Text by Daniela Kos, Poslovni Turizam
Solaris Beach Resort, one of the biggest hotel resorts in Croatia, is continuing with its ambitious investment plan. Their next goal is to become one of the leading meetings destinations in Croatia, and in order achieve that goal new convention center is being built.
With the largest meeting room capacity of 1.500 persons it will be the biggest of its kind in Croatia, and the opening is scheduled for spring next year. But that’s not all, next year will also bring introduction of new brand Amadria Park which will unite Solaris hotels and Milenij hotels in Opatija. Having all that in mind – it was right time to talk about these exciting news with Katarina Lilić, Executive Director at Solaris Beach Resort.
Q: You recently introduced new brand Amadria Park. What are the reasons for presenting this new brand?
Milenij hotels and Solaris are among the most successful tourism companies in Croatia. Besides ownership structure and long tradition, we are connected through high quality of services, continuous investment and innovation that make our guests stay a truly unique experience. Now we decided to unite all those values under one brand – Amadria Park – and intensify our investments in quality. We are confident that Amadria Park will have positive impact on attracting new guests in Croatia, and that will help position Opatija and Šibenik as attractive both tourist and meetings destination.
Q: How do you plan to communicate your new Amadria Park brand?
At this point Amadria Park brand will be used for hotels Milenij, St Jakov, Royal, Grand hotel 4 opatijska cvijeta and Agava in Opatija and Solaris hotels Ivan, Jure and Andrija. New brand will also feature Solaris resort’s attractions such as Gastro World, Royal Beach Club, Dalmatian ethno village, En Vogue Beach Club, Galija and Aquapark. Over the next three years all other hotels and facilities, which are now under Milenij hotels and Solaris, will be integrated under Amadria Park, after they meet the high standards set for our new brand.
Q: What does the new brand bring to guests?
Amadria Park is based on freedom of choice between various quality options, continuous improvement of service quality and personal approach to guest. Our goal is to provide warm, family atmosphere for our guests that are in Croatia for vacation and to be their partner in discovering the beauties of Adriatic coast.
Šibenik convention center for meetings and exhibitions
Q: Although you are well known on meetings and incentives market, and you hosted many events, next year you are taking the next step. You will open new convention center with 11 meeting rooms. What will be the biggest difference between this convention center and meeting capacities in hotels?
Šibenik convention center is first of its kind in Croatia – built only for meetings and exhibitions. It’s well known that Croatia lacks this kind of proper meeting venues. Some hotels have solid meeting capacities, but more often you can see hotel venues that don’t meet the modern event planners demands. Our convention center in Šibenik will be the biggest and the most modern meeting and exhibition venue in Croatia and it will effectively put Šibenik on event organizers maps as one of the most attractive congress destinations in Croatia.
Here are some key facts about convention center: total surface is 6.000 square meters and it will have 11 meeting rooms on three floors. The biggest room has 1.100 square meters (ceiling height 7,5m), which means it can host up to 1.500 persons. Separate registration/check-in area, wardrobe and a big exhibition area mean that organizers and participants will have full comfort during events. Last, but not least, I would like to point out that in the proximity of new convention center we have 5 hotels with 1.500 rooms, more than 20 restaurants and bars, 1.100 employees and 1.400 parking places.
Q: New convention center will definitely help you prolong the season, but is there potential to stay open all year long?
In the beginning we will extend our season, focusing on period from beginning of February to end of November. Over time, as the destinations air accessibility improves we will prolong this period even further.
Q: Besides new meeting rooms, what other services will you provide for event organizers?
Variety of facilities and services make our hotels in Šibenik and Opatija favorite venues for business and private events. As I mentioned before, organizers can count on 1.500 rooms in our hotels, 20 restaurants/bars and support of 1.100 employees. That unique synergy of meeting and accommodation capacities, together with organizational support, means we can meet every request.
Q: How satisfied are you with this year’s business results and what are your plans for next year?
This year’s results are better than planned, which gives us additional strength and resources for investments. We will continue working on service quality and development of unique product that can meet the needs and demands of our guests.
Q: You are part of Solaris team for the past 14 years. During that time you climbed your way up to Executive Director position. How does the experience you gained at previous positions help you today?
Sales and marketing are still important part of my job description. Executive Director means I have additional operational activities related to development of accommodation facilities in our hotels. Sure, my previous experience in sales and marketing helps me a lot, but no marketing strategy or sales approach won’t be successful if you don’t know your guests needs and you don’t understand importance of service quality.
Q: What are the biggest sales/marketing challenges for your company? How will the new Amadria Park brand be represented in digital communication channels?
Today’s biggest challenge is how to design your product/services and market them in such a way that a customer recognizes their uniqueness and quality. There are more and more accommodation choices for travelers these days, but you can never miss with an investment in quality. In our hospitality business personal approach to guests is an imperative. That is one of the key pillars of Amadria Park brand. Social media means two way communications with guests, and that is what we are focusing on. Listening to guest’s needs and demands, and providing timely response, is a necessity in promoting your brand in digital environment. In that sense we are very dynamic: we constantly evaluate our communication channels and practices and explore potential of new technologies. And the ultimate marketing goal is at the same time quite simple and very exciting: we want to show potential guests what they can expect when they stay in our hotels and make them feel the emotion of Amadria Park.