May 21, 2024

Baur Au Lac’s Updated Leadership And Vision For The Future

Baur au Lac is one of Zurich’s most prestigious and recognizable hotels, attracting guests from around the world to its waterside location since 1844. In its 179-year history, Baur au Lac has very much been a family business, owned and managed by the Baur-Kracht family, and this year marks a new chapter in the hotel’s leadership. Marguita Kracht joins her father at the helm of the property, as a seventh generation owner of the heralded hotel ushering in new ideas about sustainability and technology.

On top of the new leadership, Baur au Lac has also seen a slew of renovations to the property including 20 room updates and a new entrance of the hotel. Even if you’ve previously stayed at Baur au Lac there are many new things to experience; read on as we speak with Marguita Kracht about what’s new at Baur Lac.

You recently joined your father as a seventh-generation family member at Baur au Lac. What’s been your approach to the property and what accomplishments are you happiest about thus far?

Marguita Kracht: I joined the family business and am overseeing the marketing of the brand on a strategic level. This encompasses everything from strategic marketing and communications to hotel product and programming, including room renovations, food and beverage concepts and more. All of which are a unique expression of our independent, family-owned hotel and what our long-standing guests appreciate most about us.

Over the course of the past year and a half, we’ve gone through a rebranding and developed a new and refreshed brand identity, which pays homage to our history and heritage while representing the Baur au Lac today and where we see ourselves in the future.

We immersed ourselves in over 179-years of hotel history; drawing inspiration from our archives, from old logos and historical postcards through to menu cards and brochures. Gradually, our new brand vision and identity began to emerge. Our lion, Zürich’s heraldic animal that has adorned the hotel logo for over 100 years has been given a polished new look. We also redesigned the letters in our logo in a nod to the original Baur au Lac signage and we have refreshed our color palette to represent the colors of our unique location along the lake of Zürich with the backdrop of the Swiss Alps.

How do you and your father complement each other when it comes to leading Baur au Lac?

We both have a passion for hospitality, although approach it from a very different perspective due to coming from different generations and experiencing travel in a different way. We find that our different experiences and outlook complement the other, sharing a common vision on the future of Baur au Lac.

My father’s work experience prior to joining the family business was more focused on operations, versus my own which was more marketing-led. I believe that today these skillsets complement each other when thinking about the guest experience and how we market it, particularly where guest expectations have changed over the years. Geographically, both of us gained work experience overseas, and from this, we share a common internationally-oriented mindset. Fortunately, when it comes to renovations, we also share a similar taste.

Can you tell me more about your recent renovations and how guests can experience a new side of Baur au Lac?

Last fall we unveiled our renovated forecourt, entrance and reception area, with refurbished wooden paneling, restored tapestries, new marble floors and restored stucco elements. It was an intricately crafted journey involving numerous artisans from local workshops to refresh and restore some of the iconic design features that guests experience on arrival at the Baur au Lac with a fresh and more upscale look, without losing the typical character of our lobby. We have also renovated 20 rooms and suites this spring with a nod to Art Deco and Louis XVI inspired interiors combined with contemporary elements and a touch of glamour.

How do you plan to innovate Baur au Lac from a digital and sustainability perspective?

For us it’s always been about finding the right balance of digital integration. For example, during our lobby renovations, we decided to maintain physical room keys as it is always an opportunity and touchpoint to keep in close contact with our guests. Nevertheless, we’ve endeavored to ensure that the physical key itself is as technologically advanced as it can be. Likewise, there are opportunities to use digital solutions, such as a digital check-in process to enhance the guest experience by minimizing some of the more drawn-out administrative aspects and thereby being able to focus on a warm and welcoming guest arrival.

We are fully committed to innovation and taking meaningful actions. As we embark on our journey towards a sustainable tomorrow, we have implemented several initiatives to make a positive impact. For example, we prioritize the use of natural power, predominantly sourced from Switzerland’s wind, water, and sunlight, to minimize our carbon footprint and reduce reliance on non-renewable energy sources. Through various projects such as our heating and cooling systems, which utilize water from Lake Zurich, we were able to reduce by 48.5 percent in CO2 emissions. Our efforts extend through the entire hotel; from waste management to energy efficiency to our own beehives in our garden, we work diligently in multiple areas to contribute to a more sustainable tomorrow. While we acknowledge that we are on a continuous journey towards sustainability, we remain dedicated to finding innovative solutions while upholding our exceptional standards. [MV1] [KM2] [MV3]

What are some of your fondest memories of Baur au Lac?

As a child, I would accompany my father to the hotel and spend hours with our switchboard watching them connect calls. Hearing guests calling in from all over the world, speaking different languages, was always a highlight. Sometimes, depending who was on shift, they would let me connect some of the calls coming through – hopefully this did not lead to too many dropped calls!

From your perspective, what’s the best way to spend a day at Baur au Lac?

A great day should start with our wonderful breakfast spread on our restaurant terrace with views of our landscaped park and the Swiss mountains in the distance. As we are a stone’s throw from the Bahnhofstrasse, the main shopping mile, there are many boutiques and restaurants to visit during the morning and afternoons. For those that would prefer an outdoor activity; an afternoon swim, delicious lunch or romantic dinner aboard our new hotel ‘Tugenia’ boat is a unique way to experience Lake Zürich. Alternatively, a jog along the lake through unspoiled nature is a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the sunset.

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