There are no rules in the world of luxury except that everything goes. The people who work with this clientele don’t sell a mere product, but provide an experience and a certain identity
by Dardis McNamee & Janima Nam
Director of Sales, 5* Superior Palais Coburg Residenz
Eva Zima was lucky enough to find her calling at an early age. As an only child traveling with her parents, she often found herself hanging out behind the reception desks of hotels, welcoming guests. “I guess I just like making people happy,” she speculated.
The 33-year-old who has been working in the Viennese hospitality industry for the last 10 years, recently reached new heights by becoming the sales director of the Palais Coburg. This magnificent former palace was built as a private residence from 1840 to 1845 for the Sachsen-Coburg and Gotha aristocratic dynasty, and still retains many of its original features. Its guests enjoy spacious, two-story suites that feel like a “home away from home.”
Needless to say, Palais Coburg ranks as a five-star hotel, which means it has all of the usual conveniences like 24-hour room service and concierge. But Austrian five-star hotels are also required to maintain other little treats, such as ensuring guests do not have to touch entrance doors, hence a doorman or automated doors. And they must maintain a certain ratio of staff to suites, which in the Coburg’s case is roughly three workers for each of the 34 suites.
For Zima, this pampered experience should not only be for the international crowd, although that is of course the main clientele. One of her goals is to also get the Viennese to take advantage of this “hidden gem within the city,” which also features several restaurants and a world-class wine cellar. “People living here can sometimes be a bit inhibited, but I say to them, dare to come inside, have a cup of coffee or glass of wine, and enjoy the amazing atmosphere of this place! You don’t always have to go to the same old typical Viennese coffeehouse.”
The most important part of luxury is having the space and time for yourself; when the staff anticipates your needs so you don’t have to waste your time thinking about them.