EWA Awards 2023 bestowed to Badegärten Eibenstock and Therme Wien

For 21 years, the European Waterpark Association (EWA), the quality association of European waterparks, leisure pools and spas, has been awarding prizes for particularly innovative product and marketing concepts. The awards are intended to encourage pool operators to continuously improve their qualifications. This year, the prizes will go to the Erzgebirge area in Germany and Vienna.

The EWA Professional Award, which honours innovations in design and operations, goes to the Badegärten in Eibenstock. Since 1997, one of the most extraordinary sauna facilities in the German-speaking region has been located in the Erzgebirge area. The Badegärten in Eibenstock take their guests on a journey through the wellness landscapes of this world. The focus is on the original Karelian sauna culture. In the northeast of Europe, between the Baltic Sea and the White Sea, lies this area, in which the sweating pleasure was invented.

Over a period of eleven years, since 2011, the Karelian Sauna Village of Badegärten was created at a newly created lake. In 2022, the project, which was realized in several construction phases, was completed and has been delighting sauna fans from all over Europe ever since.

At the center of the complex is the large Boyar House, which offers space for 170 guests in a sauna with multimedia light and sound technology for shows and ceremonies. Two large relaxation rooms were created on the upper floor of the house. Around the lake, which covers more than two thousand square meters, rustic cottages and a restaurant barn give the entire complex a village-like character in the middle of the green forest landscape of the Erzgebirge.

The jury, which included EWA Honorary President Dr. Michael Quell and Sonja Redies from the Hamburg-based management consultancy Profund Consult, found the consistent theming and the relationship of around 4.4 million euros of investment to the result achieved particularly worthy of the award.

The EWA Marketing Award 2023 goes to Therme Wien. This is not the first time that Therme Wien has received the Marketing Award of the European Waterpark Association. The city thermal bath and spa, which is part of the VAMED Vitality World, repeatedly attracts attention with particularly creative marketing concepts for attracting new guests and customer loyalty.

This year’s award-winning campaign, however, does not focus on guests but on potential new employees. The shortage of staff is a challenge for waterparks, leisure pools and spas across all countries. Vienna responded to this with a comprehensive employer branding and onboarding program for new employees.

The basis of this project is the complete digitalization of employee communication, which begins with the initial contact via an application platform and the Human Resources department. In a “welcome video,” applicants and new employees are familiarized with their future activities. A personal “welcome box” familiarizes them with the company’s values and the right way to deal with each other. These should also be reflected in their dealings with guests. In the opinion of the jury, the bundle of measures for the employee approach and the on-boarding process stands for the great appreciation that Therme Wien has for its employees.

The two awards will be presented by EWA President Markus Achleitner at a festive event in Cologne’s Flora on October 26.