Marija Pantelic's Story
I started working in hospitality because you can develop yourself while making people happy. I am a very social person, so working with diverse customers and colleagues was crucial.
The dynamics, the shifting responsibilities and the feeling you have when you start training and end up in a managing position, all this is satisfying. Now, after almost 16 years, I can say that what really makes me happy and gives me special strength is that I was given the opportunity to prove that a woman can lead a team and be an inspiring leader.
My teammates and I strive to promote Accor’s initiatives and bring ALL ambitions alive locally. At Mercure Belgrade Excelsior, we respect each other, we appreciate our guests, we develop together, we bring guests’ dreams to life and we have great fun doing it!
Before becoming part of the Accor family, Mercure Belgrade Excelsior operated for more than 90 years as Hotel Excelsior Beograd. Before World War II the property was used for longer stays by famous people, including actress Josephine Baker, Nobel Prize winner Ivo Andrić, poet and diplomat Milos Crnjanski and poet Vasko Popa. The hotel has a long tradition of quality and good service.
We believe that happy staff deliver excellent customer service, and this drives business success. During the transition to Mercure, it was crucial to involve people in the process and create an atmosphere of creativity. All change is hard and uncertain but ours was quite relaxed, exciting and natural.
The hotel’s entry into Accor heralded an extraordinary era. The arrival of brand Mercure in Serbia introduced to the market the only midscale hotel brand that combines the strength of an international network with a strong commitment to quality and the warm experience of hotels that are rooted in their community. The hotel has kept a warm vibe and atmosphere, showcasing its firm roots in Serbian hospitality through modern design and traditional details and décor; with valued international hospitality standards, this enriches the guest experience.
A hotel that maintains long-term relationships with existing loyal customers benefits from that so we focus on preserving the relationship of trust with regular guests. Accor’s loyalty program, which our guests joined very quickly, greatly helped with that, so we kept most of our clients, who today enjoy the privileges provided by ALL – Accor Live Limitless loyalty programme.
Hospitality is one of the world’s biggest industries and one of the most dynamic, exciting and fast growing, so it attracts more and more skilled people with attributes. To anyone newly in the sector, the key to a successful career path is communication. This will allow you to obtain from colleagues and management the guidance you need to be successful in your role – and it will help you build stronger relationships and network more efficiently. A great way to develop and fine-tune your communication skills is to speak to clients, teammates and management as you would want them to speak to you.
And to those who are thinking about starting a career in the hospitality industry, you are making a great choice! The global hospitality community is cosmopolitan and provides an endless range of career options. And for young people, hospitality is a great starting point, it teaches everyone customer service skills, which are the basis of nearly every role they will perform. They will will carry them throughout life and will open many opportunities and will also make them more rounded individuals.
If you love interacting with people, want to carve out a niche and are ready to learn from life experience, you will not be able to imagine working in any other industry! Like any job, it has its ups and downs, but that’s the great thing about it; there is always room for innovation and there will always be innovators!
- Marija Pantelic
- General Manager
- Mercure Belgrade Excelsior (Serbia)