A WORD WITH CLEMENS WESTREICHER
How come that you are advising family businesses?
I am a descendant from a family that is in the hospitality industry for four generations. I grew up in a family who owns and runs a hotel. However, sometimes I have the impression that it is the other way round, i.e. the hotel owns and runs a family. As by now I know that this situation is very typically for family businesses. Each time again I am very motivated if I can raise the awareness of this interweaving of family and business respectively business and family within the families I advise on succession. To be in the position to handle this interweaving of family and business in day-to-day business improves the atmosphere within the family as well as within the business. And a good atmosphere is the secret for successful family businesses.
What personal experiences have influenced you during the succession in your family’s business?
The succession in our businesses was very demanding for all of us, be it the family or be it the hotel. With be benefit of hindsight on the one hand and due to my experiences as a consultant on succession on the other hand I consider one thing to be crucial: As you are personally affected by the succession you are not in the position to manage the succession process alone. The assistance of a person outside the family helps you very much to ensure the continuity of the family business. Such a consultant ensures the view of the whole, he creates transparency and alone his presence usually paves the way for a solution-oriented culture.
What challenges do you see within the tourism industry? What solutions are possible?
In the near future I see two major challenges. The tourism is very concentrated to a few destinations. In most regions, however, both the number of beds and the number of guest nights are decreasing. For some regions, the question arises for viable alternatives to tourism. Integrated solutions have to be found within regional policy. At the business level, I see that too little cash flow is generated in order to invest. However, investment and innovation are needed to strengthen the competitiveness. Therefore, solutions are to be found to increase the profitability and to reduce the investment costs. A clear positioning of businesses and inter-company cooperation as well as simplification of building codes are approaches to consider. Furthermore the business environment has to be adapted in such a way that structural change can take place in an orderly manner. Ultimately, it comes to the question of the best use of the property in order to find an attractive solution for the family, the hotel and the destination.
Clemens Westreicher knows the tourism industry as a hotel owner, as a manager and as a consultant
- Born in 1968
- Working languages: German and English
- Master’s degree in business administration from the WU Vienna University of Economics and Business, majoring in tourism and leisure industry, and UCF University of Central Florida
- Certified court expert for the hospitality industry
- Certified advisor in SME transfer
- Further education and training, e.g. in change management
- Manager of family-owned ****Hotel Furgler, Serfaus, Austria, until successful succession arrangement within the family
- Consultant to the tourism industry for GFB-Prodinger in Zell am See, Austria
- Financial analyst and corporate development for Winterthur Insurances, Winterthur, Switzerland
- Senior Consultant and Project Manager for small and medium sized enterprises as well as public and semi-public institutions for BHP – Hanser und Partner, Zurich, Switzerland
- Managing Director of Vamed Vitality Word, a management company of eight thermal & wellness resorts throughout Austria, e.g. Aqua Dome, St Martin’s, Vienna, Austria
- Founder and owner of WESTREICHER CONSULTING, a consultancy to family-owned and family-run small and medium sized enterprises with focus on succession and strategy, Vienna, Austria