Boryana Roeseler, Director Sales of Marketing, and Paweł Pańczak, General Manager, on creating a modern gem of hospitality
In June 2022, Accor, a world leading hospitality group, officially opened its first smart hotel on the Balkans – The Emporium Plovdiv – MGallery. The boutique premium hotel, located in the city of Plovdiv, Bulgaria, is a unique 5-star experience with exceptional design, one-of-a-kind champagne bar and smart rooms with luxurious features that allow individual scenarios according to the guests' mood. International travellers and local guests of the hotel will be able to also enjoy intimate relax and fitness zones, a trendy restaurant and a MGallery tailor-made signature scent by the exclusive French Shams Conseils Paris company. Boryana Roeseler, Director Sales of Marketing, and Paweł Pańczak, General Manager, reveal more.
What challenges did you and the team face with the opening?
Paweł Pańczak: The Emporium Plovdiv – MGallery is in an iconic former department store in the heart of Plovdiv – a city with a unique historical past. Our main goal was to give a new life to the building, to preserve its distinctive shapes and to combine the beauty of the old Plovdiv architecture with modern design and innovations. To create the perfect balance between past and future without destroying the building was a challenge we took with great passion and excitement.
The interior design was commissioned to Sundukovy Sisters S+S, one of the fastest growing and creative architectural studios in the hospitality industry and winners of Designers of the Year 2018 by The Gold Key Awards, New York.
How is The Emporium positioned in Plovdiv's luxury hotel sector?
Boryana Roeseler: Following MGallery Hotel Collection identity we strive to be the best of the best and to provide a unique experience for our guests. Our whole concept is focused on storytelling, and inviting the guests to discover the unique world hidden in the hotel's design and all amenities. The guests are always main characters in the story, and all of the MGallery benefits. The Emporium Plovdiv – MGallery is a place for people who love to live their life to the fullest, enjoy the beauty of existing and are willing to immerse themselves into the world of fine living.
The Emporium Plovdiv – MGallery stands out not only with the exquisite interior, cuisine and service. Each hotel from the collection offers memorable moments that create a truly singular, charming and often extravagant experience that leaves guests with unforgettable memories.
The fact that world famous celebrities like Magda Steczkowska, Scepta-Joseph Junior Adenuga (Naomi Campbell's ex), Armin van Buuren, The Dead Daisies’s Glenn Hughes and David Lowy have trusted our services just a few days after opening is strong enough to prove my statement above.
What are your expectations for 2022-2023 and the recovery of business after Covid-19?
PP: People still long for travel and want to have a good time. This has not changed, and this is what fuels the market. Accor Northern Europe Travel Trends Report shows the changes in approach to travelling. This year people want to travel more, and intend to spend an average of 39% more for vacation. The study shows that 22% of travellers will change their priorities after the pandemic.
A rare positive to come from the Covid-19 years is the increased awareness of sustainability and the impact of the trip on the climate, which are now a factor for 87% of people. At Accor we incorporate eco-friendly solutions in hotels across the globe. As a part of our CSR strategy introduced in 2011, the group identified 21 areas of business activity where significant improvements could be made and set policies for measurable actions and goals in our Planet 21 program. These include reducing energy and water consumption, a move towards carbon-neutral buildings, and promotion of healthier and sustainable food with a drastic reduction on food waste. We believe working together as an industry on sustainability makes us stronger and is the most effective way in finding new ways to contribute positively to the environment and the local communities globally.
As a global hospitality group, we have a responsibility that goes far beyond our own impact. We shape the future of travel and take care of the planet and communities in which we operate. As an example in our hotel we reduce the carbon footprint thanks to usage of innovative technologies in the rooms. The Emporium Plovdiv-MGallery is one of the first hotels in the premium/luxury segment which fully replaced single use plastic cosmetics and plastic bottles in everyday operations. In regards to the MICE and corporate travel we support the group initiative "Discover net-zero carbon hospitality." We invite our guests and partners to calculate the remaining carbon footprint of their accommodation or organised events and purchase certified carbon credits to balance the remaining emissions. This is a nice way to support other companies in their sustainable activities as well.
Which was your strategic approach to selecting, nurturing and motivating talent to achieve a consistently high service standard?
PP: Building a consistent, positive global brand starts with the employees. In Accor we see a "Heartist®" in each employee. Each member of the team is perceived as a master of the art of hospitality who serves others from the heart, with curiosity and inventiveness. Hospitality is all about the heart and approaching people in a way that will make them feel at home.
Offering guests a different memorable experience, creating emotions, forging lasting relationships also means allowing spontaneity of our Heartists, empowering them, encouraging initiative and letting every employee express their personality.
What novelties to expect for 2022/2023 when the property is fully operational?
BR: As the essence of the MGallery brand is centred around unique experiences, our guests can enjoy the only Champagne Bar & Cocktail lounge in the country in partnership with Moët & Chandon. Soon we will launch a special events calendar with focus on the magic of Mixology and signature cocktails designed to reflect the story behind the hotel and its destination.
The hotel will add a gourmet restaurant, Torro Premio, where the talented chefs are inspired to blend the best local products and craft cooking to deliver unparalleled interpretation of modern and Bulgarian cuisine.
Plovdiv, 66 Kapital Raycho St, phone: 0889 07 00 90