As crisis takes its toll, hotels in Turkey dismiss general managers


ISTANBUL, Turkey (eTN) – Professional Hotel Managers Association (POYD) president Volkan Şimşek, who is also the general coordinator for Majesty Hotels, has said that many hotels in Turkey are dismissing their general managers as part of efforts to minimize their loss.

“Hotels had no choice but to lower prices since they saw a remarkable decline in this year’s bookings due to ongoing financial crisis,” Şimşek said. “Almost all hotels in Antalya have reduced their prices. But there are some lucky ones with strong bookings who have not yet changed prices.”

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According to Şimşek, the number of tourists visiting Antalya is expected to be lower this year compared to 2008 and the city’s tourism income will be at least 25 percent lower.

Many of Antalya’s five-star hotels are increasing discounts so as to meet losses incurred from a decrease in demand due to the ongoing global financial crisis. They are offering all-inclusive packages for 60 euros per night, increasing their occupancy rate from 75 percent to 95 percent.

As they suffer heavy losses in income due to the decline in number of tourists, most hotels in Turkey have no choice but take cost-cutting measures. Making cuts to the all-inclusive packages were among the first steps that hotels took with the arrival of the crisis. Many hotels started to offer fewer services to customers this summer season compared to that of last year.

The POYD president said some hotels have started to replace their general managers with operating managers, expecting to save money. Underlining that such a practice is not good for the quality of service offered by any hotel, Şimşek said hotel managers should be chosen from among professional staff. “Hotel managing is not a simple job. We professionals have introduced some excellent standards to this sector in Turkey,” he said.

Şimşek noted the hotels are jeopardizing their future business by leaving the job in inexperienced hands. “There is such a tendency between hotels nowadays; they think they are saving money by replacing high paying general managers replacing them with new people for relatively low salaries. Meanwhile, owners are reluctant to appoint the deputy general managers as the new general managers instead they hire relatives as general managers, even if these people do not have any experience.”

Volkan Simsek said dismissing managers could pose serious disadvantages for the hotel and for the Turkish tourism. He reminds that a hotel in Egypt recently had to pay a $1.2 million fine for serving spoiled meat to their customers. “We have suffered serious problems in the past. Such problems can only be avoided by an effective self-control mechanism and only by experienced professional hotel managers.”

In his opinion, the tourism ministry should monitor the hotels closely.

Currently, the average salary of a hotel manager varies between $3,000 and $10,000 in Turkey, Şimşek said.