Where Nobody Else Would Dare to Go

Munich-headquartered Kempinski AG is the operating company for Geneva-based Kempinski, a collection of 49 deluxe properties in major cities and vacation spots in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and South America. The group was founded in Berlin in 1897. Kempinski has recently been transformed into a multinational company and now they are essentially international, with just a very small number of hotels in Germany, their home market. Since they restructured the company they have gone to places where nobody else would dare to go. For instance, they were the first German hotel company to go into Russia, and they have never regretted it. They have enormous brand recognition in Russia now, because they have been there for 15 years. They were the first company to build a multipurpose complex in China, and that gives them a platform from which to grow throughout the country. They are going to be the number-one player in the luxury hospitality market in China, which is definitely the market of the future. They are also planning to go into Africa. They are going into Chad because it has the second-largest gas reserves in the world and will have a booming economy. They have one property open in Dar es Salaam and will shortly open one in Zanzibar, and two in Tanzania. At the same time, they are still trying to establish themselves in some of the key cities in Europe. In fact, the USA is not the right market for them. If they were to move into the American market they would need a certain uniformity, because that's the way the American market works. It's a standardized market, which is counter to how we try to portray ourselves. Each Kempinski hotel is different and offers its own individual experience.

Africa is becoming an emerging market for Kempinski. Africa is a large continent and it is best considered in terms of several distinct regions. There's Arabic-speaking North Africa, comprising Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. We can even go into Libya, which is now opening up. Then you have East Africa, which is Anglo-Saxon, and West Africa and Central Africa, which are essentially Francophone. Finally, there is Southern Africa. Not much has happened since the first apate of openings by Intercontinental, Sheraton, and Hilton. It's starting to move now.

People used to go to Africa for the safaries. Now economic change is taking place, as many African countries are extremely very rich. For instance, Angola is unbelievably rich. With a wealth of minerals, oil, diamonds, and gold. One of the biggest challenges today in high-growth economies like China and India is access to raw materials. Africans are becoming more prosperous and are starting to develop industries on their own. Because of this people have a desire to move about. Africans have always had a nomadic approach to life. They like to move around. And if you move around you need beds to sleep in. So, there are more and more affluent Africans but there are very few hotels to accommodate them. The few decent hotels they do have are running at extremely high occupancy levels. In Angola you pay $350 a night to stay in a three-star hotel and you have to book one month ahead to get a room.

Another factor fueling growth in Africa's hotel industry is that Africans love to meet, and often hold conferences. They love going to hotels and having meetings about all kinds of things, but there are very few hotels with meeting rooms. If you opened a hotel with meeting rooms, I guarantee that it would be jam-packed every day of the year.

Finally, more and more people from outside Africa are noticing that it is a place that is well worth visiting, and is full of business opportunities. Consequently, there are people travelling for business within Africa and people from outside who are coming to Africa and saying, "Let's check it out." So we see a great deal of potential in Africa.

At Kempinski, we try to save where we can, but we provide a certain lifestyle, and if you do it right, people will pay a price for it. We take technology and incorporate it into our hotels, always with the aim of enhancing the hotel's performance and the experience for our guests. Some hotels have very sophisticated multimedia technology for guests and we sometimes pioneer new technology in its application in hotels.

Air travel

A. Departures

This is the usual sequence of activities when you get to the airport:

First you go to the check-in desk where they weigh your luggage. Usually, you are permitted 20 kilos, but if your bags weigh more, you may have to pay excess baggage

(= you pay extra). The airline representative checks your ticket and gives you a boarding card for the plane with your seat number on it. Then you go through passport controlwhere an official checks(Not controls) your passport, and into the departure lounge. Here, you can also buy things in the duty-free,e.g. perfume, alcohol, cigarettes. About half an hour or forty minutes before take-off, you are told to go to a gate number, where you wait before youget onthe plane. When you board (= get on) the plane, you find your seat. If you have hand luggage, you can put it under your seat or in the overhead locker above your seat.

The plane then taxis (= moves slowly) towards the runway, and when it has permission to take off, it accelerates along the runway and takes off.

Note: The verb to taxiis generally only used in this context.

B. The flight

You may want or need to understand certain announcements; these come from the captain (= the pilot) or from an air steward or stewardess/ cabin crew/ flight attendants (= people who look after the passengers)

Please fasten your seat beltand put your seat in the upright position.

We are now cruising(= flying comfortably) at an altitude

(= height) of 10,000 metres.

May we remindpassengers (=ask passengers to remember) that there is no smoking until you are inside the terminal building (= where passengers arrive and depart).

The cabin crew(= air stewards) are now coming round with landing cards. (These are cards you sometimes have to fill in when you enter some countries).

C. Arrival

When the plane lands(= arrives on the ground), you have to wait for it to stop / come to a halt. When the doors are open, you get offthe plane and walk through the terminal building and go to the baggage reclaimwhere you can collect your luggage. You then pass through customs(green = nothing to declare; red = goods to declare;

blue = European Union citizens). If you are lucky you can then get a bus, taxi or train to the centre of town without waiting too long. You can also hirea car (= rent a car) at most airports.

Note:In British English you normally hiresomething for a short period of time, e.g. hire a room for a party, and rentsomething for a long period, e.g. a flat; for a car you may use both words.

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