The Business Year

Serhat Bash

General Manager, C Hotels & Resorts

This is a very lively and rapidly developing market at the moment, with international hotel chains investing in it and great potential in the short to medium term. Such a trend also attracts many foreign companies from the tourist sector, as well as other fields of the economy. Along with luxury tourism, Azerbaijan is experiencing very important growth in the business segment, which is also fueled by four- and five-star hotels, facilities that are playing a significant role in the development of the sector. Business tourists tend to select short-term accommodation, emphasizing location. C Hotels sees this need and we are implementing strategies to take the leading role in the sector. Baku is implementing many different large-scale projects that will make the city even more beautiful to the eyes of tourists visiting it, including new parks, shopping malls, boutiques, corniches, entertainment venues, luxury hotels, restaurants, cafés, and much more. Such factors are important in the race to build a city brand. It is vital to keep promoting the city through brochures, billboards, music and promotional films, marketing campaigns, and other means such as international exhibitions, fairs, and events like the European Olympic Games in 2015.

Tarek Mourad

General Manager, Four Seasons Hotel Baku

From day one, we always believed as a company that it is the quality of the guest experience that we provide that differentiates us from our competition, not just in Baku, but wherever we are. It is all about the people of Four Seasons, how they present themselves, and how they are so passionate about the service and the guests’ experience. We make sure that we take maximum care of our guests and always make them feel special and acknowledged when needed. We look after the small details and go the extra mile to make the guests’ stay memorable. The most important point is the constant desire to improve our involvement in the clients’ experience. We are always trying to be a better element in our customers’ experience. We are here to bring the true Four Seasons experience to the guests of Baku and Azerbaijan. The best value and the most exceptional experience that any Four Seasons around the world is providing to its guests, we are providing here and more. We have a great number of elements that support us to succeed in our mission. If you look at the hotel—the building itself—it is second to none. Internally and externally, this is one of the very best hotels I have ever seen in my life. The location is prime, with customers very close to the business center, overlooking the beautiful Caspian Sea, and the backyard of the amazing old city of Baku, and our big strategic partners are just across the street from the hotel.

Pierre Stacher

General Manager, Pierre Stacher

There are too many hotel rooms for the market, and this has a negative effect on occupancy rates. I have rarely been to a city in the world where the inventory of five-star hotel rooms moves from 400 rooms to 1,300 rooms in the space of such a short time. It is very hard for a city to absorb this kind of inventory increase. Lately, we have been receiving a lot of MICE visitors, and not so many traditional tourists. I think that until 2014 we will have a fairly quiet time in the hotel industry. We have excellent hotels in the city, but the average daily rate (ADR) of ‚¬160 is way below that of similarly sized cities, and this obviously affects our revenue. The local corporate accounts give all hotels good business and account for the major part of occupancies. We also receive a lot of conference business from ministries and local institutions. Our hotel’s location and facilities make it ideal for conferences and events. Leisure tourism is not very popular yet, mostly because of visa restrictions. There are many other countries that people can visit visa-free, and the five-star hotel sector loses out as a result. There are, however, discussions going on to implement an “e-visa“ program.



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