Stream | Deutsche Hospitality
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Engaging with employees at an international hotel group.

How we helped:
Increase engagement and loyaltyGrow the business
Reach new audiences

Deutsche Hospitality, one of Europe’s leading hospitality companies, went through a rebrand in late 2016.


From its home in Germany, the group operates 116 hotels with 24 further hotels in construction or under development across three hotel brands: Steigenberger Hotels and Resorts, which operates some of Europe’s most iconic properties including the Steigenberger Frankfurter Hof and Steigenberger Parkhotel Dusseldorf; InterCityHotel, the group’s mid-scale brand, operating 38 hotels in city centre or airport locations; and Jaz in the City is the group’s lifestyle boutique concept, the first of which opened in November 2015 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.


Following the repositioning of the business, Deutsche Hospitality wanted to revisit the tools it used to communicate with more than 7,200 employees across three continents, with a particular focus on its internal magazine “WIR” and the group intranet.

More than just Deutsche employees.

Sprechen die gleiche Sprache.

With the introduction of the new brand came the definition of the aspirational culture of this international organisation – passion, perfection, caring, tradition and visionary.


To ensure the proposed channels used to engage employees were appropriate and to judge current sentiment to internal communications and the new brand, we sent an online questionnaire to all accessible employees across central office and the hotel brands. The results of the survey were used to define the areas of communication to concentrate on and the brand attributes that needed more emphasis.


With a rapidly growing portfolio and diverse workforce, the employee magazine “WIR” was seen as a key internal engagement channel and the Deutsche Hospitality communications team wanted to ensure it was covered by this review.


Using the new visual identity, the design was refreshed to be more contemporary and to reflect the evolving nature of the group and its brands. The content was also enhanced to be more engaging so that it not only reflects the diversity and loyalty of the employees, but also the new brand values and behaviours.


The magazine is bilingual, so articles are featured in both German and English – which is a design challenge, but was overcome by the use of clever symbols and colourful sub-heads. It is important wherever possible to use images of or taken by the employees themselves, reinforcing the ownership they have of the magazine. Content is also provided by the Deutsche Hospitality employees and after going through an internal filtering and editing process, it is translated into English and sent to us for artworking and proofreading.


The other key internal engagement communications channel was the group-wide intranet. The existing intranet had grown over time and was a mixture of databases and online working groups, the majority of which were in German language. We worked with an internal “intranet development team” and used the employee survey results to prioritise the most important content areas. Using this we created a content-led approach to the overarching architecture.


Once this architecture was agreed, we created an interactive wireframe of the complete proposed intranet. This was tested by the working group and user journey’s refined until the key objectives of the intranet were met. Within this, it was key that the intranet worked across different devices so it could be used by as many employees as possible.


Using the signed-off interactive wireframe we created a user functionality specification and identified key page templates. A series of designs were then created for use by the build company.


Deutsche Hospitality had sourced and appointed a local web build company to build the intranet in Office 365 – SharePoint. Using the source documentation and materials created by us, we worked with them to create and populate the new intranet.

Two versions of the new “WIR” magazine have been produced and delivered to the group’s entire portfolio of hotels and sales offices worldwide. Feedback on the magazine has been very positive and it is seen as a key internal communications tool.


The launch of the intranet has only reached the first rollout phase with another three releases planned over the next six months with increased functionality and new sections of content. Initial feedback has been positive with lots of useful feedback that can be fed into future iterations of the site.


How we helped:

Employee insight and engagement

International employee engagement

Brand story development

Materials creation across print and web

International rollout