Last year, Turkey and especially Istanbul were among the international destinations which had an uninterrupted successful summer / autumn season (late into November), thanks to several ‘corridors’ but also a very solid national ‘’Safety Certification’’ developed with world renowned international specialist companies. What are your expectations for this year?
Obviously the situation has been managed quite well by all industry stakeholders and Istanbul enjoyed pleased occupancy levels starting from mid-July until year end.
High leisure demand especially from new source markets such as Russia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Balkan countries are expected to come back this summer.
Slow down during winter has already started to turn into high demand with the start of Newrouz holidays and city is currently welcoming promising reservations.
International and domestic travelers are convinced from taken measures and we expect a very busy summer season ahead!
Which international feed markets are you counting on for this upcoming season?
As mentioned above we expect a continuation of high leisure demand from Russia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, Bosnia-Herzegovina and also come back of Turkish citizens living abroad (especially German, Austria, France Netherlands and Switzerland).
In addition promising international demand strong presence in local market will keep domestic staycation reservations at satisfying levels.
To what extent the fact that most luxury hotels in Istanbul have not closed during the pandemic, remains a major competitive advantage, especially in comparison with other similar metropolis where hotels were shut down even for 12 months.
Keeping hotels opened during the pandemic was an important message to travellers. Despite all global challenges we keep operating, are prepared and care for our guests. Accommodation was also during the peak times of the pandemic an important requirement and need.
On the other hand our teams gained crucial experiences how to operate during very difficult times. We kept the momentum and adapted much faster to later increased demand and normalisation.
What is your view on the most effective measures which should be implemented? – should all staff in hospitality be vaccinated as a priority? / – should authorities fully control the verification process or maybe even hotels require some form of vaccination or testing?
Hospitality is after healthcare industry one of the most risky sectors during the pandemic. Considering team members health’s and also avoiding loss of sales forces to other industries, this issue should be prioritised.
On the other hand having all staff vaccinated will be a very strong and attractive message to customers. We are healthy, careful and ready to serve.
All actions and plans should be coordinated together with authorities and hotels.
Are ‘corridors’ with certain countries a solution for this year too?
The link between transport and accommodation is evident in the development and recovery of our industry. Cultural corridors with Balkan countries or combining various elements including gastronomy, cultural traditions and history will certainly help to keep the momentum with potential source markets.
From the current restrictions, which are the ones that can be maintained without presenting a major challenge for foreign travellers?
Social distance and wearing masks has become a general practice globally. People have learned and accepted to travelling differently since the pandemic. Also PCR tests will be a permanent restriction which should not be considered as a major challenge
Swissotel The Bosphorus has cemented its positioning among the finest luxury hotels in Istanbul ever since opening. What novelties shall we anticipate in 2021?
2021 was obviously a year to remember for Swissotel The Bosphorus. Not only negative due to the pandemic but also with good memories how well we have managed the crises and turned many figures into positive. We have learned a lot from the past year and are now much more experienced and prepared for a busy 2021.
With the warming of the weather we will be again very active in our large outside facilities, beautiful garden areas. This year our new concept of Iglos at Chalet garden was great success and we will continue to operate during summer as Beer Garden to utilize beautiful outdoor gardens and opening very soon the highlight of the city 16 Roof. Stayed tuned!
How do you ensure that despite any pandemic restrictions but also additional costs / investments., there are no compromises in service?
The pandemic has taught all of us to provide service quality and guest satisfaction in a different way. We are observing carefully new guest needs and learn from every single guest reaction and feedback what is expected from us. We will keep focus on hygiene and safety which has become the priority of a luxury service. We will not refrain from any cost or investment which will help us the meet our guest needs during those challenging times.
Attention, care, motivation and staying positive will be the key factors to ensure consistent success.
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