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Tbilisi Marriott Hotel Celebrated its 10-Year Anniversary

Published: December 3, 2012 | 11:14 am
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General Manager: “Marriott brand and corporate culture is all about creating unmatched hospitality experience worldwide.”

Tbilisi Marriott Hotel, one of the leading global luxury hotel brands presented in Georgia, celebrated its 10-year anniversary. Over 400 people congratulated the brand on its happy jubilee. The COMMERCIAL TIMES interviewed George Togonidze, General Manager of the  Tbilisi Marriott Hotel, regarding the hotel’s development history through the years on the local market and future development plans.

The COMMERCIAL TIMES

- On November 27 Tbilisi Marriott Hotel celebrated its ten year anniversary of operating on the Georgian market. How delighted are you with the event?

- From the feedback we received from our dear guests and friends, the event was one of the most successful ones, organized by our company in Georgia. We hosted over 400 people and hope every one of our visitors took back an unforgettable experience and memory about our 10 year anniversary event. Our building was illuminated in red (as corporate color of Marriott) and two fairytale-like ladies standing on tall podiums – also dressed in long red dresses were greeting our guests upon entrance to the hotel. Reception area was decorated in colorful flowers and center-piece arrangement was a huge number “10” carved and covered all with dark red roses.

Lobby area was transformed into a real fairy-tale experience where lighting effects and laser show created a magical atmosphere in the lobby, where angels, butterflies and figures were “dancing” on the walls and the ceiling of our lobby. Our Parnas Café was transformed into a fabulous lounge and the restaurant became a majestic-style royal court. Big feast table was decorated with beautiful flowers and food from all over the world. Lobster, caviar, Spanish ham, salt-crusted whole fish, traditional Georgian suckling pig, roasted turkey, duck, royal hours douvres  and endless desserts.  Even the most demanding and sophisticated gourmands had an unforgettable dining experience.

Another highlight of the event was the 10 year anniversary cake – created by our pastry chef, Mr. Temur Gigauri, which without any exaggeration became the most popular photo-taking spot during the entire evening. The cake was created in the actual shape and form of our Tbilisi Marriott Hotel, in its full glory and tiniest of details being reflected on the cake, such as lighting, flags, entrance carpets, balconies and windows. The cake was measuring almost one meter in length and stood one meter tall.

I would like to take this opportunity and thank our guests, all who attended the event and also those who could not come, all our associates who spent few sleepless nights, making sure the event would be a great success. Special recognition also goes to the owner company – GMT Group, which rebuilt the hotel to its full glory and made it a symbol of hospitality in Tbilisi. Also our gratitude goes to Tricolor Company that organized the event and made it into a truly unforgettable experience.

- Looking back at Tbilisi Marriott development in Georgia, could you please recall the global hotel giant’s local history top highlights?

- The highlight of our successful history is each and every guest who leaves our hotels with memorable experience and willingness to return to our hotels. Tbilisi Marriott Hotel consistently ranks amongst the top hotels in the continent with one of the highest guest satisfaction index. We are proud of our associates, without whom success could not have been achieved. We are lucky to have strong support from our Marriott regional team, who frequently visit us and contribute to successful operation of our hotels.

As for the highlights, I would not want to leave any names behind and for this purpose will only mention that Tbilisi Marriott Hotel hosted almost 400,000 guests, amongst them Presidents, Heads of States of over 45 countries, famous Hollywood stars, international pop and movie stars, world-famous composers, producers, opera singers, sports clubs and many, many more – in which we take pride and joy.

- How would you describe Marriott brand?

- Marriott currently operates over 4000 hotels worldwide and I would say, it’s the most successful international and global hotel operator in the world. Marriott brand and corporate culture is all about creating unmatched hospitality experience worldwide. We believe and dedicate our efforts in developing our employees where they have lot of opportunities for successful career development. Marriott philosophy revolves around four pillars that are: our employees, our guests, Marriott shareholders, owners and local community. This year our brand recently celebrated 85th anniversary since its founding and may I add that this has been a very successful 85 years of operation, where it all started with one small root beer restaurant and grew into a true global leader in the hospitality industry with over 4000 hotels worldwide.

- Marriott is a world-known brand and it is more than welcome while entering a new market. Still, what were the main branding awareness campaigns you conducted in the local market initially?

- Our branding and marketing is our people. Our employees are the face of our brand and hospitality. Our guests are our best marketing as we never underestimate the power of word-of-mouth marketing. Our satisfied guests not only return to our property, but tell about their experiences to their colleagues and friends and refer them to us. Marriott global presence and distribution, as well as Marriott Reservation System is also a very powerful tool in increasing our global awareness. Our website – marriott.com is the leader in the industry in terms of innovation, friendliness, and most technologically advanced site within the industry, which is also available in most international languages.

- As for competition, how would you assess the local market as far as the luxury hotels industry is concerned?

- Thank you for qualifying us into the “luxury” tier. Indeed in the local market we are perceived as the most luxurious hotel in the city (and also in the country), which only makes us ever more willing to outperform our competition. I need to acknowledge other wonderful international hotel chains in the city, such as Radisson Blu, Sheraton and Holiday Inn, which are all greatly contributing to promoting Tbilisi and Georgia as a destination. All those hotels add great value to the hospitality industry in Georgia and thanks to them we see constant improvement of hospitality standards in the city and entire country.

- Do you have intensions to expand to Batumi or other big cities in Georgia?

- Marriott, as a company has a very aggressive growth target for European Continent (as well as other parts of the world). Since the opening of the first Marriott hotel in Europe, which was in Amsterdam in 1975, Marriott grew with total of 40,000 rooms in the continent by year 2010. Company’s goal is to double that number in size by the end of 2015, which means lot of new hotels in lot of existing and new cities in of our continent. Therefore, we are open to consider many new destinations within the country, as long as new projects are approved by our regional headquarters and our regional development team.

- How important is Georgia for Marriott brand? How cost-effective is for the global brand to run business in a relatively small country?

- Marriott has presence in even smaller countries than Georgia. Size of a country is not as relevant, as actual demand the city and/or the location can generate for the hotel. Georgia has enormous potential in tourism as the country offers almost everything that tourist can wish for. As long as we, Georgians remain as hospitable as we are and the country focuses on creating and improving local infrastructure, Georgia will always remain as an exciting destination to the rest of the world.

- People in Georgia still complain about service quality in the country. What would your recommendations, as of a renowned brand, be for running a good service management?

- It all goes down to human factor. In this field, we as a nation already have an advantage, as hospitality is in our blood. Yet even those skills that come natural, still need training and sustainable development. Its one thing to like hosting guests in your own home, but completely different in terms of establishing and maintaining highest level of standards in hygiene, food safety, life and health safety aspects and other fields of operation of the hotel. We host guests from different national, ethnic, religious and cultural backgrounds and to keep them all happy and satisfied it requires standardized procedures that ensure the highest level of quality in every aspect related to guest satisfaction. Continuous training of associates is the core of any success and is an essential contributor to country-wide improvement of hospitality industry.

- What are you plans for 2013?

- Mr. Bill Marriott once said: Success is never final. We can always improve further and become even more successful hotel operators for our guests, employees, owners, shareholders, and community.

- Have you already planned Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year celebration events? What will it be like?

- We are in the planning process right now. One thing will not change – whatever we do, it will be the best and of the highest standard. The rest we will announce by December 15th. May I take this opportunity and wish Merry Christmas and a Happy new Year to you, all your readers, to our country and to our guests and employees.

 

 

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