Lika Chikhladze's Story
I stepped in hospitality business almost 20 years during my studies in London, UK. I went through different jobs starting from Restaurant and Banqueting waitress carried on with Receptionist position. By that time, I did not realize that hospitality would become my passion. Driven by discovering cultures and connecting with people, I decided to stay in Hotel industry and I think this was the right decision I’ve made.
From 2003 Georgian Government started to launch several campaigns to promote the country throughout the world and this was a clue for me. I decided to grab hospitality and develop in the field which was just starting to prosper in Georgia.
Once I returned back to my hometown Tbilisi (Georgia) in 2006, hospitality and tourism were still at their infancy. Together with my friends, I participated in my First Hotel Opening, which still successfully operates today.
Working in a hotel you will never be bored, the days are never same, every day opportunity to expand your knowledge, and develop personally and professionally.
Joining Accor in 2015, I thought that this was another job opportunity and another Hotel Opening for me. But now I realize that this was the beginning of a long route of hospitality Adventures.
Before I joined Accor in 2015, I had a few other positions in Front Office and Service. My way into Accor started with the opening of a new Mercure Hotel. When ibis Styles joined the Combo in 2017, I became the cluster Front Office manager. In 2019, after my maternity leave, I was offered the position of Operations Manager at ibis Styles.
One year ago, I have heard about the Opening of the first ibis budget hotel in Tbilisi, applied the Flash opportunity and along with Accor experience, I was approved on the position of General Manager.
Since 2015, I passed trainings, met so many people and understood what Accor was all about. I feel appreciated from the very beginning till now. Accor put trust in me. In 2019, I was chosen as FO Marketplace Relay in Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. Feeling that trust, confidence and loyalty from the company is precious.
Working in Service, it was challenging to switch from one field into another. Operations has a lot in common with Front Office. You are working closely together with different departments; however, the focus is always on the guest. If you want to be on a high career level, it is essential to have tried as many jobs in the hotel as possible. I deep dived into purchasing, housekeeping, F&B, engineering and got familiar to all these departments running. Now as a General Manager, I am trying to recall everything I’ve learnt and be a good example and support for my team.
Working in hospitality is all about people and connections. I met diversity of people, cultures and mentalities. I like raising people and send them to the different fields in hospitality. I like to promote them and support them to achieve better positions. I see bellboys being now sales managers in big hotels, Receptionists – in Sales department, Shift Leaders – on Managers Positions, which makes me proud and pleased.
Last year I was invited at the Caucasus University, giving lectures to young student. I teach them by storytelling from my long career experience in the Hotel industry. I am giving them a reason to love and work in hospitality and around 20% of them are staying. Once you step into hospitality, there is no way out.
I have three sons (11, 9 and nearly 2 years old). Sometimes there are days when I only see them sleeping. Nevertheless, I look at it from a different perspective. They do not need a Mom who cleans and cooks all day, they need a successful mother who is strong and full of energy. Now they see me working hard, but in few years, they will become men, who will respect the effort and time of other people. I want to show them that loyalty, knowledge and hardworking matters, and love of their job will always be appreciated by the right company.
When I am talking to newbies in hospitality, I always say: Despites ups and downs, if you do not love hospitality, if you do not love people and smiles on their faces does not make you happy – this is not the right place for you. If you love what you do – then you do not work, you take pleasure out of it!
- Lika Chikhladze
- General Manager
- ibis budget Tbilisi Concert Hall (Georgia)