TSBG Families The Flaggls
If you want to think and act in a visionary way, you have to venture into unknown, new territory, but some visionaries also have to set out for new heights. One family that has literally done this and thus laid the foundation for a very special and unique Styrian company is the Flaggls family from Stubenberg am See. Ballooning has played a role in the family for over 40 years. Back then, when the region was looking for a new tourist offer to extend the holiday season, they came up with the idea of organising a balloon week, inviting balloon teams from Germany. What started as an unusual idea became a big success, with everyone in the Stubenberg am See region pulling together. It was then that Peter Flaggl Senior, one of the founding members of the new balloon club, completed his training as a balloonist.
The desire to be high up in the air always guided him, which is why he organised meetings and large events in addition to ballooning, such as the European Balloon Championships in 1986 and 1996, as well as the Balloon World Championships in 1987 and the Hot air Airship World Championships in 2000.
In 1995, the passion of the family was turned into a company, the FLAGGL Ballooning GmbH. From then on, things took a steep upward turn and the company is now one of the largest ballooning companies in Europe.
The family’s second pillar, however, has an even longer tradition. For six generations, the family has run the Hotel Apfelwirt in Stubenberg am See, including an orchard. The hotel itself is located directly on the eight-hectare orchard, the name says it all. The foundation walls of this traditional business were built as early as 1517, then in 1881 the Apfelwirt Inn was founded with an adjoining butcher’s shop. Since 2010, it has been run by the family as a bed-and-breakfast hotel without any other inn operation. Thus, guests are offered an all-round service, from overnight accommodation to adventurous balloon flights high above the beautiful landscape characterized by apple orchards.
Of course, the borders of Eastern Styria are quickly left behind by balloon, and so the Flaggls also offer Alpine flights, the so-called “summit meetings”, as well as a unique Alpine crossing from the northern edge of the Alps to Italy.
The Flaggl balloons are also prominently represented at top events such as the AirPower, the Hahnenkamm Race or the Schladming Night Race and in films and TV series.
Today, the company is run by the brothers Andreas and Peter Flaggl. Both take on tasks in the hotel as well as in the ballooning business. Andreas Flaggl graduated from the tourism schools in Bad Gleichenberg in 1998 and even though he usually likes to look forward, he also likes to think back to his time in Gleichenberg. The Hotel Apfelwirt, as well as the FLAGGL Ballooning GmbH, are traditional family businesses and are successfully run with a lot of enthusiasm.
But the success of the family has many faces. Five of them are already graduates of the Tourism Schools Bad Gleichenberg. Although not all of them work in the family business, they are nevertheless very successful in different positions and different companies operating on an international level. In addition to Andreas Flaggl, Grete Flaggl also attended the hotel management school over 50 years ago, then worked in the family business and is now enjoying her retirement. Natascha Flaggl attended the Higher School of Tourism in the late eighties and runs a riding stable in Ebreichsdorf, Lower Austria now. Christoph Flaggl and his wife Claudia Flaggl graduated from the Higher School of Tourism in 2003 and are now very successful in the Ritz Carlton Group and in the Österreich Werbung in Berlin. The sixth Flaggl in our TSBG family, Anna Flaggl, is currently in the final year of her training in Bad Gleichenberg and will take her school-leaving exams this year.
The entrepreneurial future of the Apfelwirt and the Flaggl Balloning GmbH is therefore well secured as far as the next generation is concerned and can set off to new and further heights.
Grete Flaggl: 1968 – 1971 /Hotel Management School (retired – she worked in the family business before)
“As the daughter of a tourism business, being host was a foregone conclusion. The training in Bad Gleichenberg was crucial to get prepared for my job in the guest service, which I carried out with enthusiasm.”
Natascha Flaggl: 1987 – 1992 / Higher School of Tourism (runs a riding stable in Ebreichsdorf)
“I turned my hobby into a profession. I learned the basics of running a business in Bad Gleichenberg.”
Andreas Flaggl: 1993 – 1998 / Higher School of Tourism (runs the family business together with his brother)
“I look back on my time in Bad Gleichenberg with pleasure. Not only the training, but the whole experience – it was a school for life.
Take off with us and expand your horizons aboard of one of our hot air balloons.”
Christoph Flaggl: 1998 – 2003 / Higher School of Tourism (Director of Operations – The Ritz-Carlton, Berlin)
“During my time in Gleichenberg I made friends for life. Culinary delights, wine and boarding school usually bring people together.
Claudia Flaggl: 1998 – 2003 / Higher School of Tourism (Senior Online Marketing Manager – Österreich Werbung)
“I have a quote that everyone likes to hear: No matter where, or in what professions people end up, people of Gleichenberg always remain like-minded, even if they don’t know each other at all.”
Anna Flaggl: 2018 – until now /Higher School of Tourism (student)
“As the sixth in my family, I am also a student and soon to graduate from the Tourism Schools Bad Gleichenberg. With this education, all doors in the world are open to me and I am already excited about where my path will take me after school. What I already know is that after a few years of work experience abroad, I would like to return home to take over our family business.”