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Radisson Blu Iveria Hotel Continues Competitive Hospitality Business with a New General Manager

Published: May 14, 2012 | 8:44 am
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The COMMERCIAL TIMES

General Manager of the Radisson Blu Iveria: “Yes I Can” is our philosophy and our way of doing business – it changes the dynamics of everything we do.

Since April 17, one of the prominent hotels in Georgia, Radisson Blu Iveria, has a new General Manager – Mr. Michael Jacobi. Mr. Jacobi has a profound background in the hospitality industry, having worked for various international hotel companies in Germany, USA, Ireland, Qatar, Kuwait and Oman over the past 19 years. For the last 6 ½ years he lived and worked in the Middle East. The former GM of the hotel, Mr. Atakan Turhan who held this position since pre-opening of the hotel has  moved to the Park Inn by Radisson, Pulkovskaya in St. Petersburg.

The COMMERCIAL TIMES interviewed Mr. Michael Jacobi, the new General Manager, to acquire information about the possible changes in management and future plans.

- What will be the changes in management of the hotel?

- One of the positive aspects of being part of the Rezidor Hotel Group is that when we change General Managers, it does not necessarily mean that there will be significant changes in the management itself. As we are an international management company, we make such changes relatively often. Approx every 3 years we change GMs. Introducing change of course depends very much on the performance of the hotel and this specific hotel here in Tbilisi is a very fine property which is showing very good results since the opening. It is well-established, perfectly positioned, operated by an excellent team, so it does not require someone to come in and transform it into something else.

To be honest, I don’t see anything to change in the management, but of course whenever there is a change in leadership, we inevitably encounter different styles and approaches, which is excellent and most definitely necessary on this exciting journey as the property has to develop and evolve to ensure future success. So, I believe that it can be positive to change direction in small proportions to align ourselves with the changes in the country and our immediate environment. My objective is to continue the good work that has been done so far and give my colleagues the support to succeed in their roles.

- In which hotel lines have you worked in previously and on which positions?

- I have traveled extensively ever since completing my Hotel Management training in 1996. The last 6 and a half years I spent in the Middle East. In September 2008 I joined the Rezidor Hotel Group as Executive Assistant Manager at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Kuwait. In November 2009, I was promoted to General Manager of Radisson Blu Hotel in Muscat, Oman. I went through the company’s mentor-mentee program, which is our internal program to develop General Managers, I did that in Kuwait for just over one year. The Mentor Mentee program pairs the company’s potential GMs with experienced GMs and throughout the program valuable information and experience is shared by the mentor. This program proves to be a success as 95% of our GMs are homegrown and considering the growth rate of the company, this is an incredible figure. It is also the reason why it is so simple and effective when it comes to changing General Managers. We all understand the system and are perfectly aware of the company’s culture.

- How would you assess the work of the previous General Manager Mr. Atakan Turhan?

I can only define Mr. Turhan’s work as impressive and remarkable, as I have seen numerous openings, which were not always so successful. Usually, the opening of a new hotel involves minor glitches here and there and a lengthy list of snags, which is absolutely normal. Even after the opening in a year or so you would usually experience a high turnover of employees due to the potential high workload and pressure during an opening. So, for Mr. Turhan, achieving what he has done here is extraordinary, because not only did he managed to open a fine hotel, but he also managed to build up an excellent team, which is one of the most important aspects in our business.

- From opening day the hotel was actively engaged in the Responsibility Business, in helping out socially vulnerable people: Child orphanages, shelters for old people, etc. Will such activities continue under new management or are there any changes to come regarding this matter?

-  I can assure you that we will continue such activities as this is not something that we do only in Tbilisi, it is our company’s policy and strategy which is exercised in all our hotels, worldwide. We have an environmental policy in our hotels since 1989 driven at the time by the SAS Group and we launched our Radisson Blu environmental program in 1996. Our three key elements of the Responsible Business program are to look after the health and wellbeing of our employees and guests, to respect social and ethical issues in the company and in the community we operate in and to minimize our environmental footprint. In 2011 the Rezidor Hotel Group has been named one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies for the second year in a row.

We will continue to focus on our RB activities here in Tbilisi and we have some exciting activities lined up for the rest of the year.

- Radison Blu Iveria has won several awards in the previous years. Are there any specific awards that the hotel is aiming at?

- The most important reward for us is when our guests are satisfied completely and return to our hotels. But of course, besides that, it is always satisfying to receive an official award as it represents a sign of appreciation and you understand that the work was done in the most appropriate manner. I could not claim that there are specific awards that we are aiming at, but as any other hotel line we perceive any award as a further proof of our excellence, so we hope that our hotel will be recognized in future and we will do everything that it takes to achieve this goal.

- The brand image and philosophy ‘Yes I Can’ was a daily working routine for every employee, which means that each and every single colleague regardless of position level is empowered to make any decision in order to make a guest happy and satisfied. Will such policies continue to exist under the new management?

- “Yes I Can” is what we are – it is not a policy or a standard operating procedure, it is our attitude towards life in the hospitality business. We hire attitude and we train skills. If you don’t demonstrate a basic willingness to help and a positive attitude towards guests and colleagues, working in our hotels is not for you. “Yes I Can” does not mean that everything is possible, as obviously this statement would not be credible, but in the Radisson Blu Iveria, we try to satisfy our customers’ needs to the maximum and we will make sure that our guests leave satisfied. In fact, we guarantee 100% guest satisfaction in all our hotels – if a guest encounters a problem, brings it to the attention to one of our colleagues and if we are not able to fix it during your stay with us, he doesn’t have to pay. Our colleagues are empowered to make decisions, without having to refer to a supervisor or a manager. This enables us to act fast. “Yes I Can” is our philosophy and our way of doing business, it changes the dynamics of everything we do and separates us from the competition.

- Georgia is rapidly developing. Concerning the tourism business, there are several hotel lines, which are to be opened in the following years.  Do you assume that Radisson hotel line will be as competitive and popular in the future as it is now?

- It is the responsibility of the General Manager to ensure that the hotel evolves and stays competitive. The best way to beat competition is to offer guests an experience which is different, more creative and simply better value. In my opinion it is positive to have competition and Tbilisi needs some more international hotels. It is an incentive to move forward, develop, become better and it keeps us all on your toes. We have to be prepared for new hotels entering the market and we will have to continue to develop our team members and give them the tools they need to serve our guests best, this requires ongoing training and support.

 

 

 

 

 

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