Big inspection: Sergey Ivanov starts to check hotels for VIPs and WorldSkills client groups

Kazan hoteliers have been liberated from price restrictions during the world championships of vocational skills, but they have kept the same price of services

Less than two months are left before the start of WorldSkills in Kazan, and the championship host is preparing to meet the guests. Seventy-nine hotels, including all international chain hotels, have been selected to accommodate official delegations and client groups of the championship, Head of the Tatarstan State Committee for Tourism Sergey Ivanov told reporters. Although the rest of the hotel industry participants will not be bored: Kazan expects an influx of 100,000 guests to the World Cup — all the “cream” of the reservation of beds for the 16-thousand army of competitors have already been skimmed (up to 200 million rubles, at the most modest rates). Unlike the football world cup, the federal authorities do not put restrictions on hoteliers to set the price for accommodation in a room. Read more in the report of Realnoe Vremya.

The guests of WorldSkills have chosen 79 hotels in Kazan

Head of Tatarstan State Committee for Tourism Sergey Ivanov started the control inspection of hotels that received reservations for the accommodation of official delegations and client groups of the international championship of vocational skills WorldSkills. Seventy-nine hotels of Kazan of different levels of the star rating, including international chain hotels Ibis, Park Inn by Radisson, Courtyard by Marriott, Ramada, DoubleTree Hilton Kazan City Center, are going to accommodate 16,000 participants of foreign delegations. Taking into account that, according to official data, 150 hotels of different star rating were built in Kazan on the eve of preparation for the international championships, it turns out that every second hotel of the capital of the region received the cherished reservation from WorldSkills. There is no doubt that the first rooms were reserved not in the Kazan hotels, but in branded chain hotels for the simple reason that they work around the world and are well recognized (applications for reservations from foreign delegations were received and placed by the Directorate of Sports and Social Programmes of Kazan — editor’s note).

However, Sergey Ivanov diplomatically assured journalists that chain hotels did not have preferential demand, and all operators of the industry, regardless of the status, will have the opportunity to earn on the championship of vocational skills. “The whole hotel industry will receive the guests, everyone will be involved,” he said promising. The only difference is that the selected cohort of 79 hotels will accept client groups, and the rest will have to wait for the arrival of free tourists and guests, and the forecasts for the expected flow are quite optimistic. “We expect that about 70,000-100,000 tourists will come to Kazan for WorldSkills championship,” he shared his thoughts, having pleased the community of the hoteliers.

Ivanov liked the fact that a girl at the reception knew not only English but also Spanish. Photo: tatar-inform.ru

Checks from the chief of staff for the preparation of WorldSkills

The selected hotels, by the established since 2013 Universiade, cannot remain without the paternal care of the government of the Republic of Tatarstan. The head of the State Committee for Tourism, Sergey Ivanov, began the tour with the modern brand hotel DoubleTree Hilton Kazan City Center. In total, he is going to check 41 hotels. According to unofficial information, the hotels have already passed the total prosecutor's check in March-April of this year, after which they were checked by Rospotrebnadzor, ministry of emergency situations and National Guard of Russia. This time, the inspections were initiated by Deputy Prime Minister Shamil Gafarov, who heads the headquarters for the preparation for WorldSkills. The rest 37-38 hotels are in the area of responsibility of the Kazan authorities. It is possible that Mayor of Kazan Ilsur Metshin will also visit one of the international hotels of the city.

Sergey Ivanov inspected Hilton hotel quickly and quietly. Accompanied by General Manager of DoubleTree Hilton Kazan City Center hotel Alfiya Minnizyanova, he entered the hall, first spoke in English with a girl at the reception, then went to the lobby bar and asked the bartender again in English: what hr could drink non-alcoholic (although guests are more interested in other beverages). As it turned out later, Sergey Ivanov personally tested the knowledge of the foreign language of those who will directly communicate with foreign guests. It seems that he was pleased with the young people who turned out to be ready for the test. He liked the fact that the girl at the reception knew not only English but also Spanish. Then he looked at the number of rooms. He was shown a standard room at the price of 5,000 rubles per day and a luxury room cost 15,000 rubles. He even looked into the most vulnerable places, such as the bathroom, but decided not to check the plumbing, trusting the words of the general manager that everything was in order. In short, the shortcomings were not found, so there were no remarks to the Hilton hotel. Although it would be strange if the opposite happened.

Do you speak English?

“This week we have started to check the collective accommodation facilities, which will be used for client groups,” Sergey Ivanov explained in conclusion of the quick tour. “We pay attention to all areas of hospitality through which guests pass — the hall, restaurant, rooms. The professional level of personnel is also important. Since the event is international, it is necessary that all the hotel staff can speak with guests in English. Our task is to provide the highest level of service to the guests in order to make the world championship in Kazan the best of all the previous ones. Tatarstan always sets such a bar,” he said. According to him, comments on the number of rooms and recommendations on staff will be made at the end of the inspections. “Sometimes people can become less perceptive of things, and outside perspective helps to see the problem areas, for which they previously had not have enough time,” so he explained the benefits of the inspections.

“Now there are no rooms for sale, as well as in other hotels. There are available rooms for particular dates, but at the time of the major period of WorldSkills, the rooms were one hundred per cent booked,” said Minnikanov. Photo: tatar-inform.ru

Free-of-control prices

On the eve of the preparation for the championship, the hotels were liberated from the checks on compliance with the established price indicators. They can ask any price without regard to the power. Let us remind that for 2 years before the World Cup, the Russian government determined the maximum cost of a room in hotels in 11 cities, where qualifying football matches and 2018 FIFA Cup playoffs took place. Then the cost of one room in three-star and two-star hotels (the most visited) could not exceed 9,060 and 6,360 rubles, respectively, and the most expensive room in a five-star deluxe hotel could not cost more than 58,000 rubles a day. Rospotrebnadzor conducted daily monitoring of prices. Now these restrictions have been removed, hoteliers say.

Will hotels have the opportunity to make money on WorldSkills? “Yes, like during any big event, when the hotel is 100 per cent loaded, this is a wonderful period,” said General Manager of DoubleTree Hilton Kazan City Center Alfiya Minnizyanova. According to her, now there is an opportunity to sell all 92 rooms at the most favourable price for both the guest and the hotel. “Yes, we earn money, but I believe that we have a great mission — to show the city and be home to tourists. They will have the impression depending on where he lived,” she says.

The level set during the World Cup has not changed, she says. According to her, the time of active booking the rooms passed a year ago, and the last room was booked 4 days ago. “Now there are no rooms for sale, as well as in other hotels. There are available rooms on particular dates, but at the time of the major period of WorldSkills the rooms are booked at 100 per cent,” she said. According to Booking website, the cost of a standard room in the chain hotels of foreign brands starts from 5,000 rubles per day, luxury rooms with balconies with views of the city — from 15,000 rubles. Local hotels, of course, are inferior to them in price: here the cost of a room starts from 2,500. The guests are expected to arrive on 18 August.

By Luiza Ignatyeva
Tatarstan