Grand Resort Bad Ragaz – Hope Springs Eternal
Grand Resort Bad Ragaz offers a plethora of ways to replenish body and soul.
The Grand Resort Bad Ragaz, a five-star resort located in Canton St. Gallen in the Swiss Alps, uniquely combines hospitality with medical facilities. Built with access to natural thermal waters out of a nearby hot spring which was discovered over 700 years ago and is used by guests for rehabilitation purposes for over 500 years, from the moment you arrive you can tell this is somewhere special.
“Our roots go back over 150 years. It all started in 1840 when the thermal water was brought to Bad Ragaz. Without it, there would be no hotel and no medical facilities”, says CEO Patrick Vogler. “Today we have two main offerings: Firstly, the five-star hospitality service with 247 rooms and seven restaurants, with a combined total of five Michelin stars under one roof. Secondly the Medical Center Bad Ragaz includes the Swiss Olympic Medical Centre and a small, specialised clinic with 25 rooms. 40% of the guests who visit our resort do so for medical reasons.”
This combination of hospitality and wellbeing comes together to form Grand Resort Bad Ragaz’s in-house philosophy, “It is never too late to start living healthily”.
“On the medical side, we focus on three core areas of expertise: Personalised lifestyle and nutrition medicine, rheumatology, and sports medicine and finally beauty and aesthetics. We offer a variety of specialised medical treatments, therapies, and massages. In combination with our thermal spa and health cuisine we can offer a holistic approach to healthy living”, Vogler tells us.
Of course, there are other ways to look after your physical and emotional wellbeing.
“We have two golf courses, one with 18 holes and one with nine holes”, Vogler points out. “Each year in July we host the Swiss Seniors Open, one of the competitions of the famous Legends Tour. We also have a casino on-site, of which we own 67%. The resort altogether employs over 700 individuals and creates a revenue of over 100 million CHF per year.
The resort also has a revenue stream from its public thermal bath with pools, saunas, a café, and a small restaurant. The baths see over 250,000 visitors a year. While visitors do not need to stay in the hotel to access the baths, it is a separate business, all hotel guests can use those public thermal bath facilities.
Bringing Everything Together
With such a wide offering, it can be a challenge to make all those ingredients gel.
“Because our offering has such variety it can be a challenge to bring all those services together to create a unified experience for our guests”, Vogler says. “People understand our resort is successful because there is such a variety in our offering, but that challenge is inherent in it. We are independently owned and want to be ahead of our competitors.”
While it can be a challenge to keep the infrastructure at the highest level, it is one the resort has undeniably pulled off. Grand Resort Bad Ragaz was awarded Hotel of the Year in 2021, as well as Spa of the Year, following an extensive refurbishment programme.
“Over the last five years, we’ve invested a lot in our hospitality business as well as in our people. We renovated our main hotel complex, the Grand Hotel Quellenhof in 2019. We refurbished all the rooms, and we centralised the reception. We had two receptions before, but now we’ve one main entrance for the guest experience”, Vogler tells us. “We brought unique talents together while rebranding in 2019, with a strong focus on being a family business. We built a spa for kids, a kids’ villa, a whole kids’ concept to make a three-generation holiday possible within the resort. All those pieces formed a wonderful product together.”
An Award-Winning Employer
At the end of the day, however, hospitality is about people, and finding the right talent to welcome Grand Resort Bad Ragaz’s guests has been a challenge for the last two years, due to the pandemic.
“We invest in our people, recruiting talent and developing their skills”, Vogler says. “We bring specialists across different fields to ensure we have access to that expertise.”
The company has invested heavily in developing and educating its people, with the resort boasting its own Academy of Hotel Excellence as well as courses in training management skills. That training includes instilling staff with the company’s core values.
“We teach these values to our staff while offering a range of benefits”, Vogler says. “We own 170 apartments, so if we hire people, we offer accommodation around the resort. Especially nowadays that’s a huge advantage. People expect to live in a community. We are also looking into building additional new accommodation for our staff.”
The company this year was recognised by the Arbeitgeber Awards for its efforts, an employers’ award based on feedback from staff questionnaires.
“We achieved fifth place in Switzerland for our golf club, fourth place for our casino”, Vogler shares. These questionnaires are more than an opportunity for the company to congratulate itself.
“We make improvements from the results we have each year,” Vogler says. “I think the most important thing is to keep your people happy, then you get happy guests and revenue comes along with it.”
Of course, quality starts from the bottom up and leaders need to motivate. Vogler points to the firm’s managers as motivators for the entire staff.
Vogler shares that commitment. “Covid changed the mindset of a lot of people. Our positioning is working, because people today are thinking about themselves more critically and are conscious of their health. We’re providing the perfect place to think about recreation and the prevention of poor health”, he tells us. “It’s going to be more and more important for our guests, and we have the perfect infrastructure for that. The programmes we have in place will help us continue to be relevant in the wellness sector on a very high-quality basis. Based on the thermal water and relevant lifestyle elements we developed our own health philosophy: the NEWYOU Method.