We Move Heaven and Earth to Give a Guest What They So Desire
Kamchatka is increasingly popular with tourists from all over Russia and beyond. Even though spending a holiday on the peninsula may be tough on your wallet, this doesn't stop the tens of thousands of travellers who come here with a dream of seeing volcanoes or the Valley of Geysers with their own eyes. There has been an increase in the number of well-to-do tourists, people used to a high class of service. This level of service can be offered in Kamchatka despite the fact that there has clearly been a shortage of hotels working with VIP customers in the region for a while. We talked about the VIP tourist services market with Sergei Tikhonov, general director of Russo-Balt Northern Adventure Hotel.
– The Russo-Balt Northern Adventure Hotel is the first project in Kamchatka in the hospitality sector aimed at providing an increased comfort level for the peninsula's guests. In your opinion, what is the current demand for the VIP hotel sector in the territory?
– The VIP segment has existed on the tourist services market in Kamchatka for many years. However, naturally, there isn't sufficient high-quality accommodation that meets the requirements of VIP guests. It's no secret that the tourist season here could last the year round with the exception of a couple of transitional months such as November and February. What's more, the interest in the areas of natural beauty the peninsula has to offer has grown significantly in the past years among both domestic and foreign tourists. Sometimes, it is a monumental task to find accommodation for everyone. This especially concerns VIP guests during peak season. So, it's clear we need this category of hotels.
– What are the peculiar features of developing VIP tourist service programmes?
– When arranging stays for VIP guests, we pay particular attention to special requirements and an individual approach. It might be only one or two people or a group but we work on every detail providing everything they request. We encounter all sorts of people and demands and we move heaven and earth to give a guest what they so desire. Professionalism dictates that when a VIP guest visits for the first time, you are already aware of their food preferences, have information on allergies, physical fitness levels, and know what to focus on.
– Working in the VIP segment means always exceeding expectations. What are the principal demands that you have for your work?
– Precise planning. Flexibility and loyalty. This is paramount. We set the bar rather high from the beginning and our main goal is to avoid slipping back. It's important to remain stable and continue pleasing the guests that come to the peninsula.
– How is the personnel trained? Is there a system of requirements, training, or a mentoring programme for the hotel's staff?
– We hire employees with specialised training in the sphere. Service-oriented employees are worth their weight in gold. We offer annual advanced and specialised training programs as required. Our hotel aims to earn certification by 2020. When we declare that we are a 5-star establishment, we are laying a lot of importance on the qualifications of our personnel. Just like good performers, we are always positive, we aim to please, care, and pay attention to your needs.
– What trends is your hotel setting in the Kamchatka hospitality business? What development prospects do you see in the near future?
– Our main indicator is the number of returning guests. Therefore, we do our jobs and improve based on our experience and guests' wishes. Our guests often say "we shall be sure to return and if anyone visits Kamchatka, they must stay with you," which motivates us, sets our mood, and helps us look to the future. We have plans to develop year-round VIP tourism, and participate in joint projects with the Kamchatka Exhibition and Investment Centre.
– Was it difficult for you to be the first player in the VIP sector on the tourist services market?
– Frequently, trend-setters have no idea they will end up being at the forefront. We simply started out and did our best to be good at our jobs. Guests notice this and value it a lot.