YOUR HOSTS INTRODUCE THEMSELVES
THE Walchhofer FAMILY
Once a Walchhofer, always a Walchhofer. If you take a look at the 6 siblings and where they are today, one thing quickly becomes clear. They are firmly anchored in their roots. They have discovered their destinies in farming, tourism and skiing, bringing together the three passions of their father Rupert. Though each in his or her own way, authentically themselves. Just as their parents before them. And every sign pointing to the next generation taking the precise same path.
A PROFESSION FOR LIFE
Rupert Sr. & Maria
When Rupert Sr. and Maria stroll through the Zauchenseehof today, they occasionally encounter familiar faces from former times when this business was still in its infancy. Originally opening as a youth hostel back in the winter of 1968, it is primarily group leaders and teachers from back then who now return here to spend their holidays. Clear acknowledgement of the role played by this hotel and the village of Zauchensee – at a small valley head, in which his father placed his trust 50 years ago. By making road improvements to the Zauchenseestrasse and building the first ski lift, he laid the foundation stone and set developments in motion that continue unabated to this very day.
One becomes three
Farmer, restaurant owner or skier – for Rupert Sr., the decision wasn’t hard. In summer he operated his farm on the Kuchlberg, in winter he ran the hotel in Zauchensee and, as an avid ski racer, he soon built up his ski school in town on the side. “For me, that was a childhood dream come true.” As is so often the case, here, too, a strong woman kept things running in the background. Involved in the business from the very beginning, it was Maria who ensured cohesion at the Zauchenseehof. “We want our employees to feel like this is home.” As part of the extended family, they were also involved in all of their activities. And even to this day, many of those employees remain good friends. Just one of the many reasons why many decided to stay, and in some cases represent the second generation of their own family working for the Walchhofers. “You get back so much in return, whenever employees work as if it were their own business.” The family grew right along with the hotel. 6 children within less than 6 years filled the Zauchenseehof with even more life. Maria, always with an open ear for everybody’s concerns, was the consummate mother figure, without ever neglecting the business, also embracing the grandkids with open arms and complete joy a little later when they came along. “I often got them all together and took them on trips. For me, that was simply marvelous.” Then as now.
Despite all the changes over the past half-century, the way Rupert Sr. treats his guests hasn’t changed in the slightest. He inherited his approach to tourism from his father. As the owner of a small transportation company that brought tourers up the tricky roads leading to Zauchensee, his father, Peter Walchhofer Sr., valued close contact with his guests. Ultimately, it is all about being there for them and not pretending to be anything you’re not. “Today, it’s only bookings that we do over the Internet.” And there are even exceptions to that. Time and again, guests already go ahead and reserve their rooms for next year’s stay when they check out. Today, Rupert Sr. is quite happy to have taken a step back from daily business matters. With a clear conscience, since two of his sons are hoteliers, one a farmer, while the fourth runs the ski school. Simply good fortune? “Maria saw to it that the work here always remained interesting for the kids.” That said, the different skills and passions of their children quickly became apparent. The two of them now spend their retirement on the Kuchlberg, where it all began. Naturally, looking out over Zauchensee. Nowadays, their job is to stay healthy and be there for the family. “I am the grandfather after all.” Also in the role of mentor. “As for my wife, she already has her hands full with me.” In fact, in 2018 the two of them didn’t only mark the 50-year anniversary of their tourism businesses, they also celebrated their golden wedding anniversary.
The Insider & The Out-of-the-Box Thinker
Rupert & Michael
Right after tourism school, Rupert Walchhofer came straight back to Zauchensee, where he got his first foothold in the profession at his parents’ business. He prefers to work in the background, where he really rolls up his sleeves. As a passionate craftsman, he oversees remodeling projects, is right there whenever there’s a glitch, and keeps a close eye on purchasing – especially with a view to the right quality. He, together with his family, is the host at the Zauchenseehof, which means he is always in close touch with his guests.
Even during his career as a professional ski racer, Michael Walchhofer and his family were already running the Zauchensee Zentral. The transition away from his skiing career wasn’t easy, not least because his daily routine was no longer strictly regimented. Though his ultimate path into tourism was always clear in his mind. That said, he certainly didn’t expect it to become such a passion of his. Today, he is responsible for external communications on behalf of all 3 hotels, as well as with you, the guest, naturally!
Barbara & Ingrid
Even after it has already been built, a nest needs to be maintained so that the fledglings have somewhere to return. The two strong women behind the scenes both prefer to fly “under the radar”, managing a busy schedule that anyone would be proud of. Which includes assigning staff and keeping everybody happy, looking after guests and raising their own children. “Keeping all of those balls in the air can be a real challenge at times.” But it’s also incredibly rewarding. And we have to say, the inner cohesion you encounter here is due, in the main, to their feminine intuition. For their families, their employees and their guests.
A HOME, WHERE OTHERS SPEND THEIR HOLIDAYS
The Next Generation
For them, living at the hotel is their daily routine. But it’s also a luxury. Their parents always there when they need them, their own cook in-house and a family that’s far bigger than it might appear at first sight. Cousins grow up right next to each other like brothers and sisters, employees and guests become stand-in uncles and aunts; in many cases, they have known the children of today’s hosts since they were born. As for their plans for the future, each child has their own more-or-less concrete ideas. One things is definitely for certain: the next generation of the Walchhofer tourism businesses is already in the starting blocks.
Many of them have watched me grow up
and have since become good friends."
Hannah (18) is setting her sights on a career in tourism
It is clear that I’m going to stay here.
If I could, I’d jump right in."
Stefanie (19) was born to be a host
And then go into tourism, as a receptionist."
Theresa (15) is an ace skier and eager
to make a personal mark on the ski World Cup
We see the hotel from a whole different
perspective than the guests."
Patrick (15) loves to cook. And he’s good at it!
Especially with the piste right outside our front door.
There’s nothing more wonderful
than getting on skis for the first time every winter."
Mathias (15) is still looking
like Ronaldo, I’ve known that since kindergarten.
After that, I’ll be happy to get into tourism."
Andreas (12) is a soccer player heart and soul
The grandkids love nothing more than to hear stories about their grandfather. It was back then that the foundation was laid for this hotel. For the world the youngsters were fortunate to grow up in, for their home. Zauchensee has grown year by year. With the addition of new hotels that expand the opportunities, modern ski lifts that turn the area into a winter hotspot. This incredibly journey still has a long way to go. Won’t you accompany us – today’s and tomorrow’s hosts – on part of that journey?