Interview with Tjaša Telič Goršič, CEO at Union Hotels Collection
Q1: The Union Hotels Collection has been a partner of Conventa from the very beginning. What would you say are the best things Conventa brings to Ljubljana and your hotels?
Union Hotels Collection is an active partner of Conventa since the very beginning of 2007. We have supported the idea of bringing an international B2B event to Ljubljana because, as a fairly new destination, we needed to offer the experience of the venue and the city. We firmly believe in the benefits of experiencing the product first-hand. For Ljubljana and our hotels, it is still crucial to bring potential buyers, show them our unique hospitality and quality of the destination and place Ljubljana on the map of the European capitals.
Q2: What differentiates Ljubljana from other destinations in the region?
Ljubljana is a beautiful European pocket-sized capital every convention organiser dreams of. Conveniently located in the heart of Europe, with a great position and connections, venues and hotels all centrally located within walking distance of each other. Ljubljana is well known for its safety, friendly people and great value for money. The hospitality industry is more connected than planners are probably used to, and it gives us an edge when the city needs to collaborate on larger projects.
Q3: Union Hotels Collection is the biggest hotel company in Ljubljana. What are your main advantages and benefits for meeting planners?
Union Hotels Collection comprises five hotels, all located in the city centre of Ljubljana (Grand hotel Union, uHotel, Hotel Lev, Hotel Central and The Fuzzy log). With different concepts and conference space layouts, we can cater events from 10 to 800 delegates. We can host young travellers in our Central hotel or The Fuzzy Log; at Hotel Lev, we offer a different concept of creative meeting space, and literally on the same street, we can offer a grand experience in the monumental Grand hotel Union.
Grand Hotel Union is the premier hotel in Ljubljana, and its rich history and art nouveau architecture attracted a wide range of famous guests in more than 115 years of continuous operation. Our Grand Union Hall is definitely the most beautiful historical venue for special events.
Q4: The past two years have been a difficult ordeal for the meetings industry. How did you cope with the situation in Union Hotels Collection? Did the corona crisis have some positive effects as well?
The last two years have been very challenging for all companies in the travel sector. Hotels have been hit hard, and when you are not able to operate and execute your core business, everything and everyone in the company suffers. With the optimisation of all processes, we have been able to keep going and are now in a position to look forward to a brighter future.
Q5: Do you have a favourite spot in your hotels, where you like to invite your guests and business partners?
My favourite spot is definitely the Union Café. It has been a meeting place for citizens of Ljubljana for over 115 years and holds great historical significance. Currently, we are renovating it to add some modern vibes to our historical jewel.
Q6: In the future, what will be the hottest topic and activity connecting the entire community of the Slovenian meetings industry?
We feel the future conversation in the hospitality and convention sectors will be about digitalization, sustainability and innovation. All three topics deserve to be explored to their full potential. Innovative meetings and new products will be essential to revamp the meetings industry and bring back business to the industry that has been decimated by recent events.
Q7: Who would at this moment immediately get a job in your hotels, and what skills and knowledge would they have to show? What advice would you give to younger colleagues getting into the business right now?
Due to the pandemic, the number of our employees has dropped significantly. We expect, however, that the travel sector will recover and that guests will return very quickly. We will need a lot of manpower in all areas of expertise, but probably the most important one is the joy of working in hospitality.
Q8: What do you enjoy most about managing hotels?
The hustle and bustle of fully booked hotels with many satisfied guests 😊.