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A Chain of Ukrainian Hospitality!
In September 2003, Ukraine's first hotel chain was established under the name Premier Hotels. The five-star Premier Palace Hotel in Kyiv, the four-star Oreanda Hotel in Yalta and the four-star Dnister Hotel in Lviv are the most well-known members of this chain and have the mission of creating a new “Slavic image” of the hotel business in Ukraine.
Premier International Ltd. General Director Iryna Sidletska, who also manages the Premier Hotels chain in Ukraine, spoke to us about the concept and the goals of this association.
Ms. Sidletska, how do you explain the establishment of this alliance of hotels of approximately the same class in terms of comfort and service? In view of the comparatively low influx of tourists to Ukraine from abroad, these hotels would seemingly have to be competitors.
At the very least, because these three hotels in the chain are geographically situated in different regions of Ukraine and each one of them occupies its own, fairly broad niche. If other hotels join our chain, for instance, other hotels in the capital, they would not become our competitors either since each will offer their own rates. The Premier Palace Hotel is, so far, the only five-star hotel in Kyiv and in all of Ukraine. Other hotels of a similar class are just starting to be built and will be managed by international hotel operators. Clearly, it is the arrival of these operators on the Ukrainian market that has been the catalyst in the establishment of our local chain of hotels. Over the course of a year or two, before such highly respected competitors appear on the local market, we must reach a level [of service] comparable to theirs in order to stay competitive.
What role does your company play in this chain?
Premier International Ltd. attracts new hotels to join the chain and is directly involved in promoting them on the local market. But this is not our only mission. The company also offers consulting services in hotel management and provides telecommunication services. Specifically, we develop special packages for equipping hotels with telephones, installing interactive television in hotel rooms and providing computer software in both to hotel rooms and services.
Are your consultants from Ukraine or from abroad?
Mostly, they are from Ukraine with extensive experience working in the Ukrainian hotel business and in leading foreign companies. At the same time, we maintain business and friendly contacts with Czech and Austrian hotel chains, we exchange with them information and experience, and, if need be, we invite their experts to Ukraine.
What is your approach to the fact that the world’s best-known international hotel chains unite hotels of more or less the same, very high class? Are you developing based on a different concept?
First of all, this is a false stereotype. Secondly, Premier Hotels in the future will only accept four- or five-star hotels. If three-star hotels join, they will go under a new, yet related brand name. Whichever class of rooms a guest chooses to stay in, they will always be confident that the quality corresponds to our rates.
What are the conditions for joining the Premier Hotels chain?
They are formed on membership fees and the number of rooms the hotel offers. There are many variants of cooperation, including participation in marketing programmes, management on contract (where the rights for management of a hotel are transferred to us), rent or even conveyance of ownership of that or another hotel. We can also offer programmes for advertising a hotel, develop a comprehensive programme for selling their services, and so on. Regardless of the closeness of our cooperation with hotels, they will function under the Premier Hotels brand name and take part in developing a common market policy.
What are the basic principles of this policy?
First and foremost, solidifying our position on the Ukrainian market. We must prove to all that we have high standards of quality and receive guests with the traditional Slavic friendliness and hospitality. It is widely known that one of the drawbacks of large international hotel chains is that they are absolutely devoid of any national colourfulness due to their unified approach. Moreover, their top managers are far from understanding the Ukrainian mentality.
Our second goal is promotion of our hotels and of Ukraine as a tourist nation on international markets. Reaching these goals by the efforts of one particular establishment is virtually impossible. In such efforts, we have the support of the Derzhturadministratsiya (State Tourist Administration) of Ukraine and we attend almost all tourism exhibitions in the world that are most important for Ukraine together with the administration.
And finally, we are developing and implementing programs of foreign tourism, which includes intensive and even rural tourism in Ukraine.
How’s business these days for each of the chain’s member hotels in Ukraine?
The Premier Palace Hotel in Kyiv will soon pleasantly surprise its avid followers. The fact is that the reconstruction of the second wing of the hotel is nearing completion and in March 2004 an additional 150 rooms will be opened, including Presidential Suites and Deluxe Rooms. An entire floor will be reserved for VIPs only and for the first time in Ukraine a separate check-in desk will be functional exclusively for them. In addition to this, a Japanese restaurant and a conference hall for 250 seats with sliding walls with other sophisticated features of modern European service will be open for hotel guests.
But the main thing is that the hotel will become more accessible to the general public as public events will be held here. The first such event will be the opening ceremony and a party celebrating the unveiling of the second wing of the hotel.
As for the Hotel Oreanda in Yalta, major reconstruction was completed two years ago. Now it has its own entertainment centre. Oreanda will remain a leading hotel among other resort facilities in Crimea with the beach and the wonderful subtropical parks of Yalta close by. It also has a reputation for its high-class conference centre.
At the moment, the Dnister Hotel in Lviv is very popular. It offers a balanced ratio between rates and quality and is very conveniently located in the downtown area of Lviv, next to the central park. This hotel underwent reconstruction in 1998, shortly before a meeting of the Board of Governors of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in Ukraine.
Our company is developing tourist incentive packages, which unite the three cities of Lviv, Kyiv and Yalta. Odesa will be included as well since it offers a convenient link by ship to Yalta. For clients, this is a wonderful opportunity for them to conduct their business and combine it with rest and relaxation for employees. For us, this is an opportunity to familiarize the world community with Ukraine as a tourist country.
Generally speaking, the Premier Hotels project is a wonderful way of combining the interests of Ukrainian hoteliers with the development of Ukrainian tourism.
Ms Sidletska was interviewed by Yevhen Budko
Premier International Ltd.
5-7/29 Shevchenko Boulevard, Kyiv, 01004, Ukraine
Tel.: 380 (44) 244-1244. Fax: 380 (44) 244-1453
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; http//www.premier-hotels.com.ua