14 residents of Kaliningrad qualified for the regional semifinal of Masters of Hospitality, an all-Russian professional competition.
We sat down with some of the contestants and asked what hospitality meant for them.
I used to work as a waiter and as a cook. Today, I deal with automation and digitalization in a restaurant holding company. I am also engaged in IT outsourcing with my team. I came to the competition offering services for the research in both external and internal company audit. Such services increase operational efficiency and help making the right steps in terms of strategy and tactics in travel and HoReCa businesses.
Kaliningrad is a hospitable city. The thing I appreciate the most about it is people caring about service, especially if we compare it to other cities. For me, hospitality is about being genuinely good-hearted. I would compare it to the cordiality of people in the Caucasus. They are always happy to see and treat you, even for free! It's about openness and honesty. If you look at the big picture, hospitality is always about people.
I might not have mastered the art of hospitality yet, but that is what I aspire to. I have little experience in tourism and no industry-specific education, but this is the area I am most interested in. The reason I took part in the competition is to learn about my skill level and receive feedback. Our job is to welcome guests arriving from different regions or from abroad. Many of us are the first people that tourists meet at the destination. A large part of their overall impression depends on us. Kaliningrad is on the right track and going forward by leaps and bounds. For me, hospitality is a state of mind.
I am a videographer. I worked on television when I discovered my new project in 2018. I came to the Vistula Spit to shoot a story and learned that a museum of fortification and warfare had opened there. For some reason, very few people knew about that place, even though the museum has been a good promotion tool for the spit for two years. I searched online and found no video-promo of the place. So, I decided to take it into my own hands and shot a presentation about the Vistula spit. Every region has room to grow, ours included. We have numerous undiscovered and unstudied objects. I should say, there has been some improvement lately. For me, hospitality is about comfort and the ability to charm people.
I came here with a project on a new route development in the Curonian Spit national park. It was called The Rossiten forest and was my graduation thesis. I was getting my environmentalist degree and studied the man-induced impact on territories. It manifested itself in this design project solution. Domestic tourism received a push due to closed borders, and so did green tourism, as its crucial part. You have to have awareness about it to preserve the resources and reduce the impact on nature. As an environmental specialist, I develop this project from an expert point of view. For me, hospitality means caring about your region and being the person who inspires others to come and visit your native land.
Our project aims at shaping a center of competencies for personnel, one of the most important aspects of hospitality. We put the same emphasis on youth, students, professionals and mature persons. We have already implemented this project at the Baltic Federal University, where we carry out professional training and evaluation of the students. I hope that we will be able to put the other elements to the test this year. For me, hospitality is about the impressions that the tourists bring back home, how they evaluate our region. It is also about how welcoming the personnel is, and whether the vacationers want to come back.
I have always dreamed of being in hospitality and I followed my dream. I came all the way from a hotel maid and administrator to a managing director. I have worked in Kaliningrad and Altai Krai, and now I'm working in Crimea. I came here with a project for a federal chain of budget hotels with uniform management and standards but private and state financing. I relied on the lack of affordable accommodation for the mass tourists. Hospitality is a lifestyle, a sincere wish to help the guests, be of service and satisfy their needs. Standards are one thing, but a spark in the eyes is a whole different deal.