Elena Kovyazina: «ABT Attestation Program enlarges its geography: Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Armenia. And this is not all!»

Senior specialist of the Business and Conference Hotel Attestation Program of ABT-ACTE Russia Elena Kovyazina is speaking about the advantages of the program and the innovations the Russian Association of Business Travel is going to introduce.

Елена Ковязина

— Elena, what hotels do Russian business travellers prefer to stay at and where do they go?

— At the end of 2013 the Association carried out a large-scale business travel market survey which showed that the main business travel destination of the representatives of Russian companies was Russia (50 %). Great Britain holds the second place (25 %), the third goes USA (8 %), and the fourth — Asia (7 %). 63% of corporate buyers prefer 4* hotels, 31% — 3*, 6% — 5*. In 2012-2013 corporate buyers booked 17,2 million rooms for their business trips, with the average room rate being 6,1 thousand roubles. At the same time, not all business travellers trust the hotel classification, as even hotels that have completed it do not meet business travellers’ demands.

— How can this problem be solved?

— According to the results of the attestation of business and conference hotels and business hotels, which was launched in 2012, a list of hotels was made, that meet all business travellers’ needs. Now there are more than 100 hotels in Russia and the CIS on the list, both chain hotels and independent ones. Hotels that have completed attestation get recommendations from leading experts and are the preferred choice of corporate buyers. Information about the hotel and a direct link to its website are added to the registry at ABT`s website. The hotel gets marketing and PR-support, publications in ABT Newsletter and other resources of the Association. For example, certified hotels may be filtered in search results in B2B interface at Oktogo.ru. They also enjoy discounts for ABT-ACTE educational sessions for hoteliers.

— These are valuable advantages. But what is to be done in order to get the certificate?

— There are 345 criteria to certify a business hotel, and 400 criteria for a business and conference hotel. Hotels are examined by the certification commission, the certificate is valid for three years.

— As you have said, there are more than 100 hotels in ABT registry. They include hotels in Belarus and the Ukraine. Could you please tell us about the future expansion of this program.

— At the moment attestation of hotels in Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Armenia is under way. And of course, attestation of Russian hotels is in full play.

— Do international brands participate in ABT-ACTE attestation?

— Hotel chains also undergo attestation — both Hilton, and Holiday Inn, and Marriott. They also understand the need to win the market and attract business travellers, and an additional «star» at the fa?ade of the hotel will definitely distinguish it from another neighbouring chain hotel.

— Tell us about new ABT-ACTE initiatives.

— In September we are launching the new program — Business Apartment Attestation. Similar to the Business and Conference Hotel Attestation Program, accommodation facilities will get either of the two categories — «business apartments» or a «business apartment hotel».

— What was the reason for the introduction of this program?

— This category is in great demand with corporate buyers. Business travellers who go on business to another city or even another country for a long time often prefer to live in apartments. Here they find homelike coziness and comfort and what is more important, it is much cheaper than staying at a hotel. The traveller feels at home, and costs are reduced. Besides, due to our program corporate customers will get alternative unbiased assessment. ABT is responsible for the hotel for three years after the attestation. Corporate buyers have access to the registry and can initiate exclusion of a hotel in case of violations.

— What regions are more likely to offer good hotels for this program?

— If we speak about cities, absolute leaders are Moscow, Saint Petersburg and Sochi, especially if we take into consideration the great potential that is the result of the preparation for the Olympics. We should not forget about Ekaterinburg. Project participants also include hotels in small towns with the population of less than 500 thousand. Hotels in Kazan, Stavropol, Samara, Anapa and other cities have joined our program lately.

— Are the Business and Conference Hotel Attestation Program and the future Business Apartment Attestation Program connected to the state classification system?

— This is not a criterion of choice for us. The hotel’s ability to meet business travellers` demands and not a certain quantity of stars is important for us.

Oleg Abarnikov