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The Warsaw Voice » Business » June 3, 2015
Business & Economy
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In Search of Cultural Experiences
June 3, 2015   
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Joanna ¦wierkosz, Orbis Hotel Group’s VP Marketing, Quality and Loyalty in Poland and Eastern Europe, talks to The Warsaw Voice.

The Orbis Hotel Group is the leader in the region's hotel market and has several decades of experience. What changes have you noticed in terms of hotel guests' expectations and needs?

As you watch the hotel trade and any other business, you can identify certain things that all contemporary consumers have in common. To begin with, 21st-century clients like to take in a range of cultural experiences and their choices are mainly driven by an urge to enrich their lifestyle. Clients also expect brands to “hear them out” and instantly cater to their needs. In an era of new technology, hotel guests are increasingly well-informed and aware, so if you want to succeed, you need to be flexible and act fast. One other important thing, if not the most important one, is to be genuine. Both the Orbis Hotel Group and its strategic partner Accor are trailblazers in terms of changes that adjust what hotels offer to guests’ changing needs and expectations. For that reason, our portfolio includes hotel brands from each price bracket with a different kind of experience to offer. We have luxurious Sofitel and MGallery hotels, the Pullman and Novotel chains tailored to the needs of business travelers, "glocal" hotels in the Mercure chain, and the ibis family, which stands out with the good value for money if offers.

What does “glocal” mean exactly?

Combining two words, “global” and “local,” this concept is a distinguishing feature of Mercure, one of the world’s most recognizable hotel brands. Mercure hotels hold a special place in the Orbis Hotel Group portfolio, because the local flavors of the cities in which they are located and the local traditions are always cleverly incorporated into the interior decor and cuisine. At the same time, these hotels offer customer service of a high, international standard. We go to great lengths to make sure that the brand’s values and trademark are more than a slogan and to this end, we have launched an innovative system called the Mercure Quality Guarantee. Already in place in almost all Mercure hotels around the world, the system is based on 96 quality control points and three main commitments. Mercure hotel staff are available around-the-clock by calling 2424. They are there to attend to their guests’ needs and come up with immediate solutions to problems, so their skills are always improving.

How does this approach work in practice in Poland?

There are some distinctively Polish ideas at Mercure hotels, such as the Sweet Secret by Mercure package, which has been made available again because of its high popularity. There are also the Winestone restaurants, which are gradually shifting from traditional hotel-style food to what you get at the increasingly popular wine bars. I'm proud to say that Winestone is a 100-percent Polish concept and since it has proved enormously successful, it will soon be brought to hotels in other parts of the world, including in Vienna and Bucharest.

Mercure hotels in Poland and elsewhere each have a different, unique feel and design inspired by their location and local culture. A good example of this are two rebranding projects we carried out recently in the coastal cities of Gdańsk and Gdynia. The inventive design of the Mercure Gdynia Centrum calls to mind marine themes, sails and the Polish Film Festival in Gdynia, and the unique interior decor of the Mercure Gdańsk Posejdon hotel is inspired by amber and the history of the city. The "brand walls" in the hotel lobbies—featuring the brand logo—stand out as well. The one in Gdynia features the sails of the Dar Pomorza tall ship moored at the nearby quay, while in Gdańsk, the wall is inspired by Europe’s largest tile stove housed in Artus Court [in Gdańsk’s Old Town]. The “tiles” on the hotel wall depict the main historic buildings of Gdańsk. These are perfect examples of the glocal concept, because even though the two hotels are located in the same metropolitan area, each has an individual style and local flavor.

The Orbis Hotel Group is the largest hotel chain in Poland and Central Europe with 19,000 rooms in over 100 hotels. It is the sole licenser of Accor brands in 16 countries, including Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia. The company operates the following brands: Sofitel, Pullman, MGallery, Novotel, Mercure, ibis, ibis Styles and ibis budget in addition to Orbis Hotels. Recognized around the world, the brands ensure a wide choice of standards from luxurious, 5-star hotels to 1-star economy hotels.
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