Rey Group & aquama®: fighting together against Covid-19
Since more than 50 years now, Rey Group, a pure family business, has been creating and developing human-friendly habitats for real estate and newly constructed housing projects as well as hotel management systems in Switzerland and abroad, with the aim of making guests feel as much "at home" as can be. The group is led by Christian Rey, president, and his son Xavier, managing director, who both now face a new seemingly contradictory challenge: staying in close touch with customers and maintaining care programmes as in past times opposed to the recent social distancing measures needed to protect guests and staff members alike from the virus. Luckily, enough they resorted to aquama® before the outbreak of the pandemic. Both companies became partners in December 2019 and share common values as well as extreme efficiency. Read more in the following interview.
The Rey family group specialises in the creation of habitats: what is the biggest challenge in this sector?
Christian Rey (CR): Our aim is to maintain traditional values such as well-being, comfort, and cosiness in our three sectors of activity consisting of real estate, hotels, and hotel residences. Wherever our guests stay, we want them to feel at home. We do everything we can to make this "home abroad" principle come true.
Xavier Rey (XR): As a family business, we focus on hospitality and welcome. One of our big challenges today is keeping up human warmth and personal service, while having to implement at the same time social distancing measures we all must comply with due to the pandemic. It is indeed quite challenging to find a way how to best maintain our traditional principles based on human proximity, but without contradicting the new physical sanitary barriers necessary to protect our customers and staff members from the virus.
What measures have you been implementing in your facilities since the outbreak of the pandemic?
XR: We started off by personalizing the safety measures necessary for social distancing. Our intention was to make our customers feel a little bit more at ease. So, we added warm words of welcome on all the floor separation lines and on the plastic shields to thank our customers for coming to our facilities. We of course regularly disinfect all contact points and vital areas by resorting to the aquama® sanitizing solution which we have been using ever since December 2019. Then, we revised our tenders adapting them not only to the present health situation but also in view of keeping up the continuous care for our guests. For example, we refrain from organizing large buffets, that customers loved so much before, because it is far less appropriate nowadays. Instead, we implement an extremely personalized service.
According to you, what is the secret to an effective fight against the virus?
CR: The secret? I do not really know if there is one. I think it must be humbly said! (laughter) However, the success story really begins in fact by respecting and implementing the social distancing measures needed to keep our guests safe and making them feel secure at the same time: our head office and management insists very much on complying with this aspect. One is never to belittle risks and concerns. Customers must never feel isolated or abandoned with respect to the present sanitary situation. That is the reason why we always keep up the dialogue with them. All our staff members are aware of this and I believe we can rely on their steady and active support. Together, we shall manage the situation and I think customers feel this very strongly.
XR: Indeed, we first had to make our staff aware of all these issues. We did not rush reviewing our safety processes because we do all we can to provide our customers with the utmost possible security. For the first time in the sixty years since our group exists, we set up a rule prohibiting any third party access with the aim of protecting as much as possible all our customers and guests staying at our facilities, including the staff members. In fact, no one from outside has the right to enter any of our hotels, which we have decided to somehow limit to private use only. And then we were lucky to have chosen aquama® just a few months before the crisis went global! As the aquama® sanitizing solution is effective against Covid-19, we were already prepared well in advance! We had the machines and our own in-house solution: no need to look for any other elsewhere. So, we never had to lock down and in fact, we never really intend to do so!
For which reasons did you choose aquama® in December 2019?
XR: There are mainly three reasons. First, the total independence from any conventional supply chain. In past times, we indeed had, during a month or so, a few cases making it a bit complicated to get supplied with certain products. Nowadays, thanks to aquama®, we must no longer fear shortages. The second reason is the ecological approach of aquama® which allows us to make a further contribution to environmental conservation. And last, but not least: it is simply amazing to see all the many different uses that aquama® has to offer with its sanitizing solution. It allows us to use only one single product and to get rid of almost all the other conventional industrial detergents we relied on in past times. Each of our aquama® solutions are customized to ensure highest effectiveness depending on the specific use they are meant for. The user-friendliness of aquama® products for our staff members was also a very convincing aspect for us. Having to handle only one single product greatly simplifies logistics. And what is more, the aquama® sanitizing solution is not a health hazard: it is totally safe for customers and staff members alike!
CR: I must say that the aquama® team is very competent and professional! Their product is based on scientific research and both our companies share the same values. This is an important factor in any partnership, and so essential for us that we decided to extend cooperation to our facilities abroad where we now also use aquama®.
XR: We are a family-group, I am the third generation and the fourth one is already here. We really share the same spirit with aquama® always caring for future generations. We believe that tomorrow is already here today, in front of us as we see the next generation growing up before our very eyes!
Were you reluctant at first?
CR: I would not say that we were reluctant because much depends on getting the right answers to the questions one asks. The aquama® team was indeed able to convince us with their frank replies and they took our expectations directly into consideration.
XR: We quickly believed in the aquama® product, as we were able to test it on the spot and had our cleaning teams also try it out. Our staff’s feedback was essential to us because we intended to immediately stop buying toxic detergents and stick to aquama®. We dared to switch but also wanted to make sure that our staff would follow us on the long run.
In fact, that was my next question: how did your staff members react?
CR: They thought it was a great idea! It was not a matter of believing it or not, but they needed to get convinced by themselves. And when they saw the result, they were enthusiastic about aquama®!
XR: The most interesting aspect in our cooperation with aquama® is yet to come. We really worked hard together to find the right compounds to best suit our needs. The aquama® team knows how to listen and is always willing to customize technical features. For example, our cleaning products will dry more quickly after use because we cannot afford to have surfaces staying wet too long.
For which reasons would you recommend aquama® to your peers?
XR: We do not need to outsource our sanitizing products anymore as we produce them by ourselves, so we never have any shortages. That is phantastic for us! But may not be the case for other hotels that outsource their cleaning services. It is up to everyone to analyse their own situation and to see what is best for them!
CR: For us, aquama® has become a partner who is willing to listen to us and able to respond quickly to our specific needs. Our cleaning solution is fully customized. Today, we use a product that allows us to do all operations at the same time, meaning disinfection, anti-Covid-19 virus treatment, as well as general cleaning. That is also a reason why we wish to extend our cooperation with aquama®. We want to grow together and benefit from forthcoming developments. We know how much research and development work aquama® is presently doing for developing state-of-the-art products allowing us to care for the health and well-being of our customers, guests and staff members alike.