The company has managed to obtain an excellent reputation and trust among customers due to its highly qualified team and years of experience
The hospitality industry and tourism have always been the main fields for the Georgian economy. The well-known Georgian hospitality, local nature and traditions attract foreign guests; however, this alone is not enough for development of the field.
In order to share experiences regarding hotel management, and to help local brands compete with international well-known hotels entering the market, several years ago, the company Ka Management Group was established by enthusiasts and highly experienced professionals. Since then, it has helped many hotels and contributed to their financial and professional growth, which successfully continues despite the challenging times created for the industry by the pandemic.
Ka Management Group represents distinguished and leading companies operating on the local market in the field of hospitality. This is a management company which serves local hotels and helps them grow and develop, which itself significantly contributes to the development of the field and the economy in general.
The company was founded in 2018. Since then, it has managed to obtain an excellent reputation and trust among customers due to its highly qualified team and years of experience. In future, it plans to expand the area of activities and cover more regions of Georgia.
Since tourism for Georgia remains among the most essential economic activities, its present and future is a concerning topic for those involved.
GEORGIA TODAY spoke to Irakli Chigladze, Founder of Ka Management Group, to find out more details about its activities, current situation, and pandemic-related challenges existing in the field, as well as his visions on the future post-COVID.
Ka Management helps local hotels carry out proper strategies in various directions and establish their own niche in the market so they can compete with the international brands
“Ka Management Group is a hotel management company which serves the local brands and helps them grow and develop,” Chigladze tells us. “We have two principles of management: one is when we fully take over the hotel, and the second when we help a hotel in terms of revenue generation, i.e. sales, PR, marketing, social media, etc., and we’re responsible for the success of these directions.
“Currently, we provide a full management service for hotel Tribu, a chain of hotels operating in Georgia, which has three hotels in Tbilisi. It also operates a hotel in Bakuriani, called Tribu Apart Hotel, which opened in 2019. We’re also building a 5-star hotel in Bakuriani, which is expected to start operating in winter. These are hotels which we fully manage.
“We control revenue management for Tskaltubo Plaza in Tskaltubo, Hotel Dolabauri in Tbilisi, all the five hotels of the hotels chain Kopala and Hotel Komorebi in Bakuriani.
Tell us about your team.
The idea of establishing such a company emerged back in 2016-2017, when the tourism and hospitality industry in Georgia was rapidly developing. Hotels were being built fast, but there were no relevant qualified staff to employ. I was often asked to provide assistance and consultation by friends employed in various hotels. Several people who had a lot of experience in this industry sat down together and decided to give it the shape of a legal entity: an official outsourcing company to manage hotels properly.
The main idea behind establishing such a company was that, from 2017, international hotel brands started to actively enter the Georgian market, hiring almost all the qualified staff available locally. They carried out the right marketing, sales and PR strategies, thus properly positioning themselves on the market. The idea of Ka Management was to help the local brand hotels carry out proper strategies in various directions and establish their own niche in the market amid high concurrency, so that they could have a chance to compete with the international brands. For instance, we started providing the Kopala hotels chain with our service because it was the first chain of hotels in Georgia. We did the same with Tskaltubo Plaza because it’s one of the best local brands.
We chose Tribu hotels because this chain was created by Georgian businessmen who plan to open the biggest number of hotels in Georgia: 40 hotels in total. Today, they have 5. Our main goal is to develop and strengthen local brand hotels. Accordingly, all the employees of Ka Management Group are those with years of experience in the hospitality industry, in general and in terms of sales, PR, marketing, social media, etc. Currently, Ka Management Group unites 24 highly qualified professionals, and we have hired more than 400 employees in total, including those working on outsourcing. We also help hotels to recruit and train employees.
How has the Georgian hospitality sector managed to overcome the pandemic-related challenges?
The pandemic started in Georgia in March 2020, several months later than in Europe, and when we looked through and compared their international practice and experience with ours, we made sure that Ka Management Group was the first to contact the National Tourism Association and offer hotels to be used as quarantine spaces. From March 2020, several of our hotels got involved in this process and began to function as Covid hotels. Sadly, this is ongoing.
Given the results, I can say that based on what the Tourism Administration has done in the last 1.5 years, I’ve rarely seen such a professional and strong team. When the pandemic started, we were all panicked and afraid: there was a strange virus going around, no-one knew what to do or how to act. The National Tourism Administration was the only agency which was always ready to answer our questions immediately, which was very important in helping us. They are very well-organized team, heroes, even, and I know for a fact that none of them has had a good night’s sleep since this pandemic kicked off!
In total, we have 12 active hotels. 7 of them are being used as Covid hotels (quarantine spaces) by the Tourism Administration. This was a big challenge for us all and, of course, there were certain things that could have been done differently or better, but this was natural considering the situation.
How do you see the future of tourism in Georgia post-COVID?
Several directions can be developed in the near future. Proper organization is required. For instance, in March 2021, when the tourism activities were opened, the Tourism Administration promised they would be focusing on cooperation with Poland, Ukraine, Israel and the Gulf countries. They did itand got great results. It’s very easy for visitors from the Gulf countries to enter Georgia, and we have many visitors from there today. The same applies to Poland, Ukraine and Israel.
Once the epidemiological situation is better stabilized, and knowing how these nations love Georgia, I can say we’ll easily reopen the Georgian tourism sector with them.
Development of medical tourism is also an important and relevant topic to focus on in future. In this direction, we have great resorts, among them Tskaltubo, Borjomi and Sairme, that are distinguished resorts even within Europe. If there’s something positive about Covid-19, it’s that people, including the young generation, have started taking better care of their health. As such, the medical tourism potential which Georgia has should be expected to reach new heights. Once the pandemic is in the past, the above three regions are expected to begin to work even more actively. In addition, when tourists enter the country for healing procedures, they expect to stay 14 to 17 days, which is very important for tourism. Hotels, wellness resorts and eateries get a high income in such cases.
In addition, this year has shown that Croatia and Montenegro could become good partners to us, and the Tourism Administration is expected to arrange tourism exhibitions there in order to further raise awareness about the tourism attractions of our country. Such exhibitions are held annually in Europe.
What are future plans of Ka Management Group?
First of all, we’ll add and serve more local brand hotels to cover more regions. Currently, we cover Imereti, Bakuriani and Tbilisi. We’re planning on adding Adjara and Kakheti.
One of the main reasons behind our success is that we offer tourist companies a flexible and diverse service, all in one space. Sometimes, they ask us to add more directions themselves, so that we can offer hotels to guests across Georgia. Now, we’re waiting to see how the pandemic will play out, and will act accordingly in terms of further development.