Black Tomato: Emerging Hostel Chain to Shake Up the Hospitality Industry

The hospitality industry is one of the most promising industries on the contemporary Georgian market, seeing various new types of accommodation, as well as services, appearing in the sphere.

While the country is rich in large chain hotels and guest houses, the notion of “hostel” remains less popular. However, Kutaisi, the second largest city in Georgia, welcomed a new hostel with the interesting name of Black Tomato in spring this year.

GEORGIA TODAY contacted the authors of the initiative, Elene Zamtaradze and Mariam Ramishvili, to gauge the success of the project and find out about their experience of entrepreneurship.

First, we asked the young entrepreneurs to talk about the Black Tomato project and the challenges they have had to face on the way to implementing it.

“Black Tomato is an emerging hostel chain which strives to become a new statement in the Georgian hospitality industry and promote the idea of hostels on the market,” the founders tell us. “Through our concept, we aim to integrate five main components and offer them to clientele: moderate prices and a budget-friendly venue; high-quality services; a great location; a nice interior and pleasant environ; and an area for socializing. There is nothing innovative in the individual components, but bringing them together in one space is undoubtedly a novelty.”

While speaking about the challenges, Elene and Mariam highlighted the distance from the capital city where they reside and work, to Kutaisi, which has proved to be an obstacle in terms of managing the new venue and keeping up-to-date with all the details related to running it.

“The 210 km between the two cities is not the only difficulty we have faced so far. It is also challenging to enter an ever-changing market, boasting a number of major players, with limited finances. In addition, on our path to development we have often come across skepticism from society about our age [27] and prospects of success due to the lack of experience of operating in the industry,” they say, noting that at this stage maintaining sky-high quality is the major priority and the main challenge for them.

We then ask, why Kutaisi?

“Kutaisi is the heart of Georgia, with stunning sights and mesmerizing landscapes. The close location of the city to other incredible regions of the country makes it even more attractive. We believe that Kutaisi has great potential for tourism.”

The Tbilisi branch of Black Tomato is situated in the historic district of the Georgian capital, making a stay more enjoyable against the background of the domination of contemporary urban environ.

During the conversation, Elene and Mariam say that the signature colors of Black Tomato are blue, yellow and red, a combination which ultimately makes black. That is why the Kutaisi branch of the hostel is yellow, while the one in Tbilisi is blue.

In future, the young entrepreneurs state they aspire to develop the chain and introduce it countrywide and change the stereotypical perception of the notion of a hostel, which in most cases is associated with a low-cost, uncomfortable and unclean accommodation, and introduce it from a completely new perspective.

By Ketevan Kvaratskheliya

10 October 2019 16:55