Gstaad Palace: Digitalization creating an “absolutely new ball game” Gstaad Palace: Digitalization creating an “absolutely new ball game” Gstaad Palace: Digitalization creating an “absolutely new ball game”
Digitalization is disrupting the hospitality sector. Not only have the options for overnight stays exploded, but hotels increasingly have to focus on managing their online reputation. In part two of our Newsmaker interview with Andrea Scherz, the owner and managing director of the Gstaad Palace hotel speaks candidly about the challenges of maintaining a "never say no" guest satisfaction policy and how his five-star property strikes a balance between luxury and sustainability.
Ana Maria Montero
Lavazza’s “small ambition” to stand up to Nestlé on its home turf
Lavazza wants to make a dent in Switzerland’s coffee market, which is dominated by the likes of Swiss food giant Nestlé. But vice chairman Giuseppe Lavazza is undeterred by the task at hand, hoping to play on the Italian company’s long history and idea of quality. “There’s always more to taste,” he says teasingly.
Ana Maria Montero
Lavazza: We’re on track for 2 billion euros in annual revenue by 2021
When Lavazza restructured in 2010, the Italian coffee giant eventually doubled, according to vice chairman Guiseppe Lavazza. And thanks to the acquisition of Mars Drinks in 2018, he says the company is now well on track to achieve its goal of 2 billion euros in annual revenue by the year 2021. At last week’s Zermatt Summit, Lavazza says his brand is adjusting to Switzerland’s highly-competitive market.
Ana Maria Montero
India has no love for China’s Belt and Road Initiative
While many countries—including Switzerland—continue to show support for China’s Belt and Road Initiative, others remain skeptical. “India has a clear view that that’s not a good idea,” says Hero Enterprise Chairman Sunil Munjal, who explains that his country feels the initiative will benefit China alone.
Ana Maria Montero
Hero Enterprise’s Munjal: Tiger Woods “was worth taking the gamble on”
Sunil Kant Munjal, chairman of Hero Enterprise, acknowledges that bringing on Tiger Woods as brand ambassador when he was at a career low point in 2014 meant taking a huge risk but says it “was worth taking the gamble on”. Munjal weighs the financial impact of brand ambassadors and also discusses why he stepped down as managing director of Hero MotoCorp, one of the world’s largest motorcycle companies, in 2016.
Ana Maria Montero
How this urban visionary has been frustrated by a lack of funding
Alfredo Brillembourg, the co-founder of Urban-Think Tank, is on a mission to build more equitable cities so people from all income levels can flourish. But as the architect and academic looks back on his high-profile career in Switzerland and around the world, he says that a lack of funding is his biggest regret.
Ana Maria Montero
How the “Empower Shack” is helping South Africa’s poor
South Africa’s poorest are using a smart city approach to build their own so-called “Empower Shacks” on squatted land. Alfredo Brillembourg, co-founder of Urban-Think Tank, says the initiative with ETH Zurich means locals use data and modeling to create tailor-made social housing.
Ana Maria Montero
What should Switzerland’s smart cities of the future focus on?
Building smart cities shouldn’t just be about technology but also creating a diverse society where young people and immigrants can afford to live and work. That’s the view of Alfredo Brillembourg, the chair of architecture and urban design at ETH Zurich, who thinks diversity is key to a smarter future.
Ana Maria Montero
A utopia for all? Or just the rich? Smart cities debated on Digital Day
Smart cities should be about doing good, not just about making the lives of the world’s richest easier. Alfredo Brillembourg, chair of architecture and urban design at ETH Zurich, warns there’s a danger that only developed nations can afford to live in connected spaces.
Ana Maria Montero
IKEA’s Scarpaleggia: “Growth is one thing and greed is another”
Simona Scarpaleggia boils down the 2008 financial crisis to two very distinct issues: too much of a reliance on the financial economy as opposed to the real economy and decisions made out of greed. In part four of our interview, the IKEA Switzerland CEO also talks about making big decisions, hard lessons learned, and about what pushed her to write her new book, “The Other Half.”
Ana Maria Montero
IKEA Switzerland’s “Chief of Sleep”: gimmick or legitimate job?
IKEA Switzerland’s “Chief of Sleep” will travel to their stores around the world as an ambassador, looking to instill the importance of sleep to all employees. Outgoing CEO Simona Scarpaleggia says the new role is more than just a gimmick, though its creation has certainly garnered plenty of attention. In part three of our Newsmaker interview, she digs into the role’s significance and also imparts some wisdom for the incoming CEO.
Ana Maria Montero
IKEA Switzerland CEO: Limiting free movement of goods, people is “dangerous”
A political system that allows for goods and labor force to circulate freely over borders is a must, says Simona Scarpaleggia, IKEA Switzerland’s outgoing CEO, and one, she adds, that has allowed Europe to thrive. Switzerland not reaching a framework agreement with the EU would be especially detrimental now when all industries—and not just retail—are being disrupted by digitalization.
Ana Maria Montero
Simona Scarpaleggia on IKEA: “It’s not farewell forever”
After nearly a decade as CEO of IKEA Switzerland, Simona Scarpaleggia will be stepping down and taking on a new role within the company. In her first broadcast interview since the announcement, we dive into what’s behind the transition and look at the latest retail figures, which she claims are “extraordinary.”
Ana Maria Montero
Gstaad Palace hotel’s Andrea Scherz: “I started here too early”
In the last part of our interview with Gstaad Palace hotel owner Andrea Scherz, he gets personal, talking about his heroes—Swiss politicians in the period after World War II—his greatest fear, and what he would do differently if he could do it all over again.
Ana Maria Montero
Scherz: Happy “there might be a chance” to keep hotel in the family
The Gstaad Palace hotel has been in the Scherz family for three generations. In part three of our Newsmaker interview, Andrea Scherz admits that while he never really considered a different career, he can only hope that his son will follow in his footsteps. Meanwhile, HotellerieSuisse credits the hands-on, family management of Gstaad Palace as the key to its five-star success.

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