Pontresina recipe for success


Lionel Messi alone cannot win a soccer game, and what applies on the pitch also pertains to tourism. The team spirit that lives in Pontresina is closely reflected in the awards presented in recent years. In 2012, this historic mountaineering village was selected the most hospitable holiday destination in Switzerland. A glance at the Prix Bienvenu list of the Swiss tourism authority shows that no less than five top-class hotels are among the friendliest in terms of hospitality in Pontresina as well as in Switzerland. Pontresina must be doing something right. "We talk a lot to each other rather than about each other", says Thomas Walther, summarizing the local recipe for success.

Thomas Walther

Pontresina Hotelier

Thomas Walther and his wife Anne-Rose have been managing Pontresina’s Hotel Walther and Hotel Steinbock for 20 years now. Thomas is also an active board member of the  Tourismusorganisation Engadin St. Moritz, actively supporting  tourism as well as local events. Thomas and Anne-Rose live with their three children in Pontresina.
"We talk a lot to each rather than about each other."

Walther also cherishes this credo within his two hotels: long-term employees are one of the factors for success as well as Thomas’ personal contact with guests. Both create customer retention. He should know as the third generation of a hotelier’s family. As he puts it: "The world is becoming more and more anonymous and unstable, but at our hotels, guests can be sure that we will meet, and long-standing friendships, often over generations, have grown this way." Family values are more important than ever. 

But back to the Pontresina hotel industry – how has it evolved over the years? Building a modern cultural and congress centre at the hefty price tag of nearly 30 million Swiss francs was a clear commitment to tourism. This landmark decision by the municipality in the 90s has triggered good competition. Not in the sense of outdoing others, but in generally improving the quality. "I became president of the Pontresina Hoteliers in my early 40s, and I was the third-oldest hotelier at the time", says Thomas. In other words, the Pontresina hotel industry has gone through a generational change very early. Walther considers the Pontresina hotel zone another reason for the success: "This saved us from the temptation of simply selling our hotels during the pied-à-terre boom. Otherwise some of the best located hotels in Pontresina wouldn’t be there anymore today." Thomas is now looking confidently into the future.