The FINANCIAL — Adjara Group plans to invest in building an international airport in Kazbegi, operate an Air Taxi service for private charter flights, and will soon introduce Intercontinental Hotel in Tbilisi, as Mr. Oto Berishvili, Director of Marketing and Business Development of Adjara Group Hospitality, told The FINANCIAL.
Additionally, Rooms Hotel is working on two different projects. Rooms Hotel Batumi will be opened in Summer 2018, and is already being built. At the same time, the Hotel’s management is collaborating with development company UBIQUE, which specialises in building so-called Gated Community, high class apartments. Rooms operates within the frame of developing concept, design and architecture, as well as overall lifestyles for residents.
Q. How would you evaluate the past year for the company? What was the main success for Adjara Group?
A. 2016 was a very important year for our company, we have launched several new projects in the hospitality sphere as well as in several other fields. In September 2016 we opened an absolutely new type of hotel, both for our group and for Tbilisi as well. It is a combination of hotel and hostel, where customers can find 49 hotel rooms and other rooms for about 335 tourists. The hostel as well as hotel are almost fully booked daily, which means that there is demand on the market.
“Adjara Group” started developing in the field of aviation and founded the company “Aviator”, which will provide customers with an Air Taxi service.
Of course, simultaneously, we are continuing to develop our already existing international or local brands, Holiday Inn, Rooms Hotel Tbilisi and Rooms Hotel Kazbegi.
Q. What is the concept of the Air Taxi and who is the target segment for the service?
A. We have bought an American Plane, Beechcraft, which is intended for up to five passengers. It will comprise individual charter flights to any airports in Georgia as well as to neighbouring countries. We saw that there was demand from clients, our customers in different hotels, because lots of people are coming for business or leisure and need fast transportation within the country. They will be able to book the flight just two hours earlier and get quick and high-quality service.
We do believe that it will be profitable not only for us, but for people who are involved in the field of tourism. We already have a license and are ready to serve customers. Tariffs are calculated individually, it depends on flight hours. Price per hour will start from USD 1,500.
Q. Rooms Hotel is involved in cooperation with the development company UBIQUE. What are the goals of this collaboration and how has the role of the Hotel been appointed?
A. UBIQUE is building high-class apartments and town houses in Krtsanisi, meaning a so-called gated community. The company aims to create a comfortable and high-quality style of living. The company is working in collaboration with Rooms Hotel, which means that we are involved in the development of the concept, design, architecture and lifestyle which we want to create there. For us it is crucially important that not even one tree was cut down because of the project.
Only 30% of the territory is taken up by building, the other 70% is intended for recreational zones. Just 65 apartments are being built and the price per 1 sq.m will start from USD 1850. Additionally, a fitness centre, fields for several sports, tracks for jogging and cycling will be located on the territory. The whole complex will be finalized in August 2017.
Q. What are the plans for 2017? In which field is the company planning to invest?
A. In cooperation with Intercontinental Hotels Group, we are working on two brands – Holiday Inn and Intercontinental. In the same building where Rooms Hotel Tbilisi is located, Hotel Intercontinental will be launched at the end of the following year. Our cooperation with IHG deepens and provides us with diverse opportunities. We actively cooperate with local banks, especially Bank of Georgia, but for this concrete project, we got a loan from EBRD.
We are currently building Hotel Rooms Batumi, and we plan to host our first tourists in summer 2018. It will be an additional benefit for Batumi, as currently there are high-class hotels operating in Batumi, however demand is still quite high and Rooms Batumi will support an increasing number of tourists.
We are planning to build an International Airport in Kazbegi, near our hotel, where tourists will have a chance to come directly to Kazbegi from just anywhere, whether using our plane or any other.
Q. What are the main risks associated with investments in the hotel business in Georgia? Taking into account the current economic situation and devaluation of the local currency, what is the level of demand from local customers?
A. We are seeing quite a good trend of growth of the tourism sector, but we need even more of a rapid increase. We are observing a boost in the number of tourists from GCC countries, which is connected to liberalizing visa policy with these countries. We do appreciate cheap direct flights to Kutaisi, which has a significant impact on the number of tourists and we do hope to see the same type of flights to Tbilisi as well.
We are not growing in only one niche, but maximally diversifying our services starting from USD 12 a bed ending with USD 700 room, in order to meet as many customers’ expectations as possible.
As for Georgian customers in the hotel or in restaurants, we do our best to provide very democratic prices, in order for us to remain accessible to almost everyone who wants to visit us. Because of the fluctuation of GEL, demand is decreasing, but we try to compensate the devaluation with the cheapening of our services for local guests. Georgian customers get a discount of about 40%.
Q. What type of marketing campaigns are you implementing abroad?
A. “Design Hotels” is our partner in regard to Rooms Hotels and they are helping us to launch different types of international campaigns. We are mostly concentrating on online marketing, but are simultaneously trying to attend important events, exhibitions and trade shows, which are quite exclusive, but we have an opportunity to be part of them. We have at least 8-9 such types of activities in Europe, the USA and the Middle East. Simultaneously, we are working not only on our brands, but on popularizing the country in general. We highlight the importance of our values and the reason why we believe that Georgian cuisine is unique. We are planning press tours to Georgia and to host the journalists of very important media sources.
Q. What is the proportion of tourists coming on business and leisure trips?
A. It is almost the same according to our records, because these two types of tourists are already mixed. For instance, a person might have a two-day business trip to the country, but they mostly always try to stay for an two extra days for leisure reasons. We are flexible enough to adjust to this tendency and provide guests with an amazing experience in both matters.
Q. What are the price dynamics? How do rates differ?
A. Over the last ten years prices have been getting much better, because competition is growing on the market. Despite the fact that demand for our hotels is quite high and we have an opportunity to increase the price, we are not planning to act like that, because our accessibility to customers is the main priority of ours.
Author: Nikoloz Charkviani