In Russian Federation hotelier news, IHG has announced plans for a managed service center that will offer guests support services in Russia and the CIS. Scheduled to open in early 2013, the Moscow center will let IHG Hotels offer features not previously available in the region.
IHG has already professed their intent to have 100 hotels in Russia and the CIS by 2020, and this group of ancillary services is only the first move to create a unified and efficient service structure in the region. At least this is our view. With Sochi on the immediate horizon, and the obvious and compelling Russian Federation tourism potential, IHG basically “has to” ramp up services and infrastructure just as Russia does. Guest services such as these will be crucial for any hospitality vendor in Russia. To that end IHG’s VP Operations, Russia, Commonwealth of Independent States and Georgia, Robert Kennedy offered this:
“The managed service centre will be a bespoke offering for this region. It will provide a dedicated, fully resourced office staffed to deliver essential specialised operational expertise for our future properties.”
This IHG managed service center will deliver services that might otherwise have to be carried out by numerous hotel staff on site. Central sourcing such specialties as accounting; reservations; sales and marketing; procurement/purchasing; revenue management; human resources, recruitment and training; IT; quality and compliance engineering, and so forth, will free up hotel staff to take care of job one, serving and helping guests.
The Russian Federation, despite all the wonderful touristic potential, is a tough nut to crack where international travelers getting around and getting comfortable go. Anyone who has been there knows what we mean here. Our work creating venues and information for Stay.com has shown too, even geo-tagging well known Russia locations can be a nightmare, imagine street signs in Russian and finding your way without nav. This is but one of the many obstacles IHG and other hoteliers will face there.
At least we can see IHG is making the initial effort to address the issues of expansion into emerging markets. The group has 13 hotels in Russia already, with another 4 scheduled for the near future. In the CIS IHG has 5 properties, with 2 more to be ready in the coming months.
For more info on these IHG plans, you may want to consult their original press release here.