can’t find me there, then the North Sea and the island of Sylt would be a good place to start looking. I’m more of a winter person, but I would also like to see Tokyo, Delhi and Mumbai. These places are on my “to do” list.
6. And which Vienna House destinations would you recommend?
That’s a tough one. There are so many. Personally, I love the warmth and hospitality of the people in the Czech Republic and Poland in general, but also at our German properties. If I had to name a specific hotel, our andel’s by Vienna House Lodz is an absolute must-see. For myself I’ve got to say that if a hotel doesn’t offer the right amount of hospitality and warmth, I won’t be coming back. A very positive example in this regard is offered by our colleagues at the Vienna House Dream Castle Paris and Vienna House Magic Circus Paris hotels – that’s somewhere I really must stop by soon.
Thank you for the interview!