"The things people don't believe in are brought to life in the best way," or how a place for friends has become a resort
The service can be bad. And it happens to be so good that you spend years trying to return to the same place. The task of modern recreation complexes is to raise the bar for themselves and a significant part of them is already actively engaged in this activity.
Rubryka decided to talk to the director of the TAOR Karpaty hotel and recreation complex to find out what ecotourism is, what it can be like in a hotel, not a tent, and what challenges such hotels face. In response, we've received touching stories that we're now telling you.
What is the problem?
Content and form of time among mountains
January. Christmas Eve. There's snow and mountains outside the windows, and inside, one can hear carols and laughter. The celebration is in full swing: the vertep is in the restaurant! Angels with devils and saints with sinners joke with guests, treat them with kutia, and glorify Christ and Ukrainian traditions.
Yulia goes out into the hallway and notices a woman. She's crying.
"What happened? Can I help you?"
In a few minutes, Yulia will know that her guest is from Crimea and has just seen a real vertep for the first time in her life. She couldn't hold back her tears. And why?
"It was so touching. At that moment, I understood how important is the work we do," says Yulia Hrytsai. The woman has been working for TAOR Karpaty since its foundation in 2013 and has been managing the complex since 2019.
"The idea was about unity with nature, that you need to find time for yourself to disconnect from everyday life, worries, routines. Everyone needs a place where they feel comfortable and cozy," explains the director of the complex.
When I ask what problem this business solves, Yulia without hesitation tells the story of a kid from one of the families who visited the complex and how the girl asked her mother if potatoes were flowers.
"Our customers often go hiking. And for me, it's valued, because I take it a little differently. After all, I know how children pay attention when they see blueberries growing, raspberries growing, how they collect them in the woods from the bushes, as mushrooms grow. For me, it is a profound thing when parents have the opportunity to spend time with a child and teach them something. To teach that nature doesn't exist to serve people, but exists to fill them," says Yulia Hrytsai.
What is the solution?
"You know, the things people don't believe in are brought to life in the best way"
TAOR Karpaty is a hotel and recreation complex on the banks of the Stryi River near the Skhidnytsia resort. However, at first, it was designed as a place for family and friends of the two founders. And it was a complicated problem for many builders.
"Many builders came here and everyone said that it was unrealistic to build something here because… and they told many points on "why we shouldn't do it" list. But the investor was a person of the idea that infected another person, a co-investor, and together they decided that there should be a good complex. And, you know, the things people don't believe in are brought to life in the best way," says Yulia smiling.
Then there was construction, finding workers, and a lot of investment in not just building a hotel in the middle of the mountains, but investing in a special philosophy.
Today the hotel and recreation complex consists of about 100 people of staff, 24 double rooms, 20 bungalows, a restaurant, a spa with medical staff, extreme entertainment (ATVs, rope park, paintball, quests, hiking), conference service, and a total area of 7 hectares.
"We often hold various events, celebrate Easter, Christmas, Epiphany, Ivan Kupala together; we even organize a beer day or something like that and try to recreate all the traditions as much as possible…
We also celebrate Constitution Day and we also do it solemnly, the children march with blue and yellow balls, Ukrainian songs… And just then we had a woman customer whose son died in the ATO. She approached and thanked us for doing these and passing traditions on to the children. She said she was pleased to learn that her son hadn't died in vain.
I always tell these stories to our team, because they work with guests and they must understand that value and understand that we do all these things for a reason," recalls the director of TAOR Karpaty.
How does it work?
A story about apples and sincerity
Yulia Hrytsai calls guests returning to them again an important task of the complex. The TAOR team is trying to create a whole community of vacationers, offering them to join the loyalty program. Program participants not only receive cards, which are later credited with bonuses but also, if desired, become participants in meetings of program members; they've even planted their apple orchard in the complex!
"In general, guests can even come and pick up their apples. Not everyone can do that, so we collect the remaining crop and store it in the boxes.
And recently we had a corporate event. People sat in the conference hall for a long time and discussed the company's various working issues. The maid, a very emotional little older lady, saw that they sit for a long time and how a real grandmother began to worry about the 'children.' Eventually, she picked up those apples and brought them to them.
Organizers later said they were shocked when the grandmother came in and brought them apples. It was so sincere and spontaneous that no one expected it, but everyone was moved," Yulia shared.
The director says that the intrinsic value of their complex is sincerity and closeness to nature. However, the care of the team itself is also important, because it creates this atmosphere.
Not so long ago, the team faced a problem: the accounting and hotel system was outdated, employees spend a lot of time on simple tasks. Then, the management decided to ask for help.
The EBRD and the European Union got involved and selected TAOR Karpaty to participate in the business program, financing the upgrade of the necessary systems.
"It has affected the work of the team, the service, the speed. We're very grateful for this help. I think that now business has many opportunities, you just need to learn to use them. You need to be able not to give up and say 'we're ready." If you work openly if you have a goal, you'll have support," said Yulia.
Does it work?
Teams are behind ideas
The director of the complex states that it's always difficult to work with people. Sometimes guests come in a bad mood, sometimes you have to become a psychologist for them, and not touch them. Yulia says that she tries to teach teams not to take someone's else bad mood on their account. And it's what she calls her greatest challenge.
When we come to the question of what TAOR is most proud of today, it seems that a woman can list items for a long time:
"It's important for the hotel to be in shape and always develop. A guest who comes to us sees it. And we never stand motionless. During this year, we managed to completely overhaul the hotel rooms, make partial repairs to eco-cottages; we've expanded the restaurant and will launch it for the New Year.
I believe that a hotel that knows how to reinvest and become the best for its guests, both in terms of infrastructure and service, is both a significant challenge and an impressive achievement."
Now well-known guests are returning to the hotel and recreation complex and new ones are constantly coming. The team knows its customers well and treats them as good friends. And those friends, in turn, quickly begin to address the staff by name, without looking at the badges. Isn't that an indicator?
Even more useful solutions!
How to reboot with ecotourism
"It's time to return to nature" is the main slogan of TAOR Karpaty. But how does the complex offer to learn the essence of the prefix eco? In the complex and with the help of the team you can:
- spend the night in the mountains in a tent;
- hand over all gadgets to the administrator and pick them up if necessary or after the holiday;
- go to the mountains with a guide;
- try real mineral water (there are four pump-rooms in the complex);
- do morning yoga with an instructor outdoors;
- spend the evening by the fire;
- admire the starry sky through a telescope.
And much more.