Interview with Medea Kobakhidze, General Manager of Wyndham Grand Tbilisi.
Q. Tell us about your company, what services does Wyndham Grand Tbilisi offer to customers?
A. Wyndham Grand Tbilisi is a 5-star hotel in the center of Tbilisi, near Freedom Square, on Gudiashvili Street. The hotel has 158 rooms of 9 different categories including 2 presidential suites, 3 conference spaces, and a ballroom with fascinating panoramic city views, a restaurant and a spa & wellness center. As a part of an enormous chain of Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, Wyndham Grand Tbilisi has a mission to create and manage a place which our guests will be happy to visit again and again. This mission, along with our values, guides the way we do business every day.
Q. How does Wyndham Grand Tbilisi measure customer satisfaction?
A. Listening and responding to our guests’ needs has been one of the forefront priorities of Wyndham Grand Tbilisi since its opening. Every day we receive reviews on many online platforms from our customers. Besides, it is noteworthy that Wyndham Grand has its own platform – Wyndham Rewards, where we receive feedbacks from our customers directly. Our team always takes into account the comments of our customers with HEART approach (meaning hear, emphasize, apologize, react and thank); we try to improve from day to day. Wyndham Rewards gives us a possibility to offer the best prices and proposals to our customers and somehow appreciate their loyalty.
Q. What is Wyndham Grand contribution to urban development as one of the most priority issues for the country?
A. As we all know, tourism plays an important role in Georgian economic; it has an important share in GDP. As a hotel that can host more than 300 guests at one time, I think that, Wyndham Grand Tbilisi is an important spot in our city. Hotels like us can create an environment, which the international tourists are eager to visit. Wyndham Grand Tbilisi has an ambition to be a venue that takes part in the development of the hospitality sphere and tourism industry.
Q. What activities can you name as an example of supporting urban development in Georgia?
A. In the 21st century, it is vital for the businesses to think about green direction in urban development. Wyndham Hotels & Resorts developed the Wyndham Green Program that reduces operating costs through efficiency, drives revenue from environmentally conscious business travelers, remains competitive in the market and increase brand loyalty. We strive to fully integrate the Wyndham Green Program throughout our value chain by engaging and educating our team members. The combination of industry best practices and engagement aims to deliver triple bottom line results. The Wyndham Green Program consists of three integral components: Wyndham Green Toolbox, Wyndham Green Certification and Wyndham Green Housekeeping. Moreover, Wyndham Grand Tbilisi recycles plastic and glass, so that we optimize the waste amount to minimum.
Q. How does Wyndham Grand Tbilisi measure employee satisfaction?
A. Our signature “Count on Me” service culture encourages each team member to be responsive, be respectful and deliver great experiences to our guests, partners and communities. If an employee feels discomfort in his work-environment, it is almost impossible for him to make the job well. So for us, employee satisfaction is crucial. We measure the employee satisfaction by the outflow rate in our company, which varies from 5% to 10% annually. Moreover, we have anonymous questionnaires quarterly, in which our employees rate their working environment, their team and chiefs. We always take their feedbacks into account. For us, the satisfaction of our employees is one of the key matters.
Q. What role does business, especially Wyndham Grand Tbilisi, have in the future of the city’s urban development?
A. The connection of business and urban development is very solid, without each other these two parts cannot exist. The city with its history and culture helps us to attract tourists. With our effort and promotions, tourists arrive in Tbilisi. More tourists mean more touristic places, including restaurants, cafes, shops, galleries and etc. More people become employed and more income flows in our country. This chain is like a vicious circle and everyone benefits from it. Wyndham Grand Tbilisi is one small but valuable part of this chain and we are going to improve our positions in this direction.
Q. What are the main challenges in the urban development direction in Georgia that needs to be improved?
A. As one of the developing countries, Georgia has lots of challenges in the urban development, especially the cities. Rapid urbanization, uncontrolled constructions and environmental problems, air pollution and loss of green spaces can be the main challenges.
Q. How can you evaluate the government’s role in urban development?
A. First of all, I would like to say that the government plays a vital role in urban development. We have many examples from the whole world and from Georgia too. Even the latest projects show that many things have improved here in Tbilisi. I would like to mention the renovation project of Chavchavadze Avenue and the alternation of public transport. These two projects in pair show that even the main districts can become more pleasant to walk, less traffic and more greenery can give us an opportunity to live a healthy life in our city.
Q. What is your opinion on foreign investments in urban development in Tbilisi?
A. Foreign investments boost the manufacturing and service sector which results in the creation of jobs and helps to reduce unemployment rates in the country. Increased employment translates to higher incomes and equips the population with more buying powers, boosting the overall economy of a country. On the other hand, for us, as for one of the representatives of business sector, the competition levels raises. We are always ready for this challenge, competition makes us grow and develop, and competition is one of the keys to the future.
Q. What sets Wyndham Grand Tbilisi apart from other competitors?
A. Assuredly, our hotel in total with its location and special spaces, including the panoramic dome area and ballroom, sets us apart from the competitors. But I would like to focus on Wyndham Grand values that include integrity, accountability, inclusivity, caring and fun. And, when we say it, we mean it! So besides the venue, our customers can count on the quality service.
Q. What are Wyndham Grand Tbilisi priority issues and future plans for Tbilisi’s urban development?
A. For the future, Wyndham Grand Tbilisi as one of the main representatives of hospitality industry can create jobs, offer better livelihood for the citizens of Tbilisi and improve social inclusion. The world Covid-19 pandemic had an impact on our business as well as on the whole industry, but Wyndham Grand Tbilisi is back on the market and desires to become one of the significant places in the heart of Tbilisi. Urban development and the total environment will assuredly benefit from our growth and success.