Located in the emerging luxury destination of Azerbaijan, Valentin Osolos, Hotel Manager of the Boulevard Hotel Baku, the largest property in Azerbaijan, gives us an insight into his background and managerial style
Tell us when you first knew that you wanted to have a career in the Hotel Industry?
I am not sure when the exact moment I knew this was my career of choice was but I do know it was very early on. I suddenly knew that I had a real passion for this industry and that I wanted to build my future in it.
Where did you journey in Hospitality industry start?
Coming from an ex-communist country and very modest family it wasn’t an easy journey. I couldn’t afford to study and life was hard.
When I reached the age of 16 I began to work in a summer resort near my city in Romania as a bellboy. It was not a glamorous start but it did point me in the right direction.
You are currently based in Azerbaijan, how is the current market in Baku?
The Market at the moment is sluggish, not just in Azerbaijan but across the region and other areas of the world.
Managing the biggest Hotel in the country with 818 rooms and largest banqueting facilities available, therefore we place our focus more on MICE, business travellers and corporate accounts.
Weddings are also a steady and stable source of business and currently the demand, due the facilities we offer and our USP’s, seems to be increasing.
When you need to drive occupancy, how do you maintain rate integrity?
With the current financial atmosphere, it is normal that rate integrity would be subject to changes in order to maintain a steady flow of business, however, The Boulevard Hotels is a product of very high standard and very unique.
We have a very proud and driven team and offer services that other cant, therefore, we are able to keep our rate integrity stable and intact.
What is your approach in leading this property?
I was transferred to the Boulevard Hotel recently from another Absheron Hotel Group Property, namely the Pik Palace, which together with the Park Chalet forms a luxury Hotel Complex in the Shahdag Mountains. I held the position of Complex EAM and, I am proud to say that, the Pik Palace and Park Chalet were, during my tenure, the only winners in Azerbaijan of the SIGNUM Virtutis, the seal of excellence from the Seven Stars Luxury Hospitality and Lifestyle Awards which is very highly regarded in Azerbaijan.
I am a believer that one must first build & inspire the team.
Creating a “family” atmosphere amongst the employees is important as this will allow for trust and transparency.
Motivating the team is of prime importance, I find that acknowledging their efforts, congratulating them on good performance without delay and providing them with more responsibility is a key to achieving this.
By doing this communication, transparency and efficiency are augmented. A team that feels empowered is able to perform better nd more efficiently.
What advice would you give young people entering this industry?
Know what you want and go for it but always be yourself.
The Hospitality industry has its legends and its “great ones” this is clear, however there seems to be a lack of “leaders “at the moment. I am of the opinion that, if more people bring their true self to this industry and don’t put on a façade or attempt to imitate others, a new breed of leaders and originality will present itself in the industry.
Always be yourself.
What makes your hotel memorable and unforgettable?
Definitely our Staff and our motto “your home away from home”. This is truly the key to our high rate of guest satisfaction and repeat business.
In addition we are in a great location with great views of the Caspian Sea.
The Boulevard Hotel is also the biggest hotel in the entire country and our Spa is truly amazing.
The style of the property is contemporary chic and our guests really like it.
All these things create a great mix for our guests.
How do you find the power and energy to manage your hotel?
It all begins at home, having a great family around me, wonderful kids and an amazing wife.
She knows how to support me and re-charge me when I need it.
I suppose it is like the saying “behind every successful man there is an amazing lady”?
There is no real “formula” because what can work for you might not work for me and what works in this hotel might not necessarily work in others.
I do believe is all about having a proper agenda, having clear priorities and never procrastinate.
Delegate tasks properly and always make time for your guests, this is very important as the most form of feedback comes from them.