AHL Insider:

Claus Sendlinger

Founder of Design Hotels

  • WHAT DO YOU DO AND HOW DID YOU GET HERE? WAS HOSPITALITY SOMETHING YOU HAVE ALWAYS BEEN INTERESTED IN?

    I always wanted to be a professional footballer, but after that fell through I started my own travel and events agency in my twenties. I was traveling the world organising events with musicians, DJs, artists and other creative minds. To find hotels that really offered a creative surrounding for my clients was a major challenge back then. That was the point when I decided to bring hotels like this together under one umbrella...and so in 1993 Design Hotels™ was born.

  • WHAT INSPIRES YOU MOST?

    So many things. Lately, I’ve been reading Pep Guardiola’s biography. The evolution of his career and his coaching style is truly remarkable.

  • WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE HOTEL?

    This is always changing as I get to stay in so many unique properties. I love to be swept up by an experience - the creative expression and vision of a passionate hotelier or designer.

  • WHAT’S THE BIGGEST CHANGE YOU’VE SEEN IN THE INDUSTRY IN THE PAST FIVE TO SEVEN YEARS?

    The emergence of new business paradigms that are so different from traditional hospitality practices. Membership-based hospitality like the Soho House group or peer-to-peer apartment rentals like AirBnB have radically changed consumer expectations.

  • WHO ARE YOU CURRENTLY ADMIRING IN THE INDUSTRY AND WHY?

    I admire those who see new opportunities and create innovation like Marcello Murzilli with his hotel Eremito in Italy. The property is aimed at providing a “soul experience” for the solo travellers, offering a chance to unplug from the world and experience the joy of solitude.

  • YOU’VE HAD A PROFOUND INFLUENCE ON THE DESIGN HOTEL MOVEMENT, PARTICULARLY IN THE DIGITAL WORLD…SO, WHAT’S THE NEXT BIG IDEA? WHAT ARE HOTELS MISSING?

    We always try to adapt and shift, not only in sync with travellers’ needs, but generally being tuned-in to social and cultural movements. This informs how we tap into the individuality of our member hotels and translate their visions into a narrative for the experience. Through digital storytelling we aim to create an online gateway for offline adventurers.

  • WHAT WILL YOU BE DOING A FEW YEARS FROM NOW?

    Wait and see!

  • WHAT CAREER ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO YOU HOTELIERS?

    Start looking outside of the industry for inspiration. The more hoteliers that seek innovation outside of familiar circles, the better it will be not only for business, but also for the consumer.

  • WHAT, TO YOU, MAKES A TRULY GREAT HOTEL?

    What I enjoy most in any given hospitality experience is the element of recognition, feeling welcomed – not contrived or overdone – but in keeping with the setting and concept.