Home / Business / Excellent Stay Amazing Suites: Interview with Torsten Weller, General Manager Hilton Batumi
Torsten Weller
Torsten Weller, General Manager Hilton Batumi

Excellent Stay Amazing Suites: Interview with Torsten Weller, General Manager Hilton Batumi

“Hilton Batumi is a mixture of modern architecture with timeless and warm components”.

Georgians are very welcoming and friendly. I had a wonderful welcome once arrived at the hotel and was very lucky to be part of the great team party at the end of January in our ballroom.  Besides the fantastic Hilton Batumi this is exactly the reason to come to Batumi. The decision was made very fast, my wife and I are always encouraged to meet new people, get to know new cultures, taste new food and drinks and even when we were never in Georgia before, we were convinced by reading about it, that this is a great place to be. Our team members represent Georgia in a great way. Friendly, always willing to help and you can feel the drive to move things forward. That is really a great benefit for our hotel.

– Several international brand hotels operate in Batumi. How does Hilton compete with them? How would you persuade visitors to stay at Hilton, not at any other competitor brand hotels?

– I will only talk on behalf of Hilton Batumi and I can tell you many reasons why travellers should come to us. Number one is like said earlier, the great team. Welcoming, helpful and really friendly are attributes which our guests want to experience. Also the hotel is an attraction for itself, the ambiance is very warm, and the design is a perfect mixture of modern architecture with timeless and warm components. Our rooms offer everything you expect, we have many suites, rooms with balconies facing the Black Sea and also an Executive Floors with a lounge to relax. The various offers and locations, e.g. our sky bar Nephele. The views themselves are stunning. The food offer in our restaurant Pelion varies from traditional Georgian dishes to Indian culinary, offered from our Indian chef.  Last but not least fresh and homemade cakes and pastries from our pastry chef in our Tandila cafe, just delicious.  We are Hilton! We are Hospitality! Great incorporation of our purpose platform!

– What is statistics of visitors in 2016? Has the number of visitors increased compared to 2015? Citizens of which country visit your hotel most frequently?

– As we opened our doors in May 2015 we are very satisfied how things have developed over almost 2 years. Business is very seasonal in Batumi and we do market not only our hotel and our services but also we sell Batumi and the region for its great opportunities to explore the wonderful landscape and exciting city life. We develop with the surrounding in a partnership, seeking local support to support the local economy. Also we are looking for talent in Batumi to create heartfelt experiences for both of our team members and guests from all over the world. Many guest from the surrounding countries as Turkey, Russia and Ukraine are visiting us, but also from Israel and other Middle East countries. We strongly believe that the visa liberation process with the EU will help to make Georgia more famous for European travellers and airlines to start with.

– As to Georgian visitors, do you think sales have dropped after national currency depreciation?

– Of course does the currency depreciation not make things easier, but we keep our rates in line with the market. We are now in the process of reviewing our prices, which does not mean they will go up automatically – we adjust according to the market and to demand. We try to market our restaurants and bars individually; reason is that people have high expectations when they come in to a Hilton hotel. ცAfter a visit in our restaurant or bars you should have the feeling that you have had a very good value for the money and I am sure that we deliver this to our local community and guests as well.

– Batumi is the most in-demand  destination in spring-summer. Based on the existing number of booked suites, how would you appraise the 2017 perspectives?

– Again I refer for being on the market for almost two years we can see an increase of travellers coming to Batumi. More airlines over the years have chosen Batumi as their destination, looking at the decrease of tourism to Turkey. I see more opportunities for our Black Sea coastal regions. Important for us is to deliver world class service and quality, this is the base of return business.

“Hilton Batumi is a mixture of modern architecture with timeless and warm components”.

If we get the basics right, we do a big step into the future. Our Hilton Honors program, the Hilton loyalty program collecting points and miles at the same time, is a great opportunity to market Hilton Batumi and Georgia to almost 60 million members worldwide. There are many opportunities; our cooperation with local tourism office and the Georgian tourism office are very successful. Having Casinos International in our building and our partnership in marketing activities is another great benefit for our and their guests.

– As to corporate orders, Hilton has already hosted several international conferences. What are forecasts for 2017 in this respect?

– We do host many national and international groups, meetings, events and congresses. Due to our worldwide sales structure we are in the lucky situation to have a sales representative in more than 100 countries worldwide. Even our clients are far away we still have the personal contact to, which is very important. This helps us to generate international business. Additionally we do get much closer due to the digital evolution over the recent years.

“Important for us is to deliver world class service and quality, this is the base of return business”.

Our Hilton application makes bookings or enquiries very easy and we can respond very fast. Once the customer decided for us our convention and event sales team takes over, we plan and organize according to our guests’ wishes. With team members from many different countries we speak also many languages, which make communication easier for our guests.

– How does HIlton assess Georgia’s tourism market? We know that Hilton will open a new hotel in Tbilisi too. Should we expect the Hilton Family to show interest in other directions of Georgia’s investment opportunities?

– I  know for a fact that from my three weeks being here and hearing and reading a lot, that the Georgian tourism market is full of opportunities. Next week I am travelling to Tbilisi to meet with many of our clients, government officials, the tourism department and other partners such as the American Chamber of Commerce or the German consulate. Important is that all stakeholders are rowing in the same direction and we as Hilton are for sure a part of this.