As the first and only Hyatt hotel in the region for more than three decades, the Hyatt Regency Belgrade has become an iconic landmark of Belgrade, renowned for its exceptional service and creating memorable guest experiences. We asked Zafiris Lampadaridis, general manager of Hyatt Regency Belgrade, how much its business model has changed in the meantime in accordance with new hospitality trends and the needs and lifestyle of a new generation of guests, why Hyatt has an undisputed status in the increasingly competitive hotel market in Belgrade, and what the rapid expansion of the Hyatt brand in Serbia and neighboring countries means for the region.
Hyatt Regency Belgrade was the first and only Hyatt hotel in the region for a long time. Has its status and significance, as well as its offer and business model, changed over the past 33 years, and if so, how much?
Over the past 33 years, Hyatt Regency Belgrade has undoubtedly witnessed improvements in its business model, while its status and significance have remained the same as the hotel continuously plays a crucial role in shaping the hospitality landscape in Belgrade and adapts to meet evolving guest expectations and market trends. As the first and only Hyatt hotel in the region for a long time, Hyatt Regency Belgrade has become an iconic landmark in the city, renowned for its exceptional service and dedication to creating memorable guest experiences. While the hotel’s core commitment to luxury, impeccable service and guest satisfaction remains steadfast, the hotel has embraced change and innovation to stay ahead in a competitive market.
Photo: Hyatt Regency Belgrade
How much have hotel trends changed in general in recent years? What are the habits and lifestyles of the new generation of guests, and how does Hyatt adapt to them?
Hotel trends have indeed undergone significant changes in recent years, driven by shifts in guest habits, lifestyles and preferences. The emergence of the new generation of guests, including millennials and Gen Z, has played a crucial role in shaping these trends. Hyatt, as a forward-thinking hospitality brand, has adapted to these changes to meet the evolving needs and expectations of this new generation. Through the integration of technological innovations, we have enabled authentic experiences for modern travelers by aiming to provide guests with a genuine sense of place and connection to the destination through personalization and creation of experiences tailored to their preferences.
We have placed sustainability and eco-consciousness at the forefront of our priorities, diligently working to diminish our environmental impact, foster energy efficiency and implement effective waste reduction programs. Furthermore, social responsibility and community engagement are of great importance with numerous initiatives. The commitment to making a positive impact on the environment and our local community resonates with socially conscious guests and aligns with their values.
Belgrade is evolving into the business center of the Balkans, and there is a growing selection of luxurious hotels and apartments to choose from. Can you feel that new Belgrade vibrancy and energy in your business, and why is Hyatt always Hyatt, despite the fact that Belgrade has an increasing number of high-quality and branded hotels?
Hyatt Regency Belgrade has successfully maintained its distinct identity and continued to thrive, despite the increasing number of high-quality and branded hotels in Belgrade. We can tangibly feel the vibrant energy of Belgrade's evolution into a prominent business center. As a result, the city offers a growing selection of luxury hotels and apartments, making the hospitality landscape competitive. However, Hyatt Regency Belgrade distinguishes itself through several key factors. First and foremost, our unwavering commitment to excellence sets us apart. We consistently deliver exceptional service and strive to exceed guest expectations in every aspect of their experience. Our personalized approach ensures that each guest receives tailored attention and a memorable stay. Furthermore, Hyatt's strong brand identity plays a significant role in maintaining our prominence. Our brand is synonymous with luxury, sophistication and meticulous attention to detail. This recognition instills trust and loyalty among travelers, even with the expanding choices in the market.
Hyatt's global network and esteemed loyalty program, World of Hyatt, offer additional value to our guests. With a wide range of properties worldwide and exclusive member benefits, we offer a comprehensive and rewarding hospitality experience that stands out amidst the growing competition. Belgrade's hospitality scene flourishes, and I believe that our commitment to excellence, personalized service, strong brand identity, global network and adaptability keep us at the forefront of discerning travelers' preferences. We take pride in maintaining our position as a trusted and preferred choice in this competitive market.
What is the profile of your guests today, and what hotel facilities and amenities can guests and visitors enjoy? What, for example, would be your personal recommendation at Hyatt for Belgrade residents and all those who happen to be in the city?
Our guests at Hyatt Regency Belgrade today come from diverse backgrounds and include business travelers, leisure seekers, families and individuals looking for exceptional experiences. We cater to a wide range of guest preferences and strive to create memorable stays for each individual.
Our hotel offers a comprehensive array of facilities and amenities to ensure a delightful and enriching experience. Guests can indulge in luxurious accommodations, meticulously designed to provide comfort and elegance. We provide world-class dining options, ranging from the exquisite Metropolitan restaurant serving international cuisine that has been included in the Michelin Guide for 2023, vibrant The Bar that offers an amazing atmosphere and exceptional cocktails and Tea House, a popular Belgrade lounge ideal for a light lunch or coffee and delicious dessert.
For wellness enthusiasts, our fitness center Club Olympus Fitness and Spa is provided with the latest equipment, and our spa facilities create a sanctuary of relaxation and rejuvenation. At Hyatt Regency Belgrade, we strive to create exceptional moments and provide a home away from home for our guests. Whether you are a Belgrader seeking a luxurious getaway or a visitor discovering the city for the first time, we aim to exceed your expectations and deliver a memorable and enriching stay.
Tea House Lobby / Photo: Hyatt Regency Belgrade
Given that it was built over 30 years ago and, as a commercial property, serves a large number of people, how does Hyatt deal with energy efficiency? Have you done anything to reduce energy consumption or perhaps switch to renewable sources?
At Hyatt Regency Belgrade, we prioritize energy efficiency and are committed to reducing our environmental impact. Recognizing the importance of sustainability, we have implemented various initiatives to enhance energy efficiency and explore renewable energy sources. To address energy consumption, we have implemented advanced technologies and systems across our properties that include smart lighting systems and energy-efficient appliances. By continuously monitoring and improving our energy management systems, we aim to minimize waste and maximize efficiency.
Furthermore, our dedicated employees are actively engaged to conduct energy conservation practices. Through awareness campaigns and training programs, we encourage responsible energy use, such as turning off lights and electronics when not in use. These efforts collectively contribute to energy savings and foster a culture of sustainability. While facing unique challenges, we consistently invest in sustainable practices, technologies and infrastructure upgrades. By continuously evaluating and improving our energy efficiency initiatives, we strive to lead the way in sustainable hospitality and contribute to a more sustainable future.
Corporate culture and care for employees are today the number one priority in all large companies, and in the hotel industry, they are of particular importance. As a company, do you implement programs that contribute to better health and greater employee satisfaction? As a director, how close are you with employees, and how do you foster good relationships and good team spirit?
At Hyatt Regency Belgrade, we prioritize the well-being and development of our team members, as we strongly believe that caring for our employees is essential for them to reach their full potential and thrive professionally. In the hotel industry, the positive energy and values cultivated within our team are tangible to our guests, making it even more crucial to emphasize this aspect. To ensure that our employees align with our corporate culture and values, we have established mandatory training programs. These initiatives provide comprehensive knowledge about our organizational culture and values that guide our operations.
As the general manager of Hyatt Regency Belgrade, I personally take great pride in cultivating positive relationships with each and every one of our employees. By building a strong rapport with them, I aim to inspire them to foster the same positive relationships within their respective teams. It is of utmost importance to me to have meaningful interactions and constructive conversations, enabling me to witness how they embody our values such as empathy and integrity.
Moreover, I genuinely care about their professional challenges and am readily available to provide support whenever possible. I extend my assistance beyond work-related matters, as I believe in supporting them in various aspects of their lives. This holistic approach reflects our commitment to the well-being and overall satisfaction of our employees. By nurturing a culture of care, respect and personal growth, we aim to create an environment where our employees can flourish both professionally and personally.
Your restaurant, Metropolitan Grill, was included, along with 16 other restaurants in the capital, in Michelin's gastronomic guide for 2023. What contributed the most to this flattering title, and what would you single out as a star on the menu this summer?
Metropolitan Grill restaurant has achieved esteemed recognition in the form of inclusion in the Michelin Guide 2023, which serves as a testament to the exceptional quality and versatility of our gastronomic offerings, showcasing the expertise, dedication and culinary skills of our talented team. One of the key factors contributing to this distinguished title in my opinion is the seamless integration of local delicacies and international specialties meticulously curated within our menu. This thoughtful fusion ensures that our dining experience appeals to a wide range of discerning gastronomy enthusiasts, offering something exceptional for every palate.
Among the array of remarkable dishes on our Metropolitan menu, I highly recommend indulging in our signature swordfish specialty. Crafted with meticulous attention to detail, this dish exemplifies the creativity and expertise of our culinary team. Furthermore, our menu offers a diverse selection that guarantees to tantalize your senses and surpass your expectations.
The construction of the Hyatt hotel in Novi Sad will soon begin, and it will be the second hotel of this brand in Serbia. With the recently opened Hyatt hotel in Montenegro and another under construction in Croatia, there will be four Hyatt hotels in the region. How should we interpret such a sudden expansion of the brand in the region? How important is it for Hyatt, and how much for Serbia and the entire region?
The expansion of the Hyatt brand in the region reflects a strong commitment of the investors to growth and establishing a significant presence. This strategic move aims to address the increasing demand for luxurious and high-quality accommodations, catering to both business and leisure travelers. Leveraging the brand’s reputation, expertise and loyal customer base, we seek to gain a competitive advantage in the regional market.
The presence of multiple Hyatt hotels in Serbia and the entire region brings numerous benefits. Firstly, it signifies a substantial increase in investment and economic development, leading to job creation, infrastructure enhancements and a boost to the local economy. The presence of internationally renowned hotel brands like Hyatt attracts both domestic and international visitors, enhancing the region's appeal as a sought-after tourist destination.
Moreover, we are proud as the arrival of Hyatt hotels elevates overall hospitality standards, fostering healthy competition among hotels. This competition encourages continuous improvements in service quality, amenities and guest experience, ultimately benefiting visitors to the region. Additionally, the expansion of reputable brands like Hyatt contributes to enhancing the image and reputation of Serbia and the entire region within the global tourism industry, positioning it as an attractive and competitive hospitality market. The sudden expansion brings valuable advantages to Hyatt in terms of market expansion, while for Serbia and the entire region, it signifies increased investment, job creation and improved visibility within the global tourism landscape.
By: Gordana Knežević Monašević
Photo: Hyatt Regency Belgrade