Interview with Alex Oproiu, CEO at Hotel Epoque, Bucharest
Hotel events build brand awareness as well as generate significant profit. How do boutique hotels – this very special segment of the hotel market – relate to this? Alex Oproiu, CEO at Hotel Epoque in Bucharest, had the courtesy of responding to our interview about the role of events in a hotel’s life.
What is the role of the event manager in a hotel?
The main activity of an Event Manager is to understand and fulfill the clients’ needs. To do so, it is essential to provide support by becoming an interface between the client and all hotel departments as well as within the departments themselves. In the day to day work, this type of job covers any predicted or unpredicted situation that may arise, such as buying lilies for one of the clients’ guests or handwriting the answers for wishes addressed to Santa Claus, right before the Christmas party. It’s all about project management and there aren’t two perfectly identical situations. Experience in this field and anticipation are also two extremely valued and useful attributes.
What is the hotel’s policy when it comes to events? What types of events are you approaching?
We are choosing niche events that imply a great attention directed to details. We are not a coffee break type of location, but more of a lifestyle, diplomatic, product launch events one. The events, which we are either hosting or initiating, generally have that je ne sais quoi, a certain spell, shined also by the entire hotel atmosphere.
Moreover, we value our guests’ experience while staying with us. Therefore, along with the classical events, we offer them alternatives for spending time or we liaise with their favourite ones. This can mean playing society games in the hotel or simply buying tickets to the Opera.
What are the required ingredients to make an event successful? What time investment are we discussing and how early do you start working on an event?
We usually prepare for events weeks in advance. The success of an event is determined by the previous events, as this is a very well trained machinery and every one knows its role. From the cable for the projector to the exact components of the sea fruit salad, the little information gets to make the difference. However, the main ingredient of success is flexibility and this can only be attained through a constant communication with the client.
Is there a minimum budget required in organizing an event? What would that be?
The events are usually rated by the number of persons attending. But we cannot say that we will disregard an event that does not comply with a certain number of persons or a certain budget, as long as the benefits of that event are more than financial. We are open to and interested in events that are in line with Epoque’s values.
Do hotel events require a particular marketing strategy? How should this specific service be marketed correctly?
Referring strictly to the boutique hotel niche and to our case, we are not using the “event packages” type of approach, but more of a tailor made approach on each request. We have a predilection for individuality, so we are usually elected for smaller events, which are nevertheless special.
Are there any local particularities that make a Romanian hotel event manager’s experience different from a foreigner’s?
Organizing events is a job that certainly differs from case to case, from country to country, but the common aspect is that each event manager, without exception, has the role to conduct a choir of requests, happenings or potential happenings. The local challenge arises when the standard is excellence (as in our case) and one must find the right suppliers. Concerning this aspect, we are very meticulous and strict. This particular market is not always very rich, so we have to dig a lot to find the best local suppliers or else we focus on the international ones.
Apart from more classical events, what was the most nonconformist event organized at your hotel?
At Epoque there is always something interesting happening! I will mention just a few of our past events: we have organized a city tour in legendary cars (project carried out with Epoch Automotives Club, Romanian Tourism Agency and Events – ARTE). Examples of more intimate events include a wildly romantic dinner on the terrace of one of the apartments, as well as a silver wedding celebration (secretly planned by the couple’s children). Therefore it is fair to say we have all sort of events. As previously mentioned, the events here are really special!
What relationship does the event manager hold with the press? Is the latter eager to cover the events you are hosting?
The type of event is the one that sets the pace. We are open and not once, we had press invited to our events of general interest. However, when worldly events are concerned, we are discreet and respect the intimacy of our clients, so we do not allow reporters in search of sensational news to interfere. We are not interested in this type of publicity.
What is the impact of hosting events on the hotel’s annual revenue?
The events may ensure up to 10% of the annual revenue of a hotel of our category and reach far higher values for specialized chain hotels.
Name 3 essential qualities that a hotel event manager needs to possess.
Flexibility, smile and, for most of the cases… fastness on high heels!