Photo credit: personal archive

Dušica Čarapič, a petite lady with a grande mission. The director of sales for the Centre Ville since the opening of the hotel. She took over a so-called tabula rasa, and made not just a popular hotel, but is creating a popular place – the Livingroom of Podgorica.

The lobby of Centre Ville Hotel is not a typical hotel lobby, it is a place where locals and tourists feel like at home. Cozy atmosphere, great modern design, and almost daily program, that is conducted in the Living room, has built the reputation of this hotel as an urban trendsetter.

Ms. Čarapić, with her colleagues, organized around 500 events in one year. When asked which was her favorite, and closest to her heart, she said that that is impossible to answer. But talking about how she took care after every pillow in the lobby when she organized a fashion show a humble smile of pride appeared on her face.

Dušica is a perfectionist, a hard-working leader, that has both of contrasts inside of her. She is strict and cool, she understands the trends and knows exactly what it takes to realize them. She is a lady with a plan. And she is succeeding that plan like there exists nothing that stands in the way.

Q: What are the Centre Ville hotel’s Congress capacities?

Located at the luxurious Capital Plaza Complex in the Montenegrin capital city – Podgorica, the CentreVille hotel offers a world-class blend of warm hospitality, peaceful comfort, and unparalleled amenities. CentreVille is at the epicenter of Podgorica business and leisure district, therefore it is the perfect location for diverse meetings and events organizations.
Hotel has 122 rooms and suites as well as 4 state-of-art fully equipped conference rooms which can accommodate up to 300 people.

Q: What kind of MICE events and incentives does the hotel offer?

Considering hotel capacities, we are focused on events or incentives with up to 100 participants. This makes CenteVille Hotel & Experiences stand out towards the high profile events. Our aim is to attract new European markets in order to promote hotel as well as Montenegro as a destination.
Destination MICE branding is of high importance, considering that Montenegro is an upcoming destination, with a lot of potential towards further development.

Q: How important are events as a strategic tool for you?

While thinking about the travel industry in general, people tend to imagine leisure comes first. However, MICE industry became one of the major growth drivers in the past years. Fully understanding of what is attracting MICE travelers and how to catch their attention gives us a competitive advantage in Montenegrin market. Therefore, events are the main strategic tool for CentreVille Hotel & Experiences. This being said, I see Podgorica as a new MICE destination in the future period.

Q: What are the key challenges for Podgorica’s event industry, in your opinion?

Podgorica became very advanced and viable conference city. With new airline connections from all around the world, we see lots of potential for events industry development.
We strongly aim towards the improvement and promotion of the original value of the town, as well as initiating, coordinating and organizing cultural, artistic, and economic, sports and other events that contribute to the enrichment of the tourist product. Preservation of the tourist area, the environment, and cultural heritage are also challenging, however promising. Existing benefits of Podgorica as tourist sites are being used for better promotion of the tourist image of the city and directed to the formation of distinctive tourist product of the city.

Q: What is, in your opinion, a must-see for every visitor to Podgorica?

Montenegro is a small country with good communications, modern infrastructure and diverse, stunning landscapes which make it just a perfect destination for conferences, business meetings and incentives of any size. Mild Mediterranean climate and favorable geographical location allow Montenegro to be all year round MICE destination.
Plantaze Vineyard as the biggest in one piece in Europe, in my opinion, is a must-see venue in Podgorica. A diverse range of landscapes, food, and good vine amazes all the visitors.

Q: How would you rate the cities offer of tourist infrastructure (bars, restaurants, nightlife, leisure activities, sports activities, cultural venues…)? In the offer developing? Which venue would you recommend to a congress tourist as a must see?

Podgorica is the upcoming center of Montenegro. As the capital city, it has many advantages. All the cultural activities, sports fields, restaurants, bars are vivid throughout the year.
As the perfect congress tourist venue, I would suggest luxurious complex The Capital Plaza, as the most contemporary one in Montenegro.

Q: How important is congress tourism for Montenegro?

Congress tourism, as part of the general one, is very important. Montenegro is a diverse country. This being said, all the tourism types are equally important and significant. As a land of diversity and huge potential, Montenegro is ideal congress destination. Amazing hotels, great auditoriums, recognized food, respectable culture – easily approachable.

Q: If you had a magic stick, what would you instantly change to increase the development of Congress tourism in Podgorica?

I’d build a contemporary congress center.

Q: What is your hotel’s marketing strategy for the congress activities?

We use all the potential of social networks, as we reach a big amount of people in that way. We aim to create creative adverts, engage wide range audience, listen to their needs, and implement their feedback into our strategies.
Social Media also plays an important part in promoting MICE business as it increases awareness, improves and maintains a high level of customer servic while communicating directly with target audiences.
Besides social networks, we are present in highly appreciated publications, we organize sales calls etc.

Q: How many events did you host in the past year at Centre Ville?

Considering the fact that hotel is opened in October 2016, which means we are operating for almost 2 years, we succeeded in organizing more than 500 different seminars, meetings, and events.

Q: What was the number of congress guests in the previous year?

70% of total number of guests are business travelers which give us a number of approximately 25000 congress travelers during the year

Q: Who is the typical guest of CentreVille?

CentreVille’s typical guest is contemporary men/woman, strong, powerful, confident. Ready to lead, meet, mingle and explore whilst being opened towards new knowledge.

Q: What is your management strategy?

We serve as we would like to be served. We feel like home. We take care of our guest’s needs.

Q: How do you compete with other congress hotels in the city? What is your hotel’s priority?

Quality of service is our priority. CentreVille as a brand is urban, contemporary and eclectic. Atmosphere and approach are what makes us different us from the competition. As stated above – we feel like home.

Q: What was your “five minutes of fame” moment and your favorite project with which you would praise yourself?

Being as busy as we are, I can say that each and every day has it’s few minutes of fame. Therefore, I wouldn’t give the priority to a particular moment.

Q: Can you please describe the most spectacular event that happened at the Centre Ville?

Since the opening, we had lots of interesting events. However, you always have those that will never be forgotten. One of them is a spectacular fashion show by the famous Serbian fashion designer Igor Todorovic, happened in “The Living Room” which acts hotel’s lobby. It’s an eclectic and vivid space, easily transformable into a chic stage.
Besides various fashion shows, our rooftop terrace is one of the preferred wedding ceremony areas in the city.
We aim to create memories through special moments. As per the feedback we are getting – we are on top of the task.

Q: If you didn’t have to work for money….what would you be doing?

I would be traveling and exploring. I’d be an eternal tourist.

Prepared by: Ajda Borak

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