In a captivating conversation, Luxvisor’s Executive Editor, Roger Hohl, delved into the remarkable journey of Martin Bodner and Ingrid Juen, the dynamic couple at the helm of Hotel Juenmi, nestled in the enchanting landscapes of Eastern Tyrol, Austria. Their dedication to hospitality and commitment to sustainable practices shine through in this exclusive interview as they share the story behind their venture, their unique approach to providing a tranquil escape, and their plans for the future.
Could you please share the story behind your journey as the director and owners of Hotel Juenmi in East Tyrol? What led you to the hospitality industry?
Ingrid Juen: My grandparents started to rent out a spare room in their own living house in the 1960s, and over the decades, the whole thing was constantly growing. In the 1990s, my parents took over the business, and in 2011, they started a major expansion, adding five brand-new comfort rooms, a sauna, and a relaxation zone. Additionally, the lobby and breakfast area underwent significant upgrades. In 2020, my husband, Martin, and I took over, and we began renovating the old part of the building to bring all 15 rooms up to the same standard.
Martin Bodner: Before 2020, when we took over the business, I had basically no experience in the hotel industry. As a pilot, it was more of a lateral entry for me, but due to previous experiences in charter sales for one of the airlines I worked for, I gained insights into sales, tourism, and yield management. This is also the expertise I bring to JUENMI.
East Tyrol is known for its stunning natural landscapes. How does Hotel Juenmi take advantage of its location to provide unique experiences for guests?
Martin Bodner: The JUENMI is in a perfect location, very close to the Dolomites – a UNESCO World Heritage site. You can reach all the famous sites and outdoor adventures in a short period of time, many of them within walking distance. The biggest advantage of staying at the JUENMI is that we benefit from being in a quiet village compared to other towns, which gives our guests the chance to relax and unwind after an eventful day in the mountains. Additionally, there are many hidden natural wonders in East Tyrol that are not always on the bucket list of many travelers but often turn out to be even better than the hotspots.
Can you describe the distinctive features and amenities that set Hotel Juenmi apart from other hotels in the region?
Ingrid Juen: JUENMI is, above all, one thing: simple, modern, and comfortable. This runs through the entire customer journey, from the booking process to check-out. We avoid overloading, both on the website and in-house. In a world that often emphasizes “more of everything,” we aim to establish a space for relaxation and recreation. Customers appreciate the peace and quiet. The combination of wood, light, modern, and traditional elements makes our guests feel at home. Many feedbacks tell us that Juenmi is a very special place where they feel at home and in good hands from day one of their stay. I believe our attitude towards hospitality also contributes to this.
Sustainability and eco-friendly practices have become increasingly important in the hospitality industry. How does Hotel Juenmi prioritize environmental responsibility?
Martin Bodner: During the renovation of the entire hotel, we placed particular emphasis on sustainability, quality, and energy efficiency. In addition to a large solar system on the roof, we used wood as a building material, as well as regional sheep’s wool as insulation for the walls and roof. The building is in harmony with nature. Thanks to the materials used, we enjoy a healthy indoor climate in the rooms. The energy-efficient construction means we don’t need to heat the rooms in spring and autumn. Even on hot summer days, we don’t require air conditioning. On a daily basis, we follow a “no-waste” mentality. Our breakfast buffet is presented in small bites, giving our guests the opportunity to try everything without generating food waste.
East Tyrol offers a variety of outdoor activities. How does your hotel cater to guests looking to explore the region’s attractions?
Ingrid Juen: Many activities can start right outside the front door. JUENMI is the perfect starting point for hiking, biking, paragliding, skiing, sledding, or cross-country skiing. The peace and unspoiled nature invite couples to explore the area. Around JUENMI, you will find numerous favorite places to let your soul dangle, a walk in the forest, a sunrise or sunset hike, a romantic horse-drawn sleigh ride in a secluded side valley, or a visit to one of the excellent traditional mountain huts and restaurants. Most of the time, you stay among yourselves and can devote your time and attention to the beautiful surroundings and your favorite person.
What have been some of the most rewarding moments or achievements during your tenure as the CEO and owner of Hotel Juenmi?
Martin Bodner: One of the best things to see as a hotel owner is satisfied and happy customers whose expectations were exceeded. Nevertheless, the most rewarding moments are when you feel the spirit of a motivated employee team. In my opinion, real success means having loyal and self-reliant colleagues who bring their own ideas and inputs to achieve better results. I can proudly say that this is the case with us.
In today’s digital age, online reviews and guest feedback play a significant role. How does your hotel manage guest satisfaction and feedback effectively?
Customer feedback is a great tool to develop and improve the product. We use different platforms to collect feedback. As soon as we identify trends, we collect further information from different departments to coordinate the best possible solution together with our team and align it with our philosophy and the environment.
Could you share some memorable guest experiences or stories that showcase the exceptional service and hospitality provided by your team at Hotel Juenmi?
Martin Bodner: We love to welcome back regular customers. Over the years, we’ve had the privilege of getting to know some great people with their personal stories. Some of these encounters have also blossomed into long-term friendships. It’s great to have them back at JUENMI on a regular basis, where we can share and reminisce about old collective memories.
Tell us something about the name JUENMI and what is the story behind it?
Ingrid Juen: No doubt it´s a special name and many guests want to know what it means and how to pronounce it? JUENMI consists of my last name “JUEN” and the initials “M” stands for Martin (my husband), Maria & Manfred (my parents) and the “I” stands for Ingrid. Together we are the team responsible for the business.
Martin Bodner: Funny aside, if you pronounce Juenmi, it sounds like the English “you and me.” That’s it, a place for you and me, located in the heart of the Dolomites (Austria) where you can relax, enjoy, or simply have a good time with your loved one.
Looking ahead, what are your future plans and aspirations for Hotel Juenmi? How do you envision the hotel’s growth and development in the coming years?
Martin Bodner: Thinking about the future, we want to keep JUENMI a special place. Special for our customers and also special for us. We love hospitality, and I’m a big believer in authenticity. So, only if we, as a team, love what we do, can we provide an exceptional product to our guests. If I look ahead, I’m pretty sure the industry will change, and guest requirements will change as well. Our main goal for the future is to adapt and keep ourselves open-minded for different challenges. If we can do that, I have no doubts that the hotel will continue to be a great place for you and me for many years to come.
About Martin Bodner
Martin Bodner currently lives in Dubai (UAE) and works as a pilot for Emirates Airlines. His main task at the JUENMI is sales, marketing & finance.
- Age: 39
- Place of Birth: Innsbruck (Austria)
- Education: Economics School, Pilot
- Hobbies: Traveling, Icehockey, running
- Martial Status: Married
About Ingried Juen
Ingrid Juen moved back from Dubai to Sillian (Austria) in 2021 to run the JUENMI on site.
- Age: 37
- Place of Birth: Lienz (Austria)
- Education: Teacher, Education Sciences
- Hobbies: Reading, Traveling, Yoga
- Martial Status: Married