#GLF19 | “We are hoteliers and we love what we are doing”

3 min reading time

Published on 22/05/19 - Updated on 17/03/22

Thomas Willms

Thomas Willms, CEO Deutsche Hospitality, shares the history of the group, its ambitions and its priorities.

We have had 9 years of growth in our industry and it’s a privilege. For the beginning of 2019 it looks like the party goes on. Thanks to low interest rates, our developers are very busy.

We want to be a leader with global recognition, we want to grow proportionally with strong partnerships and scalable business models.

We have clear and distinctive brand profiles and we perform by working deftly and in networks driven by courageous innovations. We use the potential of digitalization and CRM with a culture of trust, respect and appreciation. Guests and clients are at the center of everything we do, and we are increasing company value in a consistent and sustainable way committed to our environment. We empower our employees.

Deutsche Hospitality’s history

The company has an amazing legend. Steigenberger is one of the oldest in Europe: founded in 1930 when Albert Steigenberger took over the Hotel Europäischer Hof in Baden-Baden. In the 1970s we created the Robinson Club together with TUI as a joint venture. It was a new holiday-hotel concept with activities, sports, culture and wellness by Egon Steigenberger.
We invented and launched Intercity Hotel 30 years ago.

In 2009, the Steigenberger family sold the entire business to Mr. Hamed El Chiaty an Egyptian businessman who also founded Travco Group International Holding S.A.E in 1979.

Jaz in the city was created in 2015. In 2016, we changed our umbrella brand from Steigenberger to Deutsche Hospitality to be more global. In 2017 we celebrated our 100th hotel and in 2018 we launched Maxx by Steigenberger, our conversion brand. In 2019, we acquired 51% of Zleep. We met Zleep at the Global Lodging Forum last year when our dinner together with Peter Haaber significantly helped close the deal! The Global Lodging Forum is also a unique opportunity for networking.

New ambitions

We now have 150 hotels in 18 countries and 3 continents with more than 10,500 employees. We have 5 distinct brands from luxury to economy and France is still missing.

Deutsche Hospitality Brands

We have grand hotels and new generations as well as a lot of resorts. We relaunched our core brand this year. In 2019 we are investing 120 million euros along with our partners just to renovate and reposition the Steigenberger brand.

With Maxx by Steigenberger we are looking at franchise contracts.

Zleep is our new baby, our first experience in the budget and economy world. This acquisition allows us to go to Nordic Countries which were missing in our portfolio, and to enter the economy segment. Peter Haaber will remain the CEO for the next couple of years as we have a lot to learn from him.

We have an ambitious goal, it took the company 90 years to have 100 hotels, we want to reach 250 within the next 5 years. We now have the brands for it, we can grow faster, thanks to a great development team.

Deutsche Hospitality next openings


Deutsche Hospitality

Deutsche Hospitality

Hotel Group

  • Deutsche Hospitality Germany
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