Aleksey Abasov: Here, in Kyiv, we have created a unique project
In the near future, re-branding process of the most promising project in the area of commercial real estate and hotel industry in Ukraine – Mercure Kyiv Congress Hotel – will be completed
In the near future, re-branding process of the most promising project in the area of commercial real estate and hotel industry in Ukraine – Mercure Kyiv Congress Hotel – will be completed. We have discussed the project creation and the situation in the hotel business in Ukraine with the ideologist and manager of the project, Aleksei Abasov who possesses various awards and prizes for implemented projects in the hotel industry.
Aleksei, you have implemented a lot of projects over the past few years, how did you manage to do this? Where do you find strength for this? What’s the secret?
The secret is pretty simple. It is necessary to love what you are doing, literally live for it, and then you will always find strength.
Why was the brand Mercure of Accor hotel chain chosen for Kyiv?
Each brand is unique and it takes a lot of time to explore it. There was no time for the new project in Kyiv; therefore, we decided to follow past practices. The brand Mercure is well known. 3 years ago in Riga, Mercure Riga Centre hotel was opened. Nowadays, it is one of flagships of these hotels around the world. We have thoroughly studied the product, so there are no difficulties in the process of re-branding and opening of a hotel under Mercure brand. The brand will fit well in this hotel, as it combines various experiences and allows focusing on corporate and individual business clients, as well as on tourists.
The process of re-branding differs from the process of creating a product from scratch. What is the main difference?
These are absolutely different processes, each having its advantages and disadvantages. When opening a hotel from scratch, you should develop the project concept, building architecture, design and IT solutions; you lay out engineering communications for the needs of the brand taking into account further targeting. You have an opportunity to create a team according to your vision, to conduct trainings, to start work. This is undoubtedly an advantage. But there is also a disadvantage: it’s always difficult to get the work started; there are various technical difficulties in the first six months. Moreover, many corporate clients prefer seeing the product first and only then decide on cooperation.
The re-branding process should be organized so that the hotel work was continued, and the clients felt no changes. That is the difficulty. The advantage, of course, is that everything is technically settled, and the new team is introduced into the operating organization. For example, the main problem in the project implementation was absolute discrepancy between fire safety requirements of the brand and the Ukrainian statutory provisions. Fire safety requirements of the brand are more stringent and, as a matter of fact, no other steps for integration could be taken without fulfillment of this very requirement. For Accor chain it is the number one issue, so our plans to finish re-branding in summer were postponed, as much had to be changed.
At what stage is the re-branding process now?
The project is implemented at 85%. All the technical requirements are met, the rooms are equipped according to the standards, necessary trainings for the staff have been conducted, and the hotel is connected to all sales and marketing channels; the congress center that is located on 5 thousand square meters is ready for reception of business clients. The only thing left to do is to implement the design project of public zones under Mercure brand and to change design of one of the floors of the congress center. The design project was developed jointly by the European design bureau and experts of Accor hotel chain. We are planning to finish everything before the New Year.
Could you please be more specific about ideas that you are planning to implement in the design project?
The main idea of design is cinematography. Earlier, the development of all chain hotel projects was based on the concept that the client, when visiting various cities of the world, saw the same design and got the same service. This gave the guest understanding why he/she chooses this brand. In recent years, Mercure brand took the slogan “People and Place” as a basis for its development, thereby making each hotel unique, taking into account the history, traditions and location of each particular hotel.
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