Karl Heyne Senior takes over the Hotel Köhler from his parents at the age of 27. The name Heyne has enjoyed a generations-long tradition among Gießen’s business community as an enterprise that both honors its heritage and is open-minded to innovative thinking. To optimize the occupancy of the hotel, the young hotelier offers an attractive program of supporting events: all-day tours to the surrounding castles and palaces, hearty medieval menus and guided tours of the local area.
Even then, the hotel had established an emphasis on the importance of good service and flawless organization. Smooth-running programs and traveler satisfaction spoke for themselves. What was born as an idea for a single hotel quickly spread and Heyne soon became a household name in the full-service package tour sector. The courage to innovate combined with commercial thinking, good language skills and friendly contacts with German and international hotels formed the company’s cornerstone. Eventually, in 1973, Karl Heyne Senior founded SERVICE-REISEN Giessen and became the first German provider of package travel on the European market.
Creative travel ideas, meticulous planning, professional advice and service that goes above and beyond are the foundations of the company’s success. For more than 40 years, SERVICE-REISEN has been one of the most successful package tour operators in Europe and a market leader in Germany. On average, more than 14,000 tailor-made group tours by bus, plane or boat are organized each year - with great expertise and a high degree of dedication from the firm’s 160 travel professionals, all of whom are specialists in their destination area.
Since the company’s founding, SERVICE-REISEN has worked tirelessly on creating ideas for the success of its customers’ trips, rendering the organization of group travel easier than ever before. The aim is for each customer to be able to say, “That’s exactly what I need.”
1985 – 1989: The advent of the computer system
Thanks to its successful endeavors and healthy growth during the ‘70s, the company is now able to offer travel destinations throughout Europe. The processing of bookings by typewriter and letter is very cumbersome. A Telex connection is the latest big thing, and the first generation of in-house software is being developed.
1990 – 1993: Acquisition of IATA license
The ever-expanding market triggered by the East German travel boom following the fall of the Berlin Wall requires a flexible approach. In addition to its classic bus travel destinations in Europe, SERVICE-REISEN offers travel worldwide. Following the acquisition of an IATA license and the publication of the company’s own air travel catalog, the number of employees is steadily rising. In 1993, the company is expanded to include a new office building in Rödgener Straße.
1997: 25 years of SERVICE-REISEN: www.servicereisen.de and bringing the Joker to life
“Ein Viertel Jahrhundert im Zeichen von moderner Reisekultur”, or: “A quarter of a century at the service of modern travel culture” as we would say in English. Under this slogan, the 25th anniversary editions of the group travel and flight catalogs were published. In addition and for the first time, a special catalog with tailored travel ideas for small groups was also brought out. Service is becoming an increasingly important selling point. In the fall of 1997 SERVICE-REISEN launched a new venture: the SERVICE-REISEN Joker Service, which plans, organizes and coordinates in-house exhibitions and presentations for customers. The Joker Service is staffed by professionals from SERVICE-REISEN’s customer care department. Thanks to professional presentations, entertainment and state-of-the-art technology, makes every sales event one to remember. The website www.servicereisen.de can now be accessed worldwide; 20 years on, it’s one of the company's most important sales channels.
2000 – 2001: A new era begins
The turn of the millennium sees a change of hands for SERVICE-REISEN: following the death of Karl Heyne Seniors, siblings Kristiane Heyne-Strauch and Karl Heyne take over the company management. Both work hard to lead the company into modern times - and succeed. A intensive period of growth begins, opportunities are bravely tackled, innovative ideas are implemented. And not only in new currencies: this is also the first time that the group catalog – at that time, still in its characteristic yellow– is published at more than 400 pages thick.
2008: Service-Reisen turns 35
Whether “Alles in einem”(“all in one”), “Easy go” or “Einfach mehr Reisen” (“Simply more travel”) – SERVICE-REISEN was, and still is, all about the program. In 2008, the catalog is given a makeover in red; with 544 options to choose from, it’s the most extensive on the packaging market. The number of employees exceeds 120, and a highly effective new “free spot rule” is introduced. Under the slogans “Service, der auf keiner Rechnung steht” (“Service you won’t find on any invoice”), “darf es etwas mehr sein?” (“Perhaps something more?”) and “anders als alle anderen und besser" (“Different and better than all the rest”), the company continues to succeed and grow.
2009: SRG hotel categories are introduced
In 2009, the company introduced its own hotel classification system – a further service for customers seeking a better quality overview. The hotel scouts from SERVICE-REISEN inspect 24,000 hotels and rate them according to strict criteria. The benefits include better hotel quality, transparency and a more finely graded scale that makes the customer’s job easier. In 2012, the company received an innovation award from the industry magazine busplaner.
2010 – 2011: Groundbreaking for third building
The groundbreaking ceremony for the third company building took place on June 30, 2010. By summer, it was ready for use. Modern workspaces with height-adjustable desks and plenty of light and space provide an ideal environment for the birth of creative travel ideas.
2013: The company celebrates its 40th anniversary
In fact, this year saw not one, but three big celebrations. Spring is all about the “tulip baptism”, a celebration of SERVICE-REISEN’s unique tulip on the Keukenhof garden’s “Walk of Fame”. The red flower blooms there in honor of the company’s work.
In summer, SERVICE-REISEN heads for the industry’s largest trade fair, the RDA in Cologne, where big celebrations are held in the Hard Rock Cafe Cologne. Customers, service providers and 150 employees are invited – and it’s an unforgettable event for everyone in attendance.
In the autumn, a third celebration is held in the form of “SERVICE-REISEN Inside”. With numerous creative ideas, attendees are invited for a magical day behind the scenes of the company.
In addition to these celebrations, numerous important aid projects also lay very close to SERVICE-REISEN’s heart. Together with its clients, the company provided support for an orphanage, a school and a kindergarten in Morocco, Tunisia and Romania.
2013 – 2016
Additional services are added to the SERVICE-REISEN portfolio. Thanks to partnerships with Hanse Merkur Versicherung, busreisen24.com, Quietvox and others, the company’s very own map app and its recognition by the quality assessment body Service Qualität Deutschland, the innovative ideas of SERVICE-REISEN continue to deliver crucial advantages to its customers. In the spirit of “online first”, the company’s social media channels are becoming increasingly important and its fans on Facebook have exceeded the 1000 mark. The Joker is 20 years old and has broken all records, with over 200 customer events a year rising.
After almost 45 years, SERVICE-REISEN gets a makeover. A revamped website - featuring new search filters and sort options, a chat function and improved navigation - was launched over Whitsun weekend. Customers have enjoyed a new way of planning their travels in the form of the idea wheel, and the company is modernizing its image with a new logo – naturally, with service still in the spotlight.
Finally, in January 2018, the English website soft launched to give international customers and suppliers an appealing online contact for the company.