World Monitor Magazine, Economy WM_April 2019 web version (2) - Page 28

EXPERT OPINION Hotel Business in Kazakhstan: problems and solutions Anasstasiya Kim, Managing Partner Gulmira Sharipbayeva, Managing Partner Raushan Yerzhanova, Business Development Director 26 world monitor According to UNWTO the number of tourists in 2017 has achieved 1,5 billion people. The projection is, this number will hit 1,8 billion travellers by 2030. Such a fast-paced development of tourism contributes to the growth of so-called supporting industries, including hotel business. Thus, the number of inbound tourists in Kazakhstan has grown by 35% between 2011-2017, which has influenced development of hospitality as a sector here. Nowadays, tourists regardless of purpose of travel, whether business or leisure, have high demands for the quality of service at each stage of their travel arrangements. In the world of modern technology, we are now able to choose and compare more accommodation options than ever before, from large chain hotels to private apartments on Airbnb. At the same time, platforms for feedback and online recommendations are there for savvy travelers to quickly dismiss those options that do not meet high expectations. In this context of high demands and tough competition, hoteliers have changed their focus, and the concept of “service”, in its modern sense, has evolved over the past few years into a new concept: “experience”. From now on, the quality of service is being determined not only by being friendly and efficient, but also by emotions, memories, impressions that are left after a stay in a particular hotel. In Kazakhstani hotel market, for example, such type of personalized service is provided mainly by hotels of well-known hotel chains, represented in the luxury segment. Although two recent openings by Accor Hotels in Almaty provide an opportunity to get similar experience in the segment of mid-scale hotels. Development of the hotel business in Kazakhstan is a complex and diverse topic. . On one hand, hospitality here is undergoing significant positive changes. Being a part of tourism industry, which is designated amongst the prioritized sectors of the economy along with mining and agriculture, hotel market in Kazakhstan attracts more and more interest from investors. On the other hand, with the continuous increase in the number of hotels, triggered by large-scale events held in the country, the business itself faces a number of problems that are not easy to solve in the short-term. One of the main problems is a lack of qualified hotel personnel at all levels: from line employees to managerial staff. This problem exists for various reasons, and for a long time the solution to it was to attract foreign experts and experience exchange. Over time, Kazakhstani content in management and executive positions in hospitality has increased, however shortage of professionally trained human resources for hotels, yet remains a relevant issue. This becomes especially noticeable for business at the time of new hotels openings, simultaneously creating an urgent call for recruiting employees from existing hotels to newly opened ones. On a broader perspective, educational institutions and organizations are the ones responsile for resolving the issue of education and professional training. But how to address this question for the