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Tuesday, 07 January 2014 11:35

Grand Hotel Europe’s goal is to bring its service to perfection - Elgun Mammadov, General Manager of Grand Hotel Europe Featured

Grand Hotel Europe’s goal is to bring its service to perfection - Elgun Mammadov, General Manager of Grand Hotel Europe

Caspian Energy Investor (CEI): For how many years has the hotel been operating in the Azerbaijani market?

Elgun Mammadov, General Manager, Grand Hotel Europe: Grand Hotel Europe was opened in 1995 and has been functioning for 16 years by holding its position in the Azerbaijan’s hotel market. The hotel embodies local hospitability, provides services meeting international standards and has a big hotel business experience under its belt.  


CEI: How do you evaluate the work of the hotel since the beginning of 2012 and what are the plans for coming year?

Elgun Mammadov: 2012 was very successful for Grand Hotel Europe. After Azerbaijan’s victory in the Eurovision song contest Baku hosted this event in 2012. It was a watershed event in development of tourism and hotel business in Azerbaijan. Grand Hotel Europe benefited from this event as well.

It is already December 2012 and I may openly say that we have this year reached set goals and objectives both from the financial and administrative standpoints. We have set new goals for 2013 and already keep moving toward their achievement. Now we work on improvement of our service level and development of standards of the international brand of Grand Hotel Europe. Apart from this, we work in the direction of changing of the pricing policy in accordance with market requirements.

CEI: Which perspective directions do you plan to develop in future?

Elgun Mammadov: As we are engaged in hotel business, we consider opportunities of expansion of our potential in this segment of the market.

For the last two years we have had most of our guests coming from the Caspian-Black Sea region countries. The number of guests from such countries as Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkey and other countries prevails among them. We in our turn do our best to provide high level of service to guests and tourists who visit Azerbaijan.


CEI: Did the global financial crisis impact on your activity?

Elgun Mammadov: I may say confidently that the financial crisis did not affect Azerbaijan as hard as it did other countries. According to the latest data, about 2 mln tourists visit Azerbaijan and no big changes have been fixed in this figure for the past three years. Besides, the number of hotel rooms in Azerbaijan grows every year. Thus, we settle the same amount of tourists in rooms which grow in numbers. On the one hand, this competition will lead to the quality growth of rendered services on the other hand the market share that falls on one hotel is reducing.


CEI: What importance does the hotel attach to service quality growth in this regard?

Elgun Mammadov: Work on maximal growth of level of individual service to our clients is one of the main aspects which the hotel will focus on in 2013. Special importance will be attached to trainings and the plan for conduction of trainings in 2013 is currently under development. Trainings will be held three times a week starting from the next year. They will include skills for communication with clients, learning of foreign languages, hand-language, etc. The goal is to bring hotel service to perfection. 

CEI: Which foreign markets are of interest to the hotel from the standpoint of hotel business?

Elgun Mammadov: We wish Azerbaijan’s hotel business level to meet the standards of the American hotel business development as all standards arise from the given market. These standards were established in the USA and undergo permanent improvement. It is certainly noteworthy that each hotel individualizes these standards on basis of its requirements. Guests from Europe and CIS countries show interest to our hotel. 80% of tourists visit Baku for business purposes. Therefore, we try to bring our standards to the level meeting the requirements of business traveling. For instance, there is a business center, conference rooms, taxi service and concierge service at the hotel.  I.e. we do everything for facilitation of business travel of a guest in Azerbaijan.


CEI: How do you evaluate the activity of the Caspian-European Integration Business Club (CEIBC)?

Elgun Mammadov: I would like to express my gratitude to Telman Aliyev, President and CEO of CEIBC. I assume that this Club plays an important role in development of economic relations between commercial organizations. We try to lend maximally support to CEIBC’s initiatives.


CEI: Where were you born and studied?

Elgun Mammadov: I was born in Sheki when my parents traveled across Azerbaijan. I lived and studied in Baku. I graduated from Azerbaijani International University and majored in the international law. When I studied at the university I found a job in one of hotels of Azerbaijan. Since then I have had an interest and love arisen in me to hotel business and I continued working in this sphere. Nowadays, I am a sophomore at the American Cornell University and major in administrative management. I took my classes online.


CEI: What were you engaged in before? Do you have a hobby?

Elgun Mammadov: I like reading very much. I would like to note one interesting fact. I reread the book I like in every 2-3 years. I gain new knowledge after each reading. Paolo Coelho’s Alchemist is the latest book that I have already ready 4 times.

Apart from this, I trained for 6 years in the national judo team of Baku city.


CEI: Is any of your classmates engaged in the same sphere or even comes your business partner?

Elgun Mammadov: Me and a friend of mine Ergun who has also been engaged in hotel business for about 7-8 years studied at the same school. He is one year younger than I am. Sometimes, people mix us which each other as we have similar names.


CEI: A list of wealthy people is made in many countries. Whatcouldyoutellaboutfinancialstatus?

Elgun Mammadov: Each person has own goals. Some wish to become a millionaire others wish to get a high ranking position. I would say that money is an important factor but not the most important one in life. I may say that my salary suffices both for me and my family. If I make an impression of a person who aspires to increase his profits I do it only for provision of happy life for people who are around me.


CEI: What is your position toward charity activities? Do you think companies and their owners should take an active part in this issue or solution of problems of the poor is the business of state?

Elgun Mammadov: I think that each state should have a sound policy in this sphere. Sheria says that a person should share money he/she earns. It would be awesome if entrepreneurs and wealthy people created funds for supporting this activity line of the state. 


CEI: How many hours a day do you work?

Elgun Mammadov: I have worked for 10 hours per day over the past 4 years. In general, I think that a person should spare time to work processes even after work as well as analyze his activity beyond the office for gaining success.


CEI: Which feature of your character do you dislike?

Elgun Mammadov: I would not say that I dislike a certain feature of my character. But sometimes a person tends to make unfair decisions when he is angry and has his concentration dispersed. I try to make fair decisions.


CEI: What feature do you mainly value in men and women?

Elgun Mammadov: I mainly value a professional pride. If a person possesses such quality then he takes full responsibility for his work.  


CEI: Which cuisine do you prefer and what are your favorite dishes?

Elgun Mammadov: Of course I prefer an Azerbaijani cuisine and try to stay away from greasy food. People currently show interest and prefer an Asian cuisine and I am not an exception in this case.


CEI: Could you please tell about your family. Are you married? How long do you spend time with your family?

Elgun Mammadov: I was born in 1982. I am engaged and plan to get married in coming year. I try to spare my mother and fiancée as much time as possible. I have two sisters. One is married the other is engaged. I try to spend most of time with them.

Paying a visit to psychologist is not broadly spread in Azerbaijan. But I have friends whom I often meet and spend time together as well as discuss accumulated problems.


CEI: Which countries have you been to? Where did you manage to get rest and where did you like it most?

Elgun Mammadov: I often visit Turkey. There are places that I visited in Turkey several times. I have also been to Russia, Germany, Kuwait, UAE, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Georgia and Poland. I mostly enjoyed my visit to Doha (capital of Qatar) maybe because I spent very little time there. Regarding countries I prefer visiting for pleasure that would be Turkey. When I walk along the streets of Istanbul especially along Sultan Akhmed Street, I imagine the history of the Ottoman Empire, campaigns of Sultan, etc.

But I definitely plan to visit Doha and get rest there.


CEI: Could you please tell any funny accident that happened to you in your life?

Elgun Mammadov: When I started working for hotel business in 2004 I often came across with Dubai Burj al Arab (known as a sailboat) hotel in advertising clips. My dream was to work at that hotel. This hotel refers to Jumeirah brand. But I could not move and work abroad because of my family status. It turned out that the brand itself came to Azerbaijan. So I became a project coordinator. Then I got an offer and worked there for a year and a half.


Thank you for the interview

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