The magdas Hotel in Vienna sets an example of integration. People from 14 nations are working at the magdas Hotel, among them numerous refugees, who are here given a chance for a new life. With their individual capabilities, talents, languages, and cultures, they make up the charm of the hotel. Reason enough for Caparol to support this dedicated project – with appropriate materials, know-how and advice. Here, magdas manager Gabriela Sonnleitner speaks about ideas, integration and the company motto.
The magdas was opened at the beginning of 2015 – have there been any surprises since?
What has surprised us most is the colourful mixture of guests. Our furnishing concept is based on furniture donations and cool upcycling design and aims to appeal to a young target group. We have indeed guests of all age groups – families, business travellers, older people. We have asked ourselves: what connects these people? It can only be our motto of “Stay open-minded!”, the openness for new ideas, for new constellations and experiences. So we are pleased with positive occupancy rates and positive reviews – and we still learn plenty of new things.
Does the general refugee situation have an effect on your concept?
Of course, it has significantly raised the attention for our concept. Today, we are a "best practice for integration". Unfortunately, people coming to Europe are predominantly seen as a problem. To change that we must develop new communication structures and recruiting channels, because this is the only way how employers come in contact with the right employees. The existing possibilities are not effective, and therefore the economy has to play its part and can actually do a lot. This insight also gave the impetus for our hotel project.
What are the contributions companies can make?
There are valuable employees among the refugees, who are needed here – however, concepts need to be developed to reach an understanding and networking. We have, for example, worked out a focussed training concept, and we invite guests to a Social Dinner once a month, where long-standing residents of Vienna and new inhabitants can naturally get into conversation with each other.
How did you master the challenges of this committed project?
During the entire conversion process and now with ongoing hotel operations our motto has been: "Turn everything into an advantage". This perspective helps tremendously. Additionally, one has to find the correct balance between exact planning and spontaneity.
Let’s assume you had one wish …
I would say: copy & paste! Do what we did!
Multi-cultural, with a social focus,
cosmopolitan, and different: