He came to Georgia ten years ago for business purposes with a focus on the hospitality sector. So far, he reached the goal and opened one of the largest hotels in Georgia. As noted with Forbes, Georgia was more than just a working country, as it became his second homeland after Egypt. In the special column of Terabank’s personalized banking “Select”,, our guest is the general director of a 32-story hotel”Biltmore Tbilisi”, Andrew Adel Bishay Abdelmessih.
Mr. Andrew, let’s start with your career history in Georgia. How you started everything?
I came to Tbilisi in 2012. At first sight, I was impressed by the nature and unique culture of Georgia. Since then, thanks to friendly and hospitable people, Georgia became my second home. It was a great honor for me to manage and execute such a huge project as The Biltmore Tbilisi Hotel, which had a grand opening in 2016.
The biggest responsibility while working on the project, was the restoration of a Historical building in the heart of the city where today Biltmore Tbilisi is located. We appreciate this historical monument that was in critical condition. It took a huge effort to rehabilitate but we are proud that we managed to preserve the original appearance.
You had experience in the hospitality sector even before Biltmore, so, you are well aware of the challenges and opportunities in this industry. How would you assess general situations in this regard in Georgia?
The hospitality industry is growing rapidly in Georgia, demand increases every year. Currently, the biggest challenge is to find qualified staff and the politically unstable situation in the region. For almost two years, we also had a pandemic that hit hard the industry. But I believe we will overcome the challenges with the same success as we did during the world pandemic.
You mentioned the less of qualified staff, what do you do for attracting them?
We do not have the problem of qualified staff. We have hired talented and well-trained people in the hospitality sector. Also, we do have international experience in this regard. But generally, unfortunately, after the pandemic a lot of qualified staff left the country. We have never had such a problem in Biltmore. Now we employ nearly 300 people.
Last year the income of the Biltmore management company and the profit were high compared to 2020. What indicators do you expect late this year?
Despite many difficulties, in strict compliance with the recommendations of the Government and WHO, Biltmore Tbilisi Hotel has never stopped operating. We can confidently say that we managed to overcome this crisis with dignity. 2021 was considerably better than 2020 and a positive dynamic is obvious, however, we have not reached the figures achieved before the pandemic. I am optimistic and expect improvements in all aspects in the upcoming year. We had a comprehensive income of more than 5 million GEL in 2021 and this year we expect even more. In 2022 from January to November Biltmore hosted more than 70 000 visitors, mostly foreigners.
In your opinion how attractive is the Georgian HORECA sector for investors?
I would like to ask you about MICE tourism as well… What do we need to strengthen this direction?
Mice tourism is one of the most profitable and attractive directions. Initially, while working on the project we aimed to satisfy the high standards and specific needs of MICE groups, as a result, we successfully hosted numerous international events like Silk Road Forum, 112nd UNWTO Executive Council, and NATO Shape Military Partnership Directorate.
The awareness of the country was growing year over year, but everything was dramatically changed because of the pandemic, however, we are slowly recovering.
To strengthen the direction, first of all, we need peace in the region. Another important factor is the stabilization of the national currency. This type of business is planned well ahead and fluctuation will create some risks.
Biltmore as an employer… What kind of employer it is?
Our brand motto is ’’Be our guest of honor”, which is in full compliance with the core values of Georgian hospitality. Our service is based on this philosophy and our main goal is to ensure customer satisfaction. For us, each guest is so important and valuable.
It is even more important to take care of our employees, creating a healthy work environment, by allowing growth and development, which is the key to success to achieve the desired result.
I would like to emphasize that despite the difficulties during the pandemic none of our employees lost their job, we retained all staff because we value our team members.
As the manager of one of the largest hotels in Georgia, how do you manage your work-life balance?
When you love what you do, it’s less tiring and even enjoyable. Moreover, sometimes I spend my spare time doing business because as I mentioned it is my passion to develop myself.
Why do you choose “Select” – personalized banking by Terabank? What is your experience regarding this brand?
The bank is in everyone’s life. What is the most important criterion for you while choosing a bank?
The most important part is trust and convenience, following new technologies on time. Everything is developing and it is essential to see that your native bank is also following all developments and not falling backward.
What are your plans regarding your career and also for developing Biltmore as a brand?
Generally, I am open to new opportunities and challenges as always. Currently, I am managing two completely different fields – construction and hospitality. I have a construction company in UAE. Probably, I will challenge myself in a different field too, but whatever I do, I will never stop caring for and developing our iconic Biltmore Tbilisi Hotel. We have a huge plan of expanding the hotel business. This is not new, the pandemic braked this plan, but we are still working on it, and let’s see.
The material is presented by Terabank’s personalized banking services – Select.