First of all, congratulations for your appointment as Director General of Ana Hotels Group, and thank you for recently inviting me to spend an unforgettable weekend at Ana Hotels Europa and Ana Aslan Health Spa in Eforie Nord.
It was a pleasure to have you as our guest in Eforie Nord. Thank you very much as well for this invitation to speak about ANA Hotels to the Nine O’Clock readership community! I have known your publication since my first stay in Romania, back in the late 90s, and was happy to find it still here after so many years.
You have taken over the executive management of Ana Hotels Group in April this year. What are your main goals and strategy to bring added value to this brand and to consolidate its position on the market, having in mind your rich experience and impressive CV with over 30 years spent in the hospitality industry?
ANA Hotels is a very strong company, with an impressive collection of properties located strategically in the three most visited places in Romania: Bucharest, Poiana Brasov and Eforie Nord. They are all premium properties, with a beautiful history behind.
My goal is to consolidate the brand and its recognition on the local and international market as a Romanian hospitality leader in both services and products and to set the premises and ways for further expansion. I am confident that my experience with an international brand will bring added value for the way forward into expansion and consolidation.
Ana Hotels Group celebrates this year 20 years of existence, a lapse of time marked by increase in terms of number of hotels in its portfolio, all in the upscale and luxury segment, with all the due challenges deriving from this aspect: significant and constant investments in quality of comfort, services and of course, in the human resources, that is a very important asset everywhere of course, but in the hospitality industry it is an essential factor. “La noblesse oblige”, or better said, in the very competitive environment of the hospitality industry, there’s no room for abdications from the standards of quality, as long as the mission statement is to stay on top and to keep the label of excellence, isn’t it? From this point of view, what could you tell us about the investment strategy of Ana Hotels?
Indeed, ANA Hotels has made constant investment in its properties a brand philosophy. Only last year, ANA Hotels carried out 4 million Euro worth investments in the Crowne Plaza Bucharest Hotel and in Ana Hotels Sport Poiana Brasov. These two properties were the first acquired by the group in 1996 and have undergone several renovations ever since.
A couple of days ago we just made another official announcement regarding further, big-scale investment in Athenee Palace Hilton, which will benefit from a total renovation and redesign of the rooms starting winter 2017. We are also looking at a potential extension of the hotels in our group. These investments are scheduled to be implemented over a three-year period.
Quality and investments are not only the attributes of “hardware” in this group, but they define the human capital as well. Equally important as investment into hardware is the constant investment in people. Personally I believe that the quality of our human capital is core to our business and I am proud to say we are setting up new programs for developing, nurturing and growing talents at ANA Hotels.
What can you tell us about Ana Hotels Group’s financial results in 2015 and the first half of 2016?
ANA Hotels registered a 127,5 million Lei / 28.3 million Euro turnover and a 13 million Lei / 2.9 million Euro profit in 2015.
The first quarter of 2016 has been a really dynamic one as well, with a 20% increase in global revenues and a 15% increase in the RevPar per indicator per group. Our two properties in Bucharest had the most spectacular rise in the first quarter, both of them having their undoubtable unique selling points, starting from location and recent investments, and certainly due to high- performing management and operational teams which I am very proud of.
But we are expecting great summer seasons for both Eforie Nord and Poiana Brasov as well.
How easy or difficult is to be at the helm of a Group with hotels located at the mountainside, at the seaside and in Bucharest in order to maintain them as permanent points of attraction with high occupancy rate?
It is actually really interesting! It is always high season at ANA Hotels J .For the resort properties, our strategy has been and continues to be creating premium tailored experiences for our individual and corporate guests. Families with kids come to our resort properties for the rich outdoor and indoor activity program we offer, regardless of the season. But corporate guests as well choose us because, along with the meeting facilities, they find an entire range of teambuilding activities, outdoor experiences and spa delights.
Our properties in Bucharest are already well established on the market, both as far as accommodation and food & beverage are concerned, with premium product, service and location mixes.
However, there is always room for innovation and for new client segments, so we never sit still and keep “on the move” and “in the news”.
Going back to the lovely weekend spent together recently at Ana Hotels Europa and Ana Aslan Health Spa in Eforie Nord, upon your kind invitation to organize a press trip to this oasis of relaxation, I must admit I returned there a few years after my previous visit and I was really impressed with everything: comfort in the rooms, very warm personnel and very much focused on the client’s needs, wonderful service, very good food in the restaurant. However, there’s much more than all of these that transforms the establishment in Eforie into a genuine magnet, not only for old clients who adore to return, but also for new clients. Could you please unveil the secret as to why Ana Hotels Europa is a preferred destination not only for tourists from Romania but also from all over the world? During our stay, I met a group of Egyptian tourists, and they seemed really thrilled with the accommodation but also with the Spa….
Ana Hotels Europa is, indeed, a very special place where guests from all over the world, but mostly from Europe, return over and over again, some of them for more than 10 years in a row. I have also been extremely impressed to find out that many guests just fall in love with the hotel and the spa and nurture a special relationship with them for years on end.
We are very lucky to have a great team of hotel professionals and therapists over there, extremely passionate about what they do and about delivering that state of wellbeing that comes from the joy and health of body and soul altogether. The heritage of Ana Aslan is very much alive there, for sure!
It is equally true that Europa, the hotel itself, has a distinct personality of its own, with the huge green garden all around, the Techirghiol Lake’s salted water and mud as resources for the spa and the fantastic seafront view it offers from any room.
Last but not least, we believe that the standards and quality brought about by ANA Hotels to this hotel since 2003 represent strong credentials on the local and international market.