General Manager of Hilton Sofia Jacques Brune: Bulgaria's Sofia Is Becoming a Capital to Visit
Exclusive interview with Jacques Brune, General Manager of the Hilton Sofia Hotel, for the "Investors of the Decade" Business Survey of Novinite.com (Sofia News Agency) and Novinite.bg.
You have been in charge of the Hilton Sofia for more than five years now. What was the Hilton Sofia like when you took over, and what it is today?
Hilton Sofia was an icon in the city when I took over. Today Hilton Sofia is a master piece of the hotel panel.
Lot of investment has been done to upgrade our hotel, a new bar, new Bedrooms with a very modern and warm style, a new fitness center by Precor, new meeting rooms and a brand new Season restaurant.
We also offer one the best loyalty programs in the hotel industry, Hilton Hhonors, with more than 28 million members worldwide.
How would you describe the performance of the Hilton Sofia as a major venue for business forums and social events?
Hilton Sofia due to his location, brand positioning and quality, offers the best value for in town. Every meeting room has day light, a minimum ceiling height of 4 m, air conditioning and a large parking lot managed by the hotel.
Our Hilton promise - to deliver the best event for our guest - gives us a real competitive advantage. Our clients enjoy and appreciate it.
We consistently improve our offer and our kitchen team is ready and enjoy preparing "tailor made" menu for every guest considering a corporate meeting to a cocktail or a wedding
Respectively, what would say your role – of the Hilton – has been in the Bulgarian society and economy, and beyond over the past decade?
I enjoy and I am proud to manage this wonderful hotel. Hilton Sofia is a landmark in the Bulgarian hotel landscape.
My role is to maintain and develop our business. Quality is our key asset and being a team member a pillar of our success. An amazing location, a great brand, a successful team lead to success, and this is what my role is.
Sofia has several five-star hotels, and appears pretty competitive in that respect. What is your strategy for being successful in this competition? What are the Hilton Sofia's advantages? Which is the best means of advertising?
Hilton Sofia is a very well known brand in Bulgaria, no need to mention how strong the Hilton name is over the world.
We are investing to have the best hotel of Sofia, new bedrooms, a new restaurant, we also investing to be more eco friendly.
In 2012, 50% of the hotel water of the Hilton Sofia will be produced by solar panels
The best advertising is the word of mouth and your consistency in quality. This is certainly even more so the case today as "social media" are becoming more and more essential as communication channels.
From your point of view, how have Bulgaria and Sofia changed since you first came here?
Sofia has improved, there has been more work to clean the city, snow cleaning is more efficient. The South Park is being refurbished, a brand new contemporary museum Arsenalski was built right behind the Hilton.Step by step Sofia is making its mark to become a capital to visit.
What would you say are the greatest difficulties for expat managers in Bulgaria handling foreign companies and investments – like yourself?
Trying to find your way through the Bulgarian administrative offices. It took us more than 7 months to get the authorization to install our solar panels.
The Hilton Sofia is turning 10. What are the goals that you setting for the future?
To stay number 1 for the next 10 years.
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