"Now silence reigns"
Special exhibitions have had to be postponed. It's a scenario that seemed unimaginable a few weeks ago. We asked managing director Klaus Panholzer about the current mood at Schönbrunn.
Mr. Panzholzer, what does it feel like to walking about a palace empty of people? What goes through your mind?
That we are currently living in snapshots ... Until recently, our guests and colleagues were moving around the palace and the entire Schönbrunn complex. Now silence reigns. On the one hand it triggers a certain sadness; on the other those of us who work at SKB (Schloß Schönbrunn Kultur- u. Betriebsges.m.b.H. ) are generally very focused on solutions and have a positive attitude, which means we will take every opportunity to get through the crisis together with an eye to the future – as a company and in conjunction with our partners from all areas, especially the tourism and culture sector. What is also noticeable nowadays is how Schönbrunn seems particularly beautiful and gives us a sense of optimism.
How have visitors reacted when they find out that they can't visit Schönbrunn?
Our guests' reaction is remarkable. Obviously, there's a certain amount of regret that they can't visit as planned, but most of them are totally understanding and some even wish us all the best. We also immediately used our ticketing system to action automatic cancellations and refunds, so that our guests get the cost of previously purchased tickets reimbursed quickly and without any administrative fuss. In the meetings and events area, too, it was important for us to find suitable and acceptable goodwill solutions with our customers. We are experiencing a high level of interest, for which we are also very grateful.
How do you keep fans of Schönbrunn hooked in such a scenario?
In the current situation, we are turning to alternative offerings because we have to ensure that we keep our distance from one another at the moment. For this reason, we are now increasingly offering our guests the possibility to dive into the virtual world of the imperial heritage. Because the goal of SKB is to inspire people around the world about our imperial heritage, whether at the physical sites by means of roaming exhibitions or in a supporting role through the digital experience. For example, special attention has recently been paid to the area of the "Schönbrunn Digital Experience", in order to be on the cutting edge here, too, as a leading enterprise for tourism and culture. Our guests have the possibility to use the virtual tour and to dive into the interactive website World of the Habsburgs.
How are your employees doing in the current situation? What is the mood like?
Because we're a strong company and a reliable employer, our employees are generally somewhat concerned given the coronavirus situation, but feel safe under the circumstances as we put all measures in place without any delay. On the one hand due to the closure of the sites and the transition to working from home and taking leave or moving to short-time work. One the other due to the fact that we have been so incredibly popular with guests in recent years and will be so again in the future. This is because we create places of longing that number among the top destinations in the area of global cultural tourism while also being an exciting attraction for local residents.
What major challenges are you anticipating in the coming months?
We are living in a volatile world and the challenge will be to maintain the balance between high flexibility and resilience on all levels. Together with our committees, employees, partners, and visitors. And as I'm a firm believer in togetherness, I am convinced that we will achieve much together!
Schönbrunn Palace (Schloss Schönbrunn)Schönbrunner Schlossstraße, 1130 Wien
- Your benefit with the Vienna City Card: 15% off / 4/3€ off
- daily, 08:00 - 17:00
- no steps
Parking spaces for people with disabilities
at main entrance portal (Schönbrunner Schlossstrasse, 3 parking spaces), Meidlinger Tor (2 parking spaces), close to Kavalierstrakt as well as Valerietrakt (2 parking spaces) and Fürstenstöckl (1 parking space)
- Parking spaces for people with disabilities
- 95 cm wide and 139 cm low , Door 90 cm wide
- Seeing eye dogs allowed
- Wheelchair accessible restroom available.
Special offers for people with disabilities
Free wheelchair rental – contact attendant at main portal (3 wheelchairs) or at Hietzinger Tor and at Meidlinger Tor (1 wheelchair each).
Supplemental devices available for the visually impaired. Tours for visitors with with disabilities or special needs on request.
Museum Sign Language Guide available in ÖGS and IS for the Imperial or Grand Tour, prior reservation recommended, further information:
Access to all exhibition rooms: no steps. Freight elevator for extra wide wheelchairs: door width: 160 cm, cabin depth: 220 cm, cabin width: 156 cm.
Visitors' center in the Gardetrakt by the main gate, stepless access, door width: approx. 144 cm, wheelchair-accessible restroom can be reached by wheelchair platform lift – platform 110/140 cm, door width: 90 cm in the corridor area and 94 cm to the outdoors, accessible from outside with a Euro-Key.
- Main entrance