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The Warsaw Voice » Destination Warsaw » July 29, 2011
Destination Warsaw
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In Love With Warsaw
July 29, 2011   
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Heddo Siebs, the new general manager of the Hyatt Regency Warsaw hotel, talks to Jolanta Wolska.

What type of clients does the Hyatt Warsaw attract?
Usually we have 50/50 split of local and foreign guests in the hotel. From Monday to Thursday Warsaw is a business city, while Friday to Sunday Warsaw should be a tourist destination—but the city is not yet fully perceived as a weekend destination. People abroad don’t know how beautiful the city is, they don’t realize what great nightlife and entertainment it has to offer, and that the restaurants are excellent with local and international cuisine.

What special facilities or services does your hotel offer guests?
Our hotel is located in central Warsaw and surrounded by beautiful parks. Guests can luxuriate in sleek, stylish rooms and suites with enchanting city views. For conferences and meetings, our 5-star hotel combines the most modern facilities in Poland with Hyatt’s world-renowned reputation for incomparable style, innovation and elegance. We have the largest casino in Poland.

You have just taken over as general manager in Warsaw. What changes are you planning?
The hotel is a recognized brand in the market and I note that everyone who uses our services loves the hotel. For the time being I don’t want to change anything, but to take advantage of the fact that we are stable in the market and to continue its success. Being new here I first want to observe. There are of course lots of new possibilities and I do have plans for the future. First of all, I want to work more on providing “sincere” service, which is what sets our hotel apart from our competitors.

How will you be working with WOT and WDA to promote Warsaw as a tourist and business destination?
We are going to work on a marketing plan for the City of Warsaw. This is very important. Berlin and other cities, such as Vienna or Barcelona are very strong when it comes to city marketing. It is one of the reasons why Berlin attracts so many visitors. Warsaw does not have a cohesive marketing plan or a strategy as I understand. The general perception is that Warsaw is still a postcommunist city, cold and gray with nothing exciting about it. This is so, so wrong. In order to change perceptions abroad we need a strong marketing plan. The recent WOT workshop was very interesting and I am looking forward to the next one in October. It was good to see business people, members of the tourist industry and the City of Warsaw all sitting together.

In the hotel industry we travel to different countries a lot and experience many cultures. Effective marketing is essential to us and we do it all the time on a smaller scale with our hotels. To develop a marketing plan for a city means that we need the local authorities and various industry groups to join in one, coordinated effort in order to succeed.

This is your first time in Warsaw. What are your first impressions of the capital?
You can look at Warsaw on the internet and on Google maps, but Warsaw is much better in real life. It is amazing how green Warsaw is. There are many parks here and they are beautiful and the city is clean. Warsaw has a huge and magnificent Old Town. People don’t know that. You walk for at least 45 minutes or an hour in one direction and you are still surrounded by history and beauty.

But it is also the people that make Warsaw special. We explored the city by public transport and we were surprised at the politeness of passengers; people in the bus would give their seat to my wife and our baby. That does not happen very often Germany. We feel very welcome here. We have been here for only a short time and we have already fallen in love with Warsaw.

One of my personal goals in Warsaw is to become one of the biggest ambassadors for the city and the country. I really adore Warsaw and the people here, and I think they deserve to have ambassadors who will tell the world how great Warsaw is. But local people ought to be ambassadors also and be just as proud of their city as I am.
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