Hollywood Hotels and Hotel Hills Convention Centre Sarajevo
Photo credit: Hotel Hollywood & Hotel Hills

The Hollywood & Hotel Hills Group, one of the most important brands in the tourism industry of Bosnia and Herzegovina, achieved a record revenue of more than 12 million euros in the first nine months of 2019 what is for more than 2 millions more than in the same period of 2018. Also, the profit of this group in the first nine months of 2019 amounts to 4.5 million and is higher by 1.5 million euros or 51.44 percent compared to the same period in 2018. We talked to the owner of the Hotel Group Hollywood & Hotel Hills Group, Saljo Mrkulić, about the reasons behind this success, about the largest convention centre in the Balkans that the company recently opened, and about the beautiful city of Sarajevo.

Q: Recently the news about record profits in 2019 for the Hotel Hollywood & Hotel Hills Group has hit the news. What was the main factor that brought to this success?

Our successful business was preceded by a number of factors, namely: dedication, teamwork, faith in success and constant improvement and investment in our facilities. Our vision is to be innovative and always one step ahead of the current hotel standard.

Q: Some of the news say that there is even a 92% higher business result in 2019 comparing to 2018. How come? What was so different in management and operations?

Since 2015, the company has been investing in new facilities and expanding the range and services of Hills and Hollywood hotels, and in the past two years, besides the new, luxury Hills Hotel, a new Wellness Spa, a 500 m2 children’s aqua park, has been built; children’s playroom indoors over 3,000 m2, football, basketball, volleyball, tennis courts and the largest congress hall in the Balkans with a capacity of up to 5,000 people. These significant projects have certainly attracted new clients and placed our company at the very top of the tourism and hospitality industry.

Investing in the MICE industry is the future, the new convention center is not only impressive in its size but also in the quantity and type of equipment it owns, for which there was over 1 million euros invested.

Hollywood Hotels and Hotel Hills Convention Centre Sarajevo
Photo credit: Hotel Hollywood & Hotel Hills

Q: Hotel Hills Congress & Thermal Spa Resort Sarajevo, together with the Hotel Hollywood Sarajevo and Thermal Riviera makes for one of the largest tourist complex in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Inside the hotels they provide also 60 diverse halls for MICE events. What share does the MICE industry make in the business of your company comparing to leisure tourism?

Our hotels are designed primarily for business people, but also for leisure, entertainment and relaxation. With the strengthening of the economic status of Bosnia and Herzegovina year by year, the market is increasingly showing the need for the MICE industry. The construction of new halls at the Hills Hotel has proved to be a full blow to the market, and so the new Convention Center is used weekly for new clients. Accommodation facilities along with the Ilidža Thermal Riviera make it a unique resort, an ideal place for a family vacation.

Q: Besides the congress halls inside the hotels, there is also a huge Convention Centre, opened earlier this year, with 5,000 seats. Supposedly, the Convention Centre is the largest in the region. How much has the investment cost you and why did you decide for such an investment?

Investing in the MICE industry is the future, the new convention center is not only impressive in its size but also in the quantity and type of equipment it owns, for which there was over € 1,000,invested. The investment is justified by the market need for something brand new. The existence of the Convention Center opens up new opportunities for planning and realization of much larger events at the world level and we believe that it will attract many new clients and organizers of international fairs, congresses and mega events from all over the world. This is significant not only for Sarajevo and Bosnia and Herzegovina, but also for the entire region.

These significant projects have certainly attracted new clients and placed our company at the very top of the tourism and hospitality industry.

Hotel Hills Sarajevo
Photo credit: Hotel Hollywood & Hotel Hills

Q: What results are you expecting in 2020?

The market is constantly evolving and competition is increasing, so we are already planning brand new projects that will satisfy not only domestic clients but also foreign clients, both with service and with a quality offer of space and opportunities for all clients. We expect that our hard work and work will be recognized by our clients, and consequently good results will come in the future. We strongly believe in that.

Q: What is the future plan of the company in regards to MICE?

As so far, increasing the capacity for the needs of MICE and a constant improving of the content and equipment needed to sustain all MICE activities, as well as constant investment into employees so that they follow world trends in the organisation and execution of major events and provide superior service to our clients.

With the strengthening of the economic status of Bosnia and Herzegovina year by year, the market is increasingly showing the need for the MICE industry.

Q: What would you suggest to congress guests to see and to do in Sarajevo?

There are many things to see in Sarajevo (cultural, historical and religious monuments;  Baščaršija, Vijećnica, Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque, Franz Ferdinand assassination site.. etc).
Sarajevo is multietnic and multicultural city. That is why is called ₺European Jerusalem₺. Most of our guest have some knowledge of Sarajevo and they can get some new information at the hotels reception or local tourist info center.

I would also suggest to all our guest, if time permits, to see other Bosnian cities such as Mostar, Travnik.. etc. Guest can enjoy in nature and taste some traditional food, which is a mix of Easter and Western cuisine. I am sure they will have a great time while visiting Sarajevo and Bosnia. You are all welcome!

Q: What would be a perfect business gift from Sarajevo?

It would be some souvenir from Baščaršija, maybe popular zvekir – a traditional Bosnian “doorbell”,  Sarajevo cube – as a symbol of comunity, dzezva for traditional bosnian coffee, rahat lokum…