"Competition a good thing, service is what we live for" - Russian luxury hotels

The majestic Hotel Metropol remains a magnet for those looking for luxury and service. Source: Press Photo

The majestic Hotel Metropol remains a magnet for those looking for luxury and service. Source: Press Photo

Amid intense competition, Hotel Metropol retains its edge with quality services and reasonable rate.

The oldest hotel in Moscow, the Metropol, will celebrate its 110th anniversary in the coming year. On the eve of the anniversary of the hotel, RIR spoke to the hotel manager Alexander Petkov about competition with international brands and working during this time of economic crisis.

The Snow Maiden
Alexander Petkov. Source: Press Photo

How is the market of luxury hotels in Moscow? Where does Metropol currently stand in this market?

The market for luxury hotels in Moscow is developing and will continue to evolve. Because of currency inflation and other economic factors, changes occur, but the luxury service class continues to be in demand.

Metropol is a tradition that has existed for 110 years. Compared to the Ritz, Hyatt, and other competitors, we don’t have that catchy name known in advance for its quality standards; but there is the history. The Metropol has provided lodging for historical figures, writers, and artists – so just even to walk around the hotel and to breathe in the atmosphere is a very special feeling. We pay attention to what our guests think about the service at the hotel, and make their stay more comfortable not just at the Metropol, but also in Moscow.

Is the competition with luxury chain hotels really feasible?

Chains in the Moscow market is a good thing. Competition should be present; otherwise stagnation occurs, which does not allow for the development of neither our hotel nor the market. For us, service is what we live for. For us, every guest is a special guest, and his/her needs are our priority.

Technically, the Metropol is an independent hotel. I have worked in a chain hotel, so I can say that we are all much faster in our decision-making. For example, we thought that we should put breakfast in the corner of our buffet, and two days later, there it was. We did not have to call somewhere in the main office and check everything. The speed of decision-making gives us an advantage, as we are rapidly adapting to each client’s request.

How have the principles of competition changed in the new economy?

We have become more creative, including in terms of our service as well. For example, for certain segments, we have included a mini-bar in the room. When our guests call in, they do not have to worry about whether water is paid for. This is already included in the price, but that does not mean that we have to raise prices. 

How has the demand for luxury accommodation in Moscow changed due to the economic situation?

In Moscow and worldwide, the demand for luxury accommodation remains at a high level. It is chosen by the people who are accustomed to such luxury. There are fluctuations in the current case, as the countries from where guests are arriving have changed. Where before we had a lot of visitors from the UK or the Baltic states, this year we had more and more visitors from Brazil, Venezuela, and Asia.

Has the hotel’s rate changed due to the current economic situation?

Starting a price war among hotels is inappropriate. So far, we have not changed our rates. Instead of increasing the price of our rooms, we try to add more services to give guests more attention. The ruble lost 36 percent of its value from June, and if you look at the statistics, the majority of these losses occurred last month. That is, the plans we had for our guests at the end of October, already may not be compatible with the current conditions. For Europeans, who believed that Moscow is expensive, given the current rate, the city will seem more affordable.

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