Ms. Burić is an evidence that, people who live and breath for their job are an important part of co-creation of such incredible stories like the story of the Hilton Hotel is.
Her energy is infectious, her stories are juicy, she is a guidebook to understanding the meaning of the Hilton brand and the historic impact that it has on the development of the city of Podgorica.
She knows her city, the city that is slowly but surely making its steps in developing to a Congress destination. The capital that is still an undiscovered jewel of tradition, kindness, hospitality and stunning nature.
We had a long talk and a pleasant Hilton walk…
Q: What are the Hilton hotel’s Congress capacities?
The most historic hotel in the city, built in 1953, is well known for its terrace which was the gathering place of many prominent figures from the public life. Situated in the city center, close to all public and commercial facilities, Hilton Podgorica Crna Gora has 180 sunlight guest rooms and is the preferred choice of business and leisure travelers, meeting organizers and the local community in the city.
The hotel offers 796 sq. m/ 8,565 sq. feet of versatile function space, ready to host meetings, conferences or banquets. It can host an event for up to 500 delegates in 425‐sqm/ 4,575‐sq foot Crystal Ballroom. The contemporary Princess Jelena room provides a stylish setting for banquets, product launches and presentations for up to 150 attendees, while the Princess Ksenija and Princess Milica rooms are ideal for smaller gatherings with up to 60 guests. The Boardroom is also available for meetings and training sessions.
Guest can enjoy at Doclea spa center, designed in accordance with the latest fitness trends – features an indoor pool, experience showers and massage rooms.
Within the hotel there is all day dining restaurant with open buffet breakfast, Sky Bar which offers a spectacular view of the city, Cigar Bar and the Terrace Fontana, the ideal place for locals and hotel guests, offering distinctive local cuisine with homemade ice cream and cakes.
Guests staying in Executive rooms and suites can enjoy benefits in the hotel’s Executive Lounge on the sixth floor of the hotel, with a lovely terrace overlooking the park.
Q: What kind of MICE events and incentives does the hotel offer?
- The Hotel has a perfect location and logistics that can accommodate up to 500 participants at the events. Podgorica as the capital city has been developing very fast in the last several years and starting to be recognized as MICE destination through the whole year.
- As the one of the largest hotels in Montenegro, we can offer full support for MICE events and Incentives. Since the hotel opening, city and the Country as well, have hosted numerous important events – like World bank summit, NATO summit, Forum 8+1 with presence of Vice President of United States Mr. Mike Pens and Presidents or Prime ministers of neighborhood countries, Forum 16+1 with Mayors of surrounding countries as well as a Mayor of Beijing city.
Q: How important are events as a strategic tool for you?
- Events are playing a crucial role in our business strategies. Up to 30% of hotel business mix refers to MICE guests on accommodation, on top of which we have the additional 20% of corporate business guests that are on some way influencing and participating in MICE events.
- Regarding the Incentives, I am glad to announce that this part of tourism is significantly increasing in Podgorica. We already hosted numerous Incentives groups, and for the first time this year, we will in Podgorica host auto-moto incentive of one world known brand.
Q: What are the key challenges for Podgorica’s event industry, in your opinion?
The biggest challenges are infrastructure, starting from the most important – airport logistic and flight connections, venues for the organization of large congresses and fairs in the city, lack of city attractions. I would definitely recognize trained staff as one of the important challenges. More effort should be invested in education on every level, by my opinion.
Q: How important is congress tourism for Montenegro?
Congress tourism is the top priority for Podgorica and very important for the other cities in Montenegro that still have a seasonal / leisure character since it enables prolonging of the season. Montenegro is no longer depending on leisure guests and on the season. Also, promotion of our country as a congress destination will lead to a growth of investments and increase of incomes, which should have a positive effect on our economy in general.
Q: What is your hotel’s marketing strategy for the congress activities?
As a part of Hilton Worldwide group (105 Countries & Territories 5,284 Properties | 856,115 Rooms) we represent the link between Hilton base of clients and the agencies and Montenegro. In this way, we are opening the new door to our market.
Being the part of the worldwide brand we are introducing new DMCs, MICE and Incentive agencies to Montenegro and presenting our county in the best way.
Q: How many Congresses did you host in the past year at Hilton?
We had a very busy year behind us, in which we hosted around 500 Events, out of around 10% were large Congresses.
Q: What was the number of congress guests in the previous year?
Around 10.000 rooms were sold in following market segmentations – company meetings, corporate guests, the congress guests and the guests of conventions.
“…promotion of our country as a congress destination will lead to a growth of investments and increase of incomes, which should have a positive effect on our economy in general “
Q: What is your management strategy?
Since the opening, the strategy of our management was positioning on the market, which has been acchieved sooner than expected.
For the first time a 5***** star full-service hotel was established in Podgorica, with a goal to bring high-level clients and to train the staff to meet demands of this clientele.
Q: What are the developmental goals for your hotel in 2018?
We have numerous key goals in 2018, and some of them are:
– Increasing of efforts in bringing new markets with a Hilton support;
– Increasing of efforts regarding educational programs – within the hotel as well as with local community in Montenegro;
– Increasing of efforts regarding educational programs within Hilton – cross-trainings, trainings, workshops and study visits;
Q: How do you compete with other congress hotels in the city? What is your hotel’s priority?
We are trying not to compete, but to give each other support. Podgorica is still small and new developing market and sometimes competition can be severe, but I am sure that growth of Podgorica will have as a consequence increase of opportunities for all the stake-holders. Our hotel’s priority is still quality service to our guests, meaning that trained and educated staff and good customer service is crucial.
Q: What were your “five minutes of fame” moment and your favorite project with which you would praise yourself?
Definitelly I wouldn’t take any praise for myself.
Everything is the teamwork, and my team is my five minutes of fame.
Q: Can you please describe the most spectacular event that happened in the Hilton?
Among many others, I have to point out visite of vice president of USA Mr. Mike Pens. This was one of the largest challenges for our team. At that time, the hotel was less than one year opened with very young and still not very trained staff. Organization was very complex, but at the end we were proud on ourselves, because everything went prefect!
Q: If you didn’t have to work for money….what would you be doing?
I would dedicate myself to protecting the environment and activating on projects for civil – child rights and social action.