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Tuesday, 03 April 2018 16:20

We see growing interest in Azerbaijan, Walter Gag Featured

Caspian Energy (CE): Hyatt Regency Baku was the first network hotel opened in Azerbaijan. Could you please tell about how the hotel was opened in Baku?

Walter Gag, General Manager, HYATT REGENCY BAKU: The opening of Hyatt Regency Baku in May 1995 was one of the remarkable events in the business development of Azerbaijan. Hyatt was the first international five-star hotel in Baku. Their presence stimulated extensive development in world-class hospitality infrastructure to cater to the large flow of business travelers to Azerbaijan.

One year later Hyatt began the construction of the Meeting & Conference Center which included several conference and meeting rooms. Since then the Center has been the host to some of Baku's most memorable events. 

In mid-1999 Hyatt International Centre was opened. The complex included the boutique Park Hyatt Hotel, apartments, villas, office spaces and Health Club.

Park Hyatt was rebranded to Hyatt Regency Baku in 2016 after the huge renovation process as a completely new product with modern and energizing design.

CE:  Which opportunities does the tourism sector get from the implementation of the economic reforms in the country? What do you think is needed for further development of the tourism sector of the country?

Walter Gag: Many of the economic reforms introduced during the last 2 years have shown great results boosting tourism in Azerbaijan. Of greatest impact being the relaxation of visa applications and the introduction of electronic visa facilities.

Stronger marketing and awareness campaign in international media is also noticeable. We need to focus in preparing ourselves to be able to accommodate the increase of leisure travelers expected in future starting with driving career opportunities in hospitality, as well as increasing the schooling and teaching in this sector.  

CE:  What could you tell about your goals and plans for the near future? What do you expect from the market?

Walter Gag: Our goals and plans for the near future are very clear:  to continuously work in improving our services and offerings, and help Azerbaijan in achieving great results promoting the country as a tourism destination.

We expect the market to get stronger in the tourism sector and we have no doubt it will be a success story benefiting all sectors in the process.

CE:  What is the difference between the hotel market in Europe and Azerbaijan?

Walter Gag:The hotel market in Europe is much more developed due to history and logistics. For Azerbaijan, it is a new market that we started exploring not so long ago, but it has shown to have an amazing potential of development.

We have well established hotel operations local and international already present in the country and we are in the process of focusing in developing other regions besides only Baku. 

CE: Hosting of conferences, banquets and other events is also an integral part of the job that Hyatt Regency Baku does. Which measures are taken to raise the quality of service rendered by the hotel?

Walter Gag: Key is to understand the customer’s needs and constantly evolve and adjust to a fast moving market. Also important is to have a well-motivated team that is fully involved in making a difference together with constant training and understanding of the vision and mission of the brand.

CE:  From which countries is there a huge flow of tourists into Azerbaijan?

Walter Gag: Tourism started mainly flowing to Azerbaijan coming from neighbouring countries like Iran and Russia, but also from further afield as GCC. Furthermore, we see growing interest in Azerbaijan within European and Asian countries.

CE:  Which innovations does Hyatt Regency Baku plan for the long-term future?

Walter Gag:Within the next year we are going to introduce a new events venue call Hyatt Hall. This venue will be able to accommodate bigger events of all types up to 600 guests i.e. weddings, international conferences, exhibitions and more.

Our Hyatt Fitness Center & Spa will also undergo major renovations to make the experience more energized and to accommodate lifestyle needs.

 

CE:  What importance is attached to the leisure of the hotel guests?

Walter Gag: Leisure business has different expectations and needs compared to our traditional corporate market. We all needed to adjust our operations to be able to meet its needs.

Our Hyatt Team is creating special environments to exceed expectation of all our guests, inclusive the younger generation.

Language adjustments, special tour arrangements along with the quality transportation services, informed and well prepared tour guides are welcome to make it easier to explore the city of Baku and its surroundings.

This market has a strong spending power, but also expects high level of delivery.

 

CE:  Do you plan to extend your business in the regions?

Walter Gag: Should the market conditions continue to be favorable and this positive trend to be consistent, we as an international hotel chain, will always table opportunities of growth with possible investment.

 

 

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