Porta Caucasia Kazbegi: Setting Standards for the Georgian Hospitality Sector

Exclusive interview


To find out more about what it takes to run an exclusive hotel in the current Georgian tourism environment, we sat down with Giorgi Dolidze, Director of Sales & Marketing of Porta Caucasia Kazbegi, a four-star hotel kitted out by Villeroy & Boch, nestled in the Kazbegi mountains.

What are the major challenges you face as Director of Sales & Marketing of a four-star hotel?

Sales and marketing are a range of areas that can never be exhausted and always generate new ideas for business development. When you enter a market, you face a lot of work and challenges in order to ensure your integrity in the tourism market. The main challenges for a newly opened hotel are having an effective sales strategy, positioning the hotel, increasing awareness, and the need for marketing channels.

What do you think of the hospitality sector in Georgia?

As statistics show, Georgia is gaining increasing interest in this field. If we compare the past years, the quality of service today is much higher. However, this doesn’t mean we should stop thinking about guest satisfaction, the introduction of international standards, and overall improvement, as this reflects on the development of the country's economy in future and the progress of the country in general, as the direction of tourism and service remains a potential field for the economy.

What are the strategic areas in Georgia that you believe have improved?

I had five years’ experience in tourism company, Turi.ge. As its incoming direction manager, I was able to make online reservations in Georgia with a representative of international bridging systems, through which Georgian hotels sold their services (Met global and Hotels Pro). Interest in Georgian hotels is high, particularly in the cities of Tbilisi, Batumi, Kazbegi, and Mestia, and in the Kakheti region.

Strategic spheres are tourism and service in Georgia, especially in hotels and restaurants. From tourist feedback, and from my own experience, I can say that the existing market has shortcomings in terms of service. There are no strict regulations when building a restaurant regarding standards to be met. Opening a hotel is very simple and therefore is not subject to control.

Most hotels don’t even try to satisfy the minimum standards, and squeeze operational management, which is reflected in guest dissatisfaction, human resources, unreasonable expenditure and inadequate functioning of the hotel. In addition, incorrect pricing policies hinder the development of the tourism industry of the country, and I believe the State should provide some monitoring system to eliminate this problem. For example, hotels show their reserves in Excel; they don’t even want to spend out on a PMS (Program Management System), especially designed for hotels, and which would save time and human resources and would optimize the process overall.

Tell us about Porta Caucasia Kazbegi

Porta Caucasia Kazbegi was opened in December 2017. It is a property of Winery Khareba and has been prepared and managed by Maia Tsereteli, Key Hospitality Management, to meet international four-star standards.

What are the concepts of Porta Caucasia Kazbegi?

The hotel stands out for numerous reasons. Paying attention to detail, the interior is manufactured by Villeroy & Boch, as is the furniture, which is wooden and eco-friendly. Luxury and taste merge to create a great sense of ambiance. Each room is well equipped, offering all the important facilities. Private bathrooms come with top-of-the-range toiletries.

Porta Caucasia Kazbegi has pioneered the creation of a private online platform for bookings and reservations, allowing ease of contact with hotel staff.

Why Kazbegi?

Kazbegi region has huge potential in the Georgian tourism sector. It is one of the most in-demand destinations and, despite that, the hotel shortfall is quite large. We believe that the Porta Caucasia Kazbegi will fulfil this deficit.

Kazbegi and its surroundings have been attracting a lot of visitors of late; people drawn there by a love of nature, exotic and historical sights, and the magnificent views of Mount Kazbegi found in the Dariali Gorge.

What exclusive services do you offer guests?

The hotel has Georgian and European cuisine represented in two restaurants within the hotel, featuring delicious dishes made using locally-grown products. The wine is something particularly worth mentioning, as Khareba Winery presents varieties of wine in both restaurants. There is also a terrace and lounge on the top floor.

Spasalone is also one of our gems, for which a representative of Franck Provost set the standards for the Swiss line.

Our Chef is a high-class professional who works on both cuisine and bakery standards.

Travel companies make a visit to us part of their exclusive Wine Tours.

My experience gives me the opportunity to know exactly what demands and desires tourists have in the field of tourism. Accordingly, as the director of hotel sales, I’m aware of the needs that arise in relation to the hotel and its partners.

The staff can plan trips according to our guests’ personal interests. They can try our Alpine Tour on Mount Kazbegi, with equipment and a personal guide provided. If they’re more into history and culture, guests can take advantage of our Culture Tour, which includes a visit to various historical sites, including Gergeti Church and several Chateaus. Kazbegi is also close to Gudauri Ski Resort and the hotel offers affordable transfer services.

What future plans do you have for the hotel?

The future plan is to have Porta Caucasia Kazbegi positioned as the main resource of the tourism market. In continuous mode, we want to maintain quality-improvement. For us, it is important that each visitor leaves satisfied with our service and, as our motto says “feel at home in the Caucasus.”

Sofo Javakhishvili

05 February 2018 17:36