“It is important that we market the North Limburg region even better”
In this interview, Gijs Hendrikx, owner of Mr. Jigs hotel and Theaterhotel in Venlo, talks about the opportunities in the region.
How are your hospitality businesses doing in times of Corona?
These times are very challenging. There are few hotel guests, because you are only allowed to travel for essential trips. However, we always try to look at the things that we can do. We have organised online cocktail workshops and delivered cocktail packages to people’s homes. During the carnival weekend, we surprised all our guests who normally stay with us during carnival with a carnival package. That was a great success.
What are the formulas of your hotels in Venlo?
At the Theaterhotel, it’s all about the cooperation with the theater Maaspoort Theater & Events. We complement each other very well. At Mr Jigs, we chose a formula that appeals particularly to millennials: you get a cup of coffee and a croissant in the morning and you can add fresh things from the display case yourself. That ensures that just one colleague can run the hotel. From this perspective, we are going to set up a Mr Jigs Intercity in Sevenum and roll out this formula further. With the Theaterhotel and Mr Jigs, we deliberately reach very different target groups.
You are in the process of building another hotel. How advanced are these plans?
The hotel is being built in Sevenum. The project had been running for a while when I came across it. I immediately had a good relationship with the investors and I know the region very well. In Panningen and Horst, there’s a lot of activity, but between Venlo and Eindhoven, you don’t find many hotels by the highway. The developments in this region are also very important: Toverland is going to expand, there is a golf course and you have Equestrian Centre de Peelbergen, where competitions are held every weekend.
At the moment we are busy with the process and permits, as soon as we can start it will take about 18 months before the hotel is realized.
What is your point of view of the hotel business in Venlo?
The hotels in Venlo complement each other very well in terms of target groups and location. The Theaterhotel with its four stars has been an important addition to the centre of Venlo. I also hear from my restaurant colleagues that they receive many Theaterhotel guests for dinner.
What does the German border mean for your hotels?
We are very happy with our German guests and we will try to reach them even better in the future based on thorough research. We have a lot of German guests who come to Venlo for specific businesses. For example, many German entrepreneurs with interior design companies come to us to do their shopping at Trends & Trade and other wholesalers. But we also receive German tourists who come for the Venlo city centre.
What is your vision on the development of the Venlo region in leisure and tourism?
Many things are already well developed. We have fantastic nature reserves and fun events in Venlo. You can do a lot of things here in the region; go cycling or shopping. Around the Maas, you can experience many beautiful activities. But it is important that we market the North Limburg region even better. How can we ensure that politicians and entrepreneurs are on the same wavelength? That is important. Many entrepreneurs would like to cooperate, but you need certain institutions to facilitate this, such as Visit Noord Limburg.
What kind of employees or trainees are you looking for?
The people I am looking for come from very diverse backgrounds. It is important that our employees are independent and motivated. I have already hired two people who did an internship with us. One of them studied at the Hotel Management School in Maastricht, the other at Facility Management in Heerlen. Now, one new trainees has just started, whom I met at the Cleverland matchmaking event.