The FINANCIAL -- With USD 13 million, one of the leading Azerbaijani investment groups - Gemikaya Holding - has brought the hotel Divan Suites Batumi to the Georgian market. Batumi will become the top destination for leisure in the Caucasus and Central Asia, believes the management of the hotel. Meanwhile, the market still requires the opening of shopping centres given how important they are to the Arab population. With the promotion of MICE events in the city, and together with diversified flights, Batumi can become a successful four-season destination.
Against the background of reducing FDI in Georgia in the first six months of the current year, the FDI volume in the Adjara region has shown 24.2% growth. According to the Ministry of Finance and Economy of the Adjara Region, the volume of attracted investments amounted to USD 114.4 million in the first half of the current year. The figure was USD 92.1 million in the prior-year period.
With 41.1%, tourism has been the top most attractive sector for investors in January-June 2014. Tourism is followed by construction with USD 38.5%, the energy sector with 14.5%, agriculture - 1%, and industry - 0.5%.
“Batumi will, in the very near future, become the capital for the leisure market of the Caucasus and of central Asia,” Bulent Aykut Suzer, General Manager at Divan Suites Batumi, told The FINANCIAL.
To be an ideal resort destination, Suzer suggests having facilities for both the luxury and middle segments of society. “Batumi has all the facilities needed for both these segments except for adequate shopping centres. After the completion of upcoming shopping centre projects, I am confident that Batumi will become a more preferable destination for the luxury segment. As you know, shopping centres are very important to Arabs. With the upcoming new hotel projects for the luxury segment, Batumi will then have sufficient bed capacity,” Suzer said.
In Suzer’s words, festivals are also very important for the Batumi hotel market, during which time the demand for accommodation significantly increases. Meanwhile, he adds that in order to host big festivals Batumi requires a greater bed capacity.
“Tbilisi’s Government should support Batumi by holding more MICE events there. Actually we are very optimistic about the future of Batumi. In addition, there should also be more flights to Batumi from different destinations during all four seasons of the year,” said Suzer.
The third hotel that Divan Group has opened outside of Turkey is in Batumi. The Group has 15 hotels in total, 12 of them in Turkey and 3 of them outside of Turkey.
The total volume of investments per hotel varies in accordance with the individual hotel’s concept and location. For Divan Suites Batumi the Group invested USD 13,000,000.
Divan Suites Batumi was invested in by Gemikaya Holding. Divan Suites Batumi is the second project to be worked on between Gemikaya Holding and Divan Group. The first project was Divan Express Baku which was opened in 2012.
Gemikaya Holding also have a furniture factory in Batumi. Showrooms for the furniture brand Glorya are located in Kobuleti, Kutaisi and Tbilisi. The investment volume in the factory amounts to almost USD 15,000,000.
“We are the first branded hotel to open in the old Batumi region. Divan Suites Batumi has a boutique hotel concept with 65 rooms. Divan Suites Batumi has brought the concept of a high standard of service to Batumi, which can be called a crossroads of history and culture,” said Suzer.
“We are planning to be a part of Batumi’s tourism. We will be very happy to serve Batumi’s tourism industry. We would like to maintain the very high satisfaction level with our service standard and team. We would like to provide the opportunity to all people to discover Batumi through us. For us, quality is not an option, it is a necessity,” said Suzer.
The average room occupancy rate of Divan Suites Batumi during summer 2014 was 70%. The majority of guests were from Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and Azerbaijan.
Since the Black Sea resorts are mostly only filled during peak seasons, Divan Suites Batumi expects 40% room occupancy during the off-season.
The low level of service quality still remains one of the main challenges for the HoReCa sector in Georgia. “Improving service quality is possible with a professional mentality. HoReCa is a promising sector in Georgia. Education, patience and hard work are what bring success. People in the HoReCa sector should know that success brings career advancements for people,” said Suzer.
While sharing his own experience of high standard service, Suzer said that they never watch the clock. “We like our jobs and we are training our staff to achieve the utmost level of professionalism so as to satisfy all our guests’ expectations. If you are watching the clock, you lose. You cannot be limited. You should strive to do your best in your business and love your business, otherwise you cannot be successful. The secret is this: to be a hard worker and to love your job. With that combination of factors, success comes automatically.”
“We are trying to make a personalized service for all our guests. The demands and requests of our guests are a part of our business. Our team tries to meet all guests’ requests with professionalism,” Suzer added.
Divan Suites Batumi features 39 Standard Rooms, 8 Superior Rooms, 5 Deluxe Rooms, 3 Junior Suites, 6 Corner Suites, 2 Business Suites and 2 Penthouse Tower Suites designed to exceed the expectations of business and leisure travellers alike.
“Divan Suites Batumi offers complimentary wireless throughout the hotel and business travellers will appreciate the comfortable working environment, away from everyday noise and crowds but still at the heart of Batumi. Leisure travellers will enjoy the hotel’s outstanding proximity not only to the beach but also to Batumi’s best shopping and historic sites, as well as popular restaurants, bars and, during the summer season, the most pleasant outdoor cafés,” said Suzer.
“Divan Suites Batumi also provides a fully-equipped Spa & Fitness Centre. Batumi is an exciting and fast-growing tourism destination that has earned praise from the top travel magazines. Featuring Divan’s signature dining options including a Divan Pub, as well as a gourmet corner displaying Divan’s famous chocolates, Divan Suites Batumi is also the city’s most elegant address for meetings and special events, like banqueting events,” he added.
The hotel has already planned a New Year’s Eve programme. “It is planned for there to be an unforgettable atmosphere with motion show elements: live music/band, pantomime plays, entertaining dancing additions, and a DJ performing until morning,” said Suzer. In addition “an important part of the evening will be the chance to win Divan Suites Batumi’s 2 day free double accommodation voucher including a free 45 minute body massage that will be presented to the most active guest of the evening,” Suzer told The FINANCIAL.