On March 1, the Radisson Hotel hosted the first international forum of restaurateurs and hoteliers, West HoReCa Forum, which combined presentations by industry experts, an exhibition and, as they say, useful networking. “Your Bro” tells how the participants and speakers argued with each other, motivated others and decided the fate of the Kaliningrad hospitality sector.

Time is approaching lunchtime, and Dmitry Kirillov, managing partner of Altrimo on the Curonian Spit, talking about practical marketing solutions in the work of his hotel, emotionally shares statistical information: "32% - market decline last year." A couple of hours earlier, Andrei Yermak, who opened the West HoReCa Forum with a presentation on the tourism present and future of the region, spoke about the positive dynamics in attracting guests to our region. The data of the Minister of Culture and Tourism showed an increase in the number of tourists and, accordingly, the tourism market. He drew the guests' attention to the ratings, where Kaliningrad regularly gets. One of the slides in his presentation lists the rating regalia of the city, like getting to 10 Russian cities with the most popular museums or the five most tourist cities in Russia, whatever that means. In general, the minister's speech, that in the part devoted to hotels, that in the part about restaurants, was full of optimism, but the West HoReCa Forum stated as its goals, including the discussion of the problems of the hospitality industry, therefore criticism of one speaker by another is quite natural. Hot discussions are a fundamental part of any such event.

In the announcements, the organizer Horeca Solutions positioned what is happening at the Radisson hotel as nothing less than a "landmark event in the industry." In terms of the number of participants, and there were about three hundred guests, and the composition of speakers, and the leading top managers of the hospitality industry spoke, the event was a success. The first half was divided into two sections, one about hotels, the other about restaurants. Each featured experts of both federal scale, sharing their experience with local specialists, and Kaliningrad experts, but already authoritative enough to talk about expanding and scaling their experience to a higher level. The second part of the forum was already divided into four sections - marketing / promotion, design / equipment, management / management, services / service. On the periphery of all this there is an exhibition-presentation, where you can please the flesh by treating yourself to wine, sausage or something else, as well as familiarize yourself with more technical products, such as restaurant decor or tableware. Plus, a gala dinner and constant communication in the lobby and corridors of the Radisson, whose staff traditionally takes care of the guests beyond praise.

“We analyzed our menu, the section“ Cold snacks ”, there are a dozen items, and realized on sales that you can easily leave two - sliced ​​and herring, throw away everything else,” says Maxim Tkachev (Tabasco Group of Companies), boasting of success recently launched mobile app and announces the concept of a new Baltic cuisine.

“We must show that we have gastronomy and with our food improve the impression of the weather that does not meet the expectations of tourists,” Alexander Isaev, the head of Kaliningrad Street Food, formulates his vision, recalling the twelve and a half sunny days of last summer, and calls for expansion of collaborations between restaurateurs and street food.

“I like everything in hotels, except for guests and staff,” jokes with an absolutely serious face Sergey Kolesnikov, vice president of the Federation of Restaurateurs and Hoteliers of Russia, who is also managing partner of Alliance Hotel Management, and claims that there are no insignificant ones in the hospitality sector. frames. He also expresses a sound, but somewhat seditious, considering the general optimism, the idea that one global event cannot save the Kaliningrad hospitality sector.

Minister Andrey Yermak, in a behind-the-scenes conversation with us, notes that two things for which he does not worry at all in connection with the upcoming 2018 World Cup are volunteers and catering. Discussing with us how the positioning of the Kaliningrad region in the tourism market will change, given the legacy of the World Cup, he says: “We will focus on the so-called congress tourism. Logistics allows us to say that we have a convenient place for this. From 2019, electronic visas are being introduced, and we will promote ourselves in the MICE direction. Plus, event activities - but these are short-term plans. Strategically, we believe that the Kaliningrad region is attractive from the point of view of historical and cultural tourism and balneology, since these areas reduce the risks of seasonality and bad weather. Well, and gastronomy ”.

The speeches of many experts at the West HoReCa Forum are reminiscent of startup pitchings - the speakers first talk about their merits and why the audience should listen to them, and then begin to present and defend their ideas - but it is not entirely clear to whom.

Since the format of the most memorable forum sessions does not involve question and answer sessions. And there are still questions even for the most capacious, memorable and useful speeches. For example, Dmitry Kirillov, managing partner of the Altrimo Hotel on the Curonian Spit, emotionally recommends promotion channels to other hoteliers: "Advertising in the media no longer works." His long-lasting message boils down to the importance of promotion through SEO, targeting, maximum work to attract potential guests to his site, bypassing "Booking", in-depth analytics, attracting guests to him already in February, not in May, and in general the need to be professionals in everything. Meanwhile, New Year's corporate parties are advertised on the main page of the Altrimo website. On the calendar, March 1st, the time is approaching lunchtime.


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