Boosting Croatia’s tourism sector

The EBRD TurnAround Management (TAM) team is helping Ugo-Grupa to improve profitability and management of its hotels chain

With more than 4,000 kilometres of coastline and a Mediterranean climate, Croatia is oriented towards a dynamic, fast-growing tourism industry. Ugo-Grupa is one of the small and medium-sized Croatian enterprises that is sustaining the development of the sector. The company owns two hotel groups: the Solaris Hotels, located in the Sibenik area near the coast and one of the most popular Croatian holiday destinations, and the Milenij Hotels, in Opatija, a busy business and congress centre. The group manages several businesses including eight hotels, 10 restaurants, 18 bars, a camping resort, a yacht marina and two wellness and spa centres.

A new business development plan

In order to improve profitability and management procedures, in 2009 the company consulted the EBRD TurnAround Management (TAM) team in Croatia to seek advice and work together on a business review and a development plan. The key objectives of the consultancy programme, which is funded through the EBRD-Greece technical cooperation fund, include the reorganisation of all departments for both Solaris and Milenij groups, the improvement of the food and beverage departments and controlling functions, and the review and improvement of the marketing and sales departments.

In the few months since the company has been working with the TAM team, Ugo-Grupa has already improved the streamlining of its hotel pricing system and rooms management and gained better control of food purchase, which will result in reducing costs. The creation of a unique marketing department for the two groups has improved the overall strategy, which includes the launch of a new web site and online reservation system that will attract more potential clients and minimise commissions paid to travel agents and tour operators.

Since 1999 Greece has provided a total of €650,000 in funding for 13 TAM projects in seven countries including Croatia, Montenegro, Russia, Serbia, Slovak Republic, Slovenia and Ukraine.