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Petar Platiša, Sales Director, Mona Hotel Management

Guests Seek An Experience

The portfolio of the Mona Hotel Management group currently includes four hotels: Hotel Mona Plaza and Hotel Argo, both in Belgrade, Hotel Zlatibor Mona and Hotel Javor in Kušići. Apart from its own properties, the group also manages hotels owned by other investors

Next year will mark two decades since fashion house Mona entered the world of hotel management, and last year saw the company commemorate the birth of Mona Hotel Management.

Here the group’s sales director, Petar Platiša, speaks to CorD Magazine about what was brought by separating the fashion and hotel sectors, as well as discussing plans for the period ahead.

What are all the aspects involved in hotel management? Is it just a case of leading operational activities that the services used by the guest depend on, or does it also include the legal aspect, sales, marketing, planning etc.?

– Managing a hotel implies the complete synchronising of managerial and operational activities with the aim of satisfying guests, satisfying employees and achieving the desired profitability. Legal service, sales, marketing, accounting and other services provide significant contributions to achieving goals, such that it is only the full synchronising of the noted services with operational activities that leads to the desired results.

Does managing hotels that you own differ from managing hotels that are owned by other investors, and if so, how? Can it be done without a large, experienced and tightly knit team?

– Without an experienced and well-connected team, it’s not possible to manage one’s own hotel, let alone hotels owned by other investors. One of the fundamental differences in managing one’s own hotels compared to hotels owned by other investors is reflected in the harmonising of business philosophies and the metrics of the business itself, given that the majority of hotel industry investors come from other industries that have some different business philosophies, thus the harmonising of philosophies represents the basic difference in managing hotels owned by other investors.

What’s among everything included in your portfolio? We assume that Mona Plaza is your biggest project to date, something that brings you are particularly sense of pride.

– Our portfolio currently includes four hotels: Hotel Mona Plaza in Belgrade, Hotel Argo in Belgrade, Hotel Zlatibor Mona and Hotel Javor in Kušići. Our biggest investment to date is certainly the Mona Plaza, with 170 rooms, nine conference halls and a total investment value of 30 million euros, which really makes it special. We plan to further develop that brand in the period ahead, both within our own portfolio and by way of expansion through management contracts and franchise agreements.

Today’s guests, particularly the foreigners who are increasingly coming to Serbia, seek much more than spacious rooms and a superior service. They seek a unique experience, authentic contents, original interiors etc.?

– Guests today, both in Serbia and other destinations, desire experiential travel, which is why we are shifting our entire philosophy to “experience”, to a model through which we want to offer an immersive adventure, whether that’s about individual guests, groups or other market segments. Experience is what people pay money for nowadays.

A total investment value of 30 million euros, with 170 rooms and nine conference halls, makes the Hotel Mona Plaza really special

Who are your most frequent guests; who fills your capacities? Did the pandemic lead to a change in the structure of your guests, their habits, desires, needs and expectations?

– The pandemic had a great impact on changing the structure of market segments, which is totally understandable. We are noticing changes in market segments, as well as opportunities to increase average sales prices. We’ve redesigned our budgets in accordance with the potential of the new market and growing market segments that accumulate the most. As for the needs themselves, I would like to highlight the fact that, as in the previous question, it is experience that represents one of the main points of interest in the desires of guests.

How do you utilise your unique advantage reflected in having two top hotels, one in the centre of Belgrade and the other on the country’s most popular mountain?

– I will gladly use this opportunity to announce that the Zlatibor Mona Hotel will also become part of the Mona Plaza brand prior to the start of the upcoming winter season, so we will have Hotel Mona Plaza in Belgrade and Hotel Mona Plaza in Zlatibor. We utilise our unique advantage in “cross-selling”, given that many market segments participate in both hotels to a large extent, so having two hotels of the same brand in different destinations provides us with a great “cross-selling” opportunity, which we try to take advantage of, thereby spreading our brand’s strength and visibility.

How far have you progressed on your planned introduction of a loyalty programme that will provide member companies with benefits at hotels operating under the scope of the Mona Hotel Management group?

– The loyalty programme represents one of our most strategically important projects, considering that we plan to use the period ahead to expand across the region – both through our own investments and through management contracts and franchise agreements, as I mentioned, so creating a unique database of companies, individuals and groups will have a lot of importance, not only in terms of our further development, but also to all potential investors interested in cooperating with us and taking on the Mona Plaza brand.

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