On the island of Poreč, Sv. Nikola opened yesterday the conference Hotel Operations Weekend - the first festival in Europe on the topic of hotel operations. This year, the festival gathered more than 570 participants and over 50 speakers in 20 panel discussions and presentations at which the participants were introduced to the latest world trends in hotel operations.
The goal of the HOW Festival is to bring together representatives of tourism and hotel management from the entire region, present international trends in hotel operations and examples of good practice, facilitate the implementation of new products and services and ensure entertainment and networking of participants.
Two important topics were the focus of the first day and the panel as part of the HOW Festival
The first was revenue management and the risk of lower prices, and the second was the importance of investing in human resources, that is, do we know how to say “thank you” to employees. Simple, and so important and neglected.
Mirella Premeru from Valamar Riviera, Regis Morin from Point A Hotels by Queensway Group and Cahit Sahin from the Turkish Montgomery Maxx Royal Golf Club discovered how they manage revenues in their companies and what technologies they use.
She pointed out to the Prime Minister that the role of the revenue manager in Valamar is quite traditional by definition and is actually a kind of compass for marketing and sales and the development of their strategy. Morin emphasized that they have more hotels in the United Kingdom, and the manager has the role of a revenue generator for them. In the conversation, they mentioned the trend from the last two to three years, according to which guests book more and more later, there are more and more last minute reservations, especially in Britain, where Brexit has changed everything. They have to adapt to that, they pointed out.
The main debate was about lowering prices when demand fell. Morin said that they do not lower prices and do not give discounts, because they reduce the value of their products. Sahin also agreed with him, talking about his resort in Antalya. However, there are situations when they have no other choice, so Morin mentioned the example of their hotel in Glasgow which worked well until other hotels opened. A large number of new rooms were "killed" by the market, so they had to lower prices by as much as 50 percent, which was a "slap in the face", said Morin.
During the panel, Turkey was constantly mentioned as a competitor, and all participants together concluded that in the long run, lowering prices is not good.
The future and role of revenue managers, as the panelists pointed out, hope to be more market-focused than mathematical analysis. She added to the example that this will happen in Croatia maybe only in five to ten years. Other panelists added that there is no need to be afraid of new technologies in revenue management.
The President of the Management Board of Aminess Hotels and Camps from Novigrad, Zrinka Bokulić, was the moderator of the panel, which is still a burning topic in Croatia - how to attract and retain labor, especially professionals, and whether employers are able to say "thank you" to employees.
The shortage of manpower in the future will be even more pronounced, and it was discussed by colleagues dealing with human resources, Gordana Frgačić from Pevec, Gordana Kolenko from BHV Consulting and Marija Lekić from the Belgrade hotelier Mona Hospitality.
Investing in people is many times more profitable and just as important as investing in hardware. Frgačić presented all the changes that have taken place in Pevec in the last three years - from bankruptcy to changes in the entire Management and top management, and, at the same time, different policies towards employees, which ultimately resulted in a huge reduction in employee turnover.
Education is important to them because they are opening new shopping malls and they need a loyal workforce. Therefore, the entire Management Board visits the shopping centers, talks quite openly with the workers in all the centers who are in direct contact with customers, asks them what they need and what problems they have, and in the end it is solved. They give people security, they thank them for their efforts, which together brought positive results.
Lekić explained that they are adapting to the workers because they are opening new hotels and the need for employees is constantly growing. They have managed to reduce the turnover of workers in various ways, primarily by treating those who have worked for them for a long time differently and those who are very young. They noticed that young people today say very directly what they want and their basic motive for employment is security, that the salary is regular, that they have a hot meal and that they know exactly when they will have a vacation. They watch how they are treated starting from the interview, and in order to work with guests in hotels, they have to stay in it themselves, in rooms and restaurants so that they can know what service they offer.
Kolenko presented the research that her company did with seasonal workers - receptionists in a large Croatian hotel that have been working in it for two and a half to three and a half years. It turned out that the most important thing for employees is advancement, to enable them a permanent career and development (which they cannot have if they are seasonal) and that their opinion is valued. Only after that was a good salary on the priority list.
They concluded that any recruitment competition is actually a promotion of the company, and that today’s human resources departments are most concerned with how to attract and retain workers.
Today, Friday, the conference will address social media topics and their importance in sales and marketing, then the quality of wi-fi in hotels, new trends in hotel households, and will be about communication with guests and creative concepts in the food and beverage departments.