Annegret and Roland Lohss have been running the Parkhotel Wolfsburg since 2005. In the course of renovating the hotel in 2006, the two owners of the hotel worked with local craftsmen to design an interior made of fine woods and materials. The attention to detail still shines through in the well-kept furnishings. Guests feel completely at home in the hotel. That this is the case is extremely important to Annegret and Roland Lohss.
Exciting: The Lohss couple took over the Parkhotel Wolfsburg in 2005. In this interview, they tell us why running a hotel is a matter of the heart, what flowers have to do with hospitality, and why a good night's sleep is heaven on earth.
Mrs. and Mr. Lohss, what does hospitality mean to you?
ANNEGRET LOHSS: I understand it quite literally. I receive every guest as if a friend were visiting. And in the same way as I would like myself to be. I want to be welcomed and greeted with friendliness, I am happy about a smile, a fresh flower in the room or a lovingly laid table.
Roland Lohss: Of course we sell a service at the Parkhotel Wolfsburg, but we are a family business and we want to live that, in the best sense of the word.
How did you come to the Parkhotel Wolfsburg?
ROLAND LOHSS: That's a curious story. A coincidence, I would say. I'm actually a doctor and worked as a general practitioner for over ten years, for a long time in the hospital. In 2005, the Parkhotel was looking for a new general manager. I knew that because I was one of the Parkhotel's shareholders at the time. At that time I had to make an important decision, namely to start a practice. And so I started thinking about what it might be like to swap my medical profession for that of a hotelier.
What attracted you to becoming a hotelier?
ROLAND LOHSS: In the hotel industry, I am a classic career changer. I can cook a bit and manage quite well in a kitchen - but I don't have any more gastronomic experience to show. But - I like being a host, that's what I've always been and that's what counts.
But it takes courage to switch from the medical profession to the hotel business just like that?
ANNEGRET LOHSS: Of course, a decision like that is a big deal. Yes, I think you have to be daring. It was also a process for us as a family. And it's not just a change of profession. We were in Lüneburg with our three children, and Roland then started working in Wolfsburg. It was only later that I moved to Wolfsburg with the two younger children.
ROLAND LOHSS: I got my chutzpah and entrepreneurial thinking from my father. I simply got involved in the adventure because I really wanted to live out my creative side. There is so much to create and decide in the hotel's daily routine that it never gets boring. Whether we're hosting a wedding or a conference, we want it to be memorable for our guests. Even though it is a fulfilling job, it is truly fulfilling to be a hotelier - and I would decide that way again at any time.
What is the difference between being a doctor and being a host?
ROLAND LOHSS: Taking care of patients or hotel guests is not that different. When I was a nurse doing my community service, I worked in a surgical department in a hospital. There, I also took care of people's well-being, and I enjoyed doing that very much. Then, as now, it was a matter of perceiving what the individual needs and making sure that he or she gets it. We want to do our job well and reliably fulfill the wishes of our guests.
ANNEGRET LOHSS: Over time, you gain a great deal of experience in sensing what the other person might need. In other words, reading wishes from the eyes. In medicine, that's called "prevention." I am a nurse and a respiratory therapist, so I have been able to transfer the expertise from the therapeutic context directly to the hotel industry.
ROLAND LOHSS: I think that you really do bring a different perspective to things. For example, we know from medicine how important a peaceful sleep is for regeneration. That's why we've equipped our rooms with the best mattresses for optimal relaxation. And we are pleased that we can offer our guests the best conditions for this with our direct location by the park. This is especially appreciated by our commuting business guests. The wonderful park with its beautiful old trees is simply a blessing.
Wolfsburg in January 2017