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The anniversary Saint Petersburg Hotel Forum highly ranked by authorities and industry specialists

The anniversary Saint Petersburg Hotel Forum highly ranked by authorities and industry specialists

The 5th anniversary St. Petersburg Hotel Forum was executed in the framework of INWETEX-CIS Travel Market International Travel Trade Fair and surpassed expectations of participants and organisers. During the face-to-face meetings state authorities and hoteliers discussed the most urgent issues, such as preparation for the World Cup and new hotel management formats under the current global conditions. The Forum was organised by the St. Petersburg Committee for Tourism Development with support of Saint Petersburg Express LLC (RESTEC® Group) and the North-West Division Office of the Russian Union of Travel Industry.

Representatives of federal authorities have commented on the 5th anniversary of the Hotel Forum: organisers and participants were addressed with a greeting of the Deputy Minister of Culture of the Russian Federation Alla Manilova who noted that intensive development of inbound and outbound tourism was impossible without establishment of hotel infrastructure in Russian regions. The Deputy Minister also wished participants and guests in her greeting “active discussions, efficient contacts and new ideas”.

Hoteliers expressed keen interest in attending the plenary session “On the run-up to the World Cup 2018. The state of hotel business in 11 entities of the Russian Federation. Requirements to accommodation facilities: state regulation and government support of the hotel industry”.

The session was opened with the speech by Gregory Sarishvili, Deputy Head of the Federal Agency for Tourism of the Russian Federation. He emphasized the importance and urgency of the Forum agenda on the run-up to the World Cup 2018 in various regions of Russia.

The head of the tourist infrastructure department Nokolai Isayev spoke on behalf of the Chairman of the St. Petersburg Committee for Tourism Development Inna Shalyto. He demonstrated hotel accommodation statistics (502 rooms within three quarters of 2014, exceeding the 2013 results – 303 rooms; the number of rooms has reached its historical peak of 1402 rooms in 2009). The speaker also mentioned that St. Petersburg features14 international hotel chains.

Nikolai Isayev also mentioned three accredited organisations responsible for hotel classification in advance of the World Cup: the North-West Division Office of the Russian Union of Travel Industry, Classification Centre LLC and Kaliningrad Centre “Kachestvo” OOO. All contact information is available at the St. Petersburg Committee for Tourism Development.

Sergei Shpilko, Head of the Committee for Tourism and the Hotel Industry of Moscow, President of the Russian Union of Travel Industry, demonstrated an informative presentation “On preparation of Moscow to the World Cup 2018”. He carried out a comparative analysis of hotel databases of the largest cities in Russia and Brazil (host country of the World Cup 2014) and assessed the hotel rooms’ capacity in Moscow for the period of football matches.

According to the head of the Committee for Tourism and the Hotel Industry of Moscow, 465 accommodation facilities in Moscow out of 626 will be subject to compulsory classification by 2018. Sergei Shpilko also presented some additional proposals by the Organising Committee for the World Cup regarding the tourist and information aspects of the event. Among them he mentioned development of special ‘tourist packages’ with information materials, opening of temporary tourist and information centres, training of volunteers and development of special mobile apps.

Lana Klyueva, Senior Operations Manager at BYROM plc, official accommodation agency for the FIFA Confederations Cup 2018 in Russia, was the key speaker at the St. Petersburg Hotel Forum.  During the morning session she spoke briefly on FIFA requirements to hotels, emphasized the importance and urgency of hotel classification systems in 11 entities of the Russian Federation by July 1, 2015. At the workshop she spoke on this issue in more detail to the audience of hoteliers.

Elmira Tukanova, Vice-President of National Association of Tourist and Information Organisations, Director of Sverdlovsk Tourism Development Centre, demonstrated the means of cooperation between state authorities and representatives of the travel industry, as well as classification specialists. Natalya Semenchuk, General Director of Kaliningrad Centre “Kachestvo” took up the topic by the example of the Kaliningrad Region.

Mikhail Ushakov, Director of National Association of Tourist and Information Organisations, uncovered the tips of efficient cooperation between hoteliers and representatives of the Federal Migration Service of Russia in respect to hotel classification.

At the close of the plenary session the range of hotels in St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region were awarded with the category of the first collective accommodation facilities to be occupied during the World Cup 2018 matches. St. Petersburg hotels were awarded with category certificates by Acting Head of the Federal Agency for Tourism of the Russian Federation Oleg Safonov; the two first classified hotels in the Leningrad Region were awarded by Elena Ustinova, the Head of the Travel Department.

The first part of the Hotel Forum was positively rated by the moderator Lilia Bitkulova, expert in classification of accommodation facilities. “Considering that the deadline for classification of collective accommodation facilities in the World Cup 2018 host cities is July 2015, we have hit the mark through our decision to put the issue of classification on the agenda,” Lilia pointed out, “Top-level speakers from various regions shared their extensive expertise which is sure to be of great use for Russian hoteliers.”

After the festive opening ceremony of INWETEX CIS Travel Market International Travel Trade Fair attended by the Governor of St. Petersburg Georgy Poltavchenko the experts returned to the Forum venue to attend the workshop “Hotel business in search for a winning strategy: how to raise sales, optimise expenses and generate new hotel formats”.

Santa Graikste, Managing Director of the Association of Hotels and Restaurants of Latvia (AHRL) shared her international experience of attraction of new guests to hotels. Andrei Suleikov, Managing Partner of Appreal LLC also spoke on this issue focusing on promotion of accommodation facilities via mobile travel guides.

Fyodor Bakhvalov, Director of Sales & Marketing, Crowne Plaza St.Petersburg - Ligovsky told the audience about the development of InterContinental Hotels Group in Russia. Filipp Dolzhkov, General Director of Noorus Oy (Estonia) shared his tips for investing to SPA hotels. General Director of Cronwell Management Alexei Musakin presented the development prospects of local brands in the Russian hotel market. Lilia Bitkulova, General Director of Classification Centre LLC described star-rating system according to which hotels will be ranked by 2015.

The discussion “Electronic sales channels and recent technologies in the hotel business” was attended by Evgenia Laricheva, Area Manager of HRS Representation in St. Petersburg and the Northwestern Federal District; Anton Kuznetsov, Area manager at Expedia in Rusia, Ukraine and CIS countries; Svetlana Bazilevich, Head of Sales Department at Bnovo and Fyodor Tarasyuk,  Business Development Director at Oktogo.ru. The experts discussed innovative technologies in the hospitality industry, efficient sales management in online systems in terms of the falling demand, as well as other relevant issues.

The second part of the Forum was moderated by Marina Morozova, Professor, Doctor of Economics, Deputy Head of the Department of Hospitality and International Communication of Saint-Petersburg State Economic University. “During the workshop we spoke a lot on the most urgent challenges emerging before hoteliers: business optimisation, promising investment areas, raising online sales, marketing policies. Of course, we also raised the topic of the World Cup 2018 providing a wonderful chance for hoteliers to attract significant number of guests and make them visit St. Petersburg once more in the future,” noted Marina. “All speakers are not only well-experienced professionals, but also have a vast practical experience; therefore their analytics and advice are particularly valuable for us.”

In 2014 the anniversary Hotel Forum was attended by more than 150 travel and hotel industry professionals, heads of industry-related unions, academicians and mass media. “The Forum serves as an advanced platform to gather the specialists in joint efforts to meet the industry-related challenges and share new and innovative ways of business management,” said Ekaterina Shadskaya, Director of the North-West Division Office of the Russian Union of Travel Industry.

Materials from the Saint Petersburg Hotel Forum, including speakers’ presentations, will soon be available at the websites of Saint Petersburg Express.

13.10.2014