A conversation with Steven Hyzler.
*as featured in Travel Logbook Malta.
Hotel manager of La Falconeria and the recently opened Palais Le Brun speaks about the hotel industry and the change of tastes he has seen.
Steven Hyzler has been in the hotel industry for over 10 years, and has managed the superb growth of La Falconeria since it opened doors in March 2017 to being in the top five hotels in Malta, and the top three in Valletta. He has also recently welcomed a new addition to their family with Palais Le Brun, which opened in the beginning of June and is already ranked as the number 1 hotel in Malta on Tripadvisor.
I had a sit down with Steven in Valletta at La Falconeria, a gorgeous hotel built in a building that dates back to the 16th century. Over some coffee we spoke at length regarding the hotel industry in Malta and the changes that Steven has witnessed in how people travel and what they expect.
“Visitors are moving away from the big hotel chains and gravitating towards the boutique experiences that smaller, more independent hotels are able to offer,” he reveals. “Thanks in part to the vast improvements in communication and general connectivity, the discerning visitor has more options available to them and more commonly are choosing those hotels that offer something special.”
Look at La Falconeria for example. It is in the top three hotels in Valletta, a city that has been named the European Capital of Culture for 2018. The hotel could not change the exterior of the hotel as the façade has to match the surrounding buildings to maintain the cultural heritage of their city. The hotel itself is set on upon a street where the Knights of St John trained and traded their falcons during the 16th century.
Or Palais le Brun. A hotel that has been open for 3 weeks at the time of writing, and is already the number one hotel in Valletta and Malta. It is built inside a baroque palace from the 16th century where the Knights of St John lived and is of huge cultural significance. And just as La Falconeria, they were not allowed to change the exterior of the building, meaning that the location has not lost any of its cultural significance and its beauty.
And the hotel industry has shifted as well. There was a time in the not-so-distant past where hotel restaurants were considered second rate. In today’s market every aspect of a hotel from top to bottom is one social media update away from being seen by thousands if not millions of people. The standard of what hotels offer, not only in luxury rooms but in cuisine, is something Steven is proud to say the hotels he manages are setting and leading by example.
Steven works with a team of people including an operations manager, who is in charge of the day to day running of the hotels, and a social media manager, who is responsible for growing the social media. Steven himself is in charge of Tripadvisor, managing the commentary and engaging directly with visitors who have taken the time to comment on the hotel.
“Tripadvisor has become the voice of people staying in hotels,” he explains. “It is a great way to find out exactly what people think of the hotel and chance to speak with guests on what they enjoyed and what areas we can improve in. You have to keep on top of things, and by managing it myself, it means I can deal with any negatives as soon as they come.”
This kind of daily activity and accountability is one of the reasons why Palais Le Brun and La Falconeria feature so highly on a website known to be the reflection of visitor’s point of views.
The other reasons are all in the hotels themselves.