Marianna Sleptsova: «We all saved an Indian family from Yakut frost — a fox fur coat, mukluks and muskrat mittens came in very useful!»

Yakutia is a very remote and cold region. Mammoth remains are still found in permanently frozen soil, and most inhabitants make their living by hunting, fishing and deer breeding. But here a lot of extractive and processing factories are concentrated, timber industry and fuel and energy industries are growing, multinational corporations run their businesses. All this creates a favourable ground for business travel. We can put one more mark on the map of Russia’s largest region: Tygyn Darhan hotel in Yakutsk has been certified as a business hotel by the Russian Association of Business Travel. Marianna Sleptsova, general director of the hotel, who has been working in it from the moment it opened in 1995 has told ABT Newsletter readers about special aspects of Yakut hospitality.

— Marianna Alekseevna, the first question that many guests of your hotel ask is — what does its name mean?

— Tygyn Darhan is a legendary person of the Yakut people, the hero of many folk tales. Famous Tygyn was a duke who lived on the territory of modern Yakutsk. At the turn of 16-17 centuries he tried to unite separate tribes that were drowned in endless internecine feuds and for this reason is considered the ancestor of all the Yakuts. And «darhan» means «title» that was inherited in the most influential dynasty.

— Are most Tygyn Darhan guests business travellers?

— Yes, about 95% of guests come to Yakutsk on business. About 10% of them are foreigners.

— And what are their impressions of Yakut frost?

— Once an Indian family stayed at our hotel, they came in January to «get acquainted» with our frost. The frost was severe — 55 degrees below zero. And they had a strong intention of feeling the frost. They were going to visit an open-air museum to have a deer ride. But their clothes were not warm enough and when they left the hotel, they were so cold that even cried. We had so save them somehow and decided to have them properly dressed, in the same way people are dressed in Yakutia. All our staff participated: someone offered a fox fur coat, someone gave a fur hat, someone brought mukluks made of deer paws, muskrat mittens. When they returned from the museum having had a great ride, their joy and gratitude had no boundaries! In our turn, we could not help being surprised at their courage — we, northerners, could not even think of riding deer in such a severe cold!

— What attracts business travellers to Yakutia?

— Our region offers diamonds, mammoths, ever frost, and pristine wilderness, of course! For example, The Lenskie Stolby National Nature Park has been included into UNESCO world heritage list. There are lots of interesting events in the republic and its capital. One of the most dramatic events is the spring-summer Yysakh holiday in honour of ajyy gods, nature revival and fertility. It is our local Yakut New Year! It traditionally includes prayers, a big feast, kumis, national dance and folk games.

There are sport events as well — championships in various sports. Children of Asia International Sports Games in 2012 included guests from 26 countries. Diamond Week Exhibition, International Youth Circus Festival «Mamontenok», Classic Ballet Festival «Sterkh», Cinema Festival and many other events are held every year.

— Are there frequent corporate customers in Tygyn Darhan?

— Yes, there are. We offer all he necessary facilities for comfortable and safe accommodation of the business elite. We try to fulfill all the requests and requirements of our corporate guests and offer companies and agencies a flexible discount system and agent commission. Constant feedback is available — we have regular questionnaires and interrogations among our guests, trace reviews in social networks.

— What facilities can your hotel offer business travellers?

— Tygyn Darhan hotel opened in 1995. And three years later the second phase of hotel was put into operation. We are situated in the very centre of Yakutsk, the capital of the Sakha (Yakutia) Republic. It will take you only 20 minutes to get to the hotel from the airport. The Government House, the State Assembly of the Republic (Il Tumen), ministries, the Committee on precious metals, The Treasury, the National Arts Museum, Russian Drama Theatre, Opera and Ballet Theatre, Sakha Republic Drama Theatre, the Old Town Historic and Architectural Centre and Kruzhalo shopping stalls are within walking distance from the hotel. Here are banks, malls, travel agencies and the main square of the city — Lenin Square.

The hotel meets all the requirements of a 4* hotel. It is the fourth largest hotel in Yakutsk. Guests are offered 74 comfortable and cozy rooms with all the modern conveniences: cable TV, an international and long-distance phone, air conditioning, a mini-bar, a hair dryer. There are terry robes, slippers, hygienic sets, tea, coffee etc in all the rooms. There is a hot and cold water dispenser on every floor. Rooms are cleaned every day. There are writing desks in all the rooms, Wi-Fi is free of charge. The hotel offers a conference and a lecture hall for meetings? conferences and other business events. There is a business centre as well.

There is a modern health centre on the hotel territory, guests can relax there after the long flight, have a rest before their business meetings or just gain strength. The centre has a sauna with a swimming pool and a well-equipped gym. Guests can spend their free time in the bar and play billiards. The chef of our restaurant Tarbakhov Innokenty Innokentyevich is a real keeper of secrets of our national cuisine, Master Chef of Russia, Honoured Trade Worker of the Russian Federation, Honoured Worker of the National Economy of Yakutia. His dishes are some of the best in the capital and are our national specialty.

— Why were you interested in ABT Attestation program?

— The hotel industry is growing rapidly and we would like to keep up with the latest trends. We would like to know how hotels in other regions work. Our guests are successful businessmen who have visited many countries of the world and are used to the high level of service. We try to meet their expectations and requirements. This fact pushed us to cooperation with the Russian Association of Business Travel and to the Attestation. The hotel has positioned itself as a business hotel from the very beginning and we did everything to keep this status, so completing the attestation procedure was not difficult. Minor shortcomings were solved without financial expenses.

If we take into consideration the remoteness of our city, we expect our cooperation to lead to informational aid and consultations on the latest changes in legislation and staff training.

— Marianna Alekseevna, have you been to business hotels in other regions of Russia and abroad?

— Yes, I have been to Moscow, Novosibirsk, Irkutsk, Khabarovsk, China, Japan and Thailand. The strongest impression was from technical facilities of local hotels: interactive TV, electronic access to lifts, ecologically pure materials. I am sure that all the innovations of the hotel industry will soon reach Russian regions as well!

Hotel business in Yakutsk has been growing rapidly — new hotels have opened, many of them are private. Of course, competition is getting more severe. But I am sure that this fact will only lead to service improvement!

Interviewed by Dmitry Kiselev