Camille Oostwegel JR. on empathy, experience and independence in hospitality

The concept behind the Independent Hotel Show is as much about collaboration and sharing knowledge, as it is about the specialist exhibitors and dedicated education programme, so we asked one of our partners from the Amsterdam edition, SEVERS+JANSEN, The Hospitality Studio, to visit Camille Oostwegel Jr to get his views on what makes hospitality such a vibrant industry…

After working for over two years in a brand management team at Starwood, Camille joined his father’s firm, Oostwegel Collection, as Director of Business Development. Having already used his experience to execute a rebrand, along with implementing strategy meetings and looking to future-proof the business, he has certainly made his mark!

What is your holy grail for hospitality today?

Empathy. With that, the hospitality experience stands or falls. The buildings or facilities can still be beautiful and functional, but ultimately the employees bring it to life. With active employees who have high empathy, you can make a difference, now and in the future.

In our experience, every hospitality project needs a storyline from the start to provide good foundations. What do you think about this?

With a background in brand management, I cannot help but endorse this. The right pillars are essential but keep evaluating them; make sure that once the concept is live, you listen carefully to what the employees and guests have to say about it and, if necessary, fine-tune the narrative.

In the current competitive hotel market do you see permanent room for independent hoteliers, and why?

Absolutely, I am 100% convinced that independent hoteliers will be permanent fixture of the industry. As an independent hotelier, you can make the concept so authentic that it is unique and then people like to come and come back!

There’s no denying that family businesses carry with them a special essence, unique and distinct from competitors. So whether you’re part of a family-run hotel or not, make sure to be a part of the ‘Hotel Dynasties’ session at the Independent Hotel Show London to get access to vital intel on how to create a family culture, gain trust and loyalty from your employees and build a strong company ethos.

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