Renowned hotel chain Falkensteiner Michaeler Tourism Group has recently opened its first hotel in the Serbian capital and now plans to organize a ceremony on March 21st to celebrate the start of operations.
Otmar Michaeler, chairman of the Managing Board of the Falkensteiner Michaeler Tourism Group, speaks to eKapija about their plans for Belgrade and Mount Stara Planina, their new hotel in Vienna and portfolio expansion in Croatia, revealing all new destinations that his company plans to conquer soon.
eKapija: Are you satisfied with the results achieved so far by your hotel in Belgrade?
- We are very satisfied with the results achieved in the first months, but we certainly must put a lot of effort into making the hotel business even more successful. Considering that there are not many business events in cities before March, opening Falkensteiner Hotel Belgrade in December 2012 was quite a challenge.
However, we are very satisfied with the fact that the hotel delights both domestic and international guests. I hope that we will continue to receive excellent feedback. Of course, this is just the beginning as Serbia is the youngest market for our Falkensteiner hotels, while Belgrade is an emerging tourist destination.
eKapija: Will the vicinity of Danube Business Center contribute to the hotel business growth?
- Danube Business Center together with Falkensteiner Hotel Belgrade represents a joint investment by Falkensteiner and M.O.F. Beta Immobilien AG.
Of course, we expect the directly connected business center to lead to business growth, especially in the corporate and MICE tourism segments. Besides, the services of our hotel can also be used by companies having their offices at Danube Business Center.
eKapija: Last year was also very successful for Falkensteiner`s mountain tourism activities in Serbia. What are your further plans for Mount Stara Planina?
- Stara Planina, a green mountain resort that is developed by Serbia and should be completed in the years to come, represents an extremely important project for us in your country.
Our intention is to develop Stara Planina into the best mountain resort in southeast Europe, which will be attractive to visitors during the whole year. In cooperation with international tourism experts, such as ski lift manufacturer Doppelmayer, we are working to raise the quality of this tourist complex at Mount Stara Planina to the highest level.
It is crucial to turn this entire complex into a "zone where no vehicles are allowed." According to the plan, this holiday resort will offer 24 ski lifts and 151 ski runs in winter months once completed. In addition, the complex will also comprise few more hotels and other interesting amenities.
At this moment I cannot specify if Falkensteiner plans some new projects at Mount Stara Planina.
eKapija: The Stara Planina public company has announced that the "green beauty" will soon obtain a sports and recreational center, swimming pool, spa center, commercial buildings, multi-family houses with suites... How important is this for Falkensteiner?
- We are focused on our project. Of course, depending on the offer, there is a possibility of us working together after the opening of multi-family houses. However, I can`t tell anything else about this for now.
eKapija: Falkensteiner is very active in Croatia as well. Last year you opened a luxury complex near Zadar, Punta Scala, featuring five-star Hotel & Spa Iadera. What is it that makes this complex specific?
- That was the first hotel in Croatia to be admitted to the renowned international hotel association The Leading Hotels of the World.
Featuring a 6,000 sqm Acquapura Spa Center and a 700 sqm Turkish bath, this hotel is designed by Boris Podrecca and Matteo Thun and built in a unique location, on the upper tip of the Punta Peninsula, directly by the sea.
In the Punta Scala tourist complex, which comprises four-star Family Hotel Diadora and Senia Residences in addition to five-star Hotel & Spa Iadera, we worked with international experts to integrate a complex SMO system ensuring a minimum impact on the environment.
The complex also includes an underground garage.
eKapija: Your company has recently assessed entire Croatia as an exceptionally attractive destination that is going to make growing progress in the coming years. What is Falkensteiner's next project in this country?
- We still have no plans to make some new investments in Croatia. However, we would like to add few more hotels matching our brand to our portfolio in Croatia, in line with the management agreement.
When it comes to plans for the future, I see a big development potential in the service concept for properties in Croatia as well as other countries. Holiday suites have been attracting increasing attention of investors lately. This kind of business is always good to invest in, which shows that owing a property is often not enough any more.
eKapija: Do you maybe plan to invest in the Montenegrin coast as well?
- Montenegro definitely has a rich tourist potential, particularly in the coastal area. However, we currently have no plans to implement some concrete projects in that country.
eKapija: What is the next big project of the Falkensteiner company on a global level? Are you going to conquer some new markets?
- We are now working on our new four-star city hotel in Vienna – Falkensteiner Hotel Wien Margareten. We have hired top design experts, including Matteo Thun. This hotel is expected to open in early summer 2013. Speaking of the future markets we would like to penetrate, Germany is definitely among the top three.