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Achieving European Quality

HT Agency is a trailblazer in the fields of consulting and management that sets itself apart on the Serbian market by offering unique and comprehensive solutions for hotel operations. Its services encompass education, implementation and correction, making HT Agency a one-stop solution for all your hospitality needs

Rade Samčević has spent the past 15 years as the driving force behind HT Agency, leading the way in the hospitality industry. His journey, marked by the launch of new hotels and the optimising of the operations of existing ones, stands as testament to his unwavering commitment to employee and management training. Here’s a glimpse into his inspiring journey, designed to inspire potential clients.

Your agency has been providing consulting and management services to the hospitality and tourism industries for 15 years. What does your offer encompass?

― At HT Agency, we offer comprehensive services to assist investors and hotel management with specific operations, projects or hotel management. Our services are divided into two segments. The first segment focuses on opening new hotel properties, where we collaborate before and during construction, make the property operational and develop the business. The second segment is dedicated to helping existing hotels enhance their operations in accordance with their goals.

Consultants exist to save investors’ money and time on various projects and aspects of work, because they have extensive experience

This comprehensive process includes varied but complementary functions that can be performed separately, enabling us to assist clients wanting to enhance a specific operational segment of their business. Throughout these functions, we emphasise the importance of training and educating employees and management, as we believe this is the most effective way to implement the philosophy and requirements of the business, leading to improved efficiency and profitability.

Running a successful hotel demands hard work, effort, money and experience. This is why consultants plays such a crucial role in the hospitality industry. Would you agree that, at HT Agency, you understand this and strive to save clients significant money and time, providing a sense of relief and reassurance?

― A good hotel is a profitable hotel. And that requires more than just what has been mentioned, such as a good location, a passion for hospitality, a love for guests, a commitment to employees, high-quality staff, capable and skilled management, a quality consulting team, patience, realistic expectations, reliable suppliers, quality equipment and favourable internal and external stability (political, economic, health, etc.). Consultants exist to save investors’ money and time on various projects and aspects of work, because they have extensive experience. It is common practice elsewhere in the world to hire consultants of various specialities (concept creators, designers, marketing experts, technical equipment specialists, HR, financial controllers etc., as well as experts responsible for setting up the operation of future hotels). In our region, the majority of investors choose to handle most of these demands independently, with varying degrees of success. This can later lead to challenges for them, as they lack experience in this field and just one wrong decision can prove very costly. As the saying goes, “Once you board the wrong train, every stop is wrong.”

Serbia’s natural hospitality is a significant advantage of our tourism offer, but that’s no longer sufficient. Would you agree that investing in good staff and their education is more crucial today than ever before?

― I agree. High competitiveness and the demands of modern guests require an excellent, high-quality service, because the offer alone is insufficient if you don’t have quality employees. Often, even with a less superior offer, but good employees, you will provide a good service, whereas the service will be poor if you have an excellent offer and poor staff.

Often, even with a less superior offer, but good employees, you will provide good service, whereas the service will be poor with an excellent offer and poor staff

Modern needs are such that technical competence is no longer enough; other essential skills must be developed, while the hotel management and those responsible for efficiency play the most crucial role.

You have collaborated with many investors to create new hotel brands, improve existing ones, and train staff worldwide. In your line of work, are recommendations worth more than any paid advertisement?

― I believe that paid promotions or advertising for the type of work I do is counterproductive. You need to create your brand and prove yourself continuously with quality. I strive to promote each new project for the next one and to have satisfied clients recommend me to their friends. Thanks to new technologies and communication channels, our region is becoming an increasingly attractive destination for tourists worldwide.

As someone who has been in the hotel industry for over a quarter of a century, how would you evaluate the tourism offers of Serbia and the region?

― The offers at existing destinations have been improved, while new ones are opening and there is something for everyone. The offers cover an increasing market segment daily, and the quality has already reached the European level. We are lagging behind top hotel brands slightly, but this is changing.

No good staff, no good service

The most crucial element of good service is trained, courteous and skilled staff who have good cognitive abilities and recognise guests’ needs, meet their demands and exceed their expectations. This is achieved through quality selection and recruitment, continuous motivation and education.

Tourists have become active promoters

Promoting destinations has become easier since information has become more accessible. Any tourist can now easily find what interests them and organise their time at the destination without too much difficulty. This also brings new challenges, as tourists have become active promoters.

Expo 27 is important for Serbia

The region follows trends regardless of location. Serbia, in my opinion, has the highest growth compared to the pre- COVID period, both in domestic and foreign tourists, so I hope that events like EXPO 27 will contribute to the destination’s even greater competitiveness.

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