The FINANCIAL — “I consider Batumi a miracle in the process,” said Omer Subasi, General Manager of Sheraton Batumi, 5 star hotel in the Black Sea region of Georgia. “Batumi will be an international destination soon. All new companies are racing each other to come to this exciting and naturally beautiful city. Remember Las Vegas, it was just a little desert town in Nevada, but today 38 million people visit it annually. The same thing will happen with Batumi, it will become an international destination, a centre for commerce and business, a meeting point and stage for many international events.”
Omer Subasi came to Georgia from Istanbul, Turkey, where he was General Manager of the Holiday Inn Istanbul Airport. Prior to this role, Omer was General Manager at the Sheraton Istanbul, in Turkey. Omer Subasi has held a number of management positions in US hotels such as the Sheraton Richmond West, USA; the Adam’s Mark Hotels in Charlotte, NC; the Radisson Plaza Miami and the Grand Bay Hotel South Florida. From 1982 to 1998 he served on the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line.
Meeting Mr. Subasi in Batumi last Friday, he was speaking about Batumi with great enthusiasm.
“We see great potential in Batumi especially with the actions of the central and local government over the last few years. The city has changed tremendously and I have to congratulate Dr. Levan Varshalomidze for his outstanding achievements and thanks also to the local as well as Georgian Government for creating a miracle. Batumi has a gorgeous landscape and fantastic climate but what is most important is the warm, generous, hospitable and welcoming people.”
“Miami is an exciting, vibrant city with Latin influences, with corporate as well as leisure guests. Istanbul is a historical, cosmopolitan city at the crossroads of many different cultures where 15 million people live. Batumi is a new destination, just being discovered. What Batumi offers right now is a peaceful, clean and safe environment for those who want to get away from big city stress, and traffic jams. With its amazing nature, the Black sea and mountains, so much can be established and it is all on the way. Tourist will find enjoyment, excitement, skiing, beach, and shopping,” declared Subasi.
The Sheraton Batumi has hosted 25,000 visitors since its opening on 1 April, 2010. The majority of guests were from Georgia, Turkey, Azerbaijan and Armenia.
“Sheraton is a leader in the industry and always first in many hospitality initiatives and innovations, we see Batumi as an opportunity, a miracle, a fast developing international destination with stable political and economical environment and we are excited to be a part of Batumi,” said Subasi.
According to him the Sheraton Batumi Hotel, with total capacity of hosting 404 guests, will be fully occupied during July and August as well as most of September.
Q. What is special about the Sheraton Batumi?
A. Sheraton Batumi is the first 5 star internationally branded hotel in the emerging Black Sea region. It is located at the heart of the city, only a 15 minute drive away from Batumi International Airport, The historic city centre of Batumi can be reached from the hotel within a 5-10 minute walk. The hotel offers comfortable surroundings with direct beach access and friendly service.
It features 202 rooms and suites including our penthouse suite with a 360 degree view of the Black Sea and the city of Batumi. All rooms and suites are equipped with the latest technologies; modern furniture, warm colours, and The Sheraton Sweet Sleeper™ Bed fills each space with a relaxed atmosphere. With a choice of classic rooms or suites, you are guaranteed a comfortable and enjoyable stay.
More than just the basics, we offer all the services you expect from a five-star hotel. The Sheraton Batumi offers you a diverse selection of amenities and features, including modern conference facilities, three restaurants, three bars and 1,250-square metre Shine Spa for Sheraton and health club implemented together with an indoor and outdoor swimming pool, sauna, steam room, Turkish Hamam, massage rooms and Fitness Centre experienced with Core Performance, an organization which trains elite athletes and Olympic sportsmen.
Q. How are you going to conduct promotion activities to attract guests?
A. Today’s traveller is looking for a safe, comfortable, welcoming new destination and new excitements. Batumi offers all that and very hospitable locals. Batumi is the attraction and we are providing outstanding accommodation and 5 star international standards. If you put all that together it provides a perfect formula for promotions. We are also attending an international travel show in the region as well as in Europe.
We are promoted regionally in neighbouring countries as well as in Europe. You can book online by reaching the www.Sheraton.com website, all other major booking websites and as well as our call centre, by calling (+995)(222) 29000 or 1-800-325-3535.
Q. What kind of facilities do you offer business travellers?
A. The latest technology makes it easy to conduct business, if and when required. Whether you are travelling for business or pleasure, the fresh and airy rooms offer everything you will need to feel connected and at ease.
Sheraton Batumi offers business travellers extensive services so they can keep up with what’s happening in the office while away from it. The Link@SheratonSM experienced with Microsoft boasts free Wi-Fi and computers, printing capabilities and places for informal meetings. For more significant business services we offer a Business Centre with printing, scanning, photocopying, faxing and shipping available.
The hotel’s ballroom is the largest in Batumi at 1,000 square metres and is ideal for any corporate event or business meeting, from small executive board meeting to an annual convention of thousands.
Q. Where do the majority of bookings come from – online or from travel agencies?
A. The major booking comes from big groups, organizations, and large corporate groups. Online reservation is not very high in this region, it’s actually very low. As for individuals, they call and make reservations themselves.
Q. What are the average prices for the facilities the hotel offers?
A. Prices differ according to occupancy, based on the room type, it changes on a seasonal basis too, the only thing I can say is that our rates are competitive with other 5 star international hotel companies.
Special discounts are available to companies with frequent hotel room needs based on their yearly consumption. Each case is evaluated on a case by case basis.
Q. Will Sheraton change its prices after the opening of the Radisson and Hilton?
A. As Batumi becomes an International destination, we are expecting an increase in the number of visitors to Batumi as well as hotel rooms. Although the prices will be determined by the market demand, we are not expecting a decrease in room rates anytime soon.
Q. What is special about Sheraton’s beds?
A. In 2002 Sheraton introduced a whole new level of comfort – the Sheraton Sweet Sleeper Bed. The celebrated Sweet Sleeper Bed features luxurious sheets, a deluxe duvet, a selection of feather down and hypoallergenic pillows, and a custom Sealy mattress which is designed to eliminate uncomfortable pressure points that cause tossing and turning, it helps to improve your circulation for a better night’s sleep. It is a purely Sheraton signature item and you will only find it in the Sheraton hotels.
Q. How many people are employed currently at the hotel? Are they mostly locals? How many foreigners does the hotel employ?
A. Here in Batumi we have created approximately 228 new jobs for the local market, only 4% of our employees are foreigners.
Q. What were the major criteria in choosing the staff?
A. Based on the position we require specially qualified, experienced and professional staff, however Sheraton have consistent training ongoing even for the most professional staff. We will continue to invest in the training and professional development of our associates. From Managerial there are highly qualified professionals with years of working experience in different 5 star international hotels, Sheraton among them.
Q. How do you manage to motivate staff?
A. Our associates are our family members. We pledge to be the best employer in the region, offer advancements for those who enjoy hospitality. We provide special benefits to our associates as well as a health, safe environment and medical insurance.
Q. What kind of loyalty programmes does Sheraton offer?
A. Starwood is known for its award-winning loyalty programme, Starwood Preferred Guest, SPG, which made headlines as the first hotel bonus programme with no blackout dates. SPG gives millions of members access to more upscale and luxury hotels in more countries than any of its competitors and continues to lead the hospitality industry.