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Hillside’s success story is a lecture at Harvard

Hillside Beach Club under the roof of Alarko Holding Tourism Group, has become a lecture topic at Harvard Business School. Harvard Business School turns the story of successful brands of the world into case studies. Hillside Beach Club’s success story, determined with such numbers as 99 % of guest satisfaction and 68 % of re-visiting rates, has been analysed by Harvard Business School, as part of the case study called “Offering the Best Family Vacation in the Mediterranean”.

The study carried out by Harvard’s Senior Professor Rajiv Lal, through one-on-one meetings with managers and guests of Hillside to study the “Continuous Development Philosophy”. The institution has been examined thoroughly for its authentic service approach exceeding expectations throughout the years, original marketing insights and unconventional management methods providing sustainability.

Hillside Beach Club’s success story, has become a lecture at Harvard Business School (HBS), one of world’s leading universities, for its award-winning qualifications. Harvard Business School that turns the success stories of worldwide brands into case studies, examined Hillside Beach Club operating under Alarko Holding Tourism Group as a part of the case study “The Best Family Vacation in the Mediterranean”. Harvard Business School students study the analysis that consists of Hillside Beach Club’s authentic management methods that has been created over the years.

Note to editor: Hillside Beach Club previously analysed as a case by Shaun Smith -the author of “Uncommon Practice: People Who Deliver A Great Brand Experience”- in account to “unconventional guest oriented extraordinary practices”. Later on, Hillside Beach Club was studied in Smith’s book “See Feel Think Do”, as a case study along with worldwide brands such as Sony, Pepsi, Harley-Davidson, Cathay Pacific, Apple and Amazon.

Worldwide renowned Harvard Professor Rajiv Lal carried out the case study.

The case study was carried out by Senior Professor Rajiv Lal of Harvard, who exclusively focuses on marketing and guest-oriented organisations and is an esteemed authority on this area. The case study was formed through meetings on the premises with Head of Alarko Tourism Group Edip İlkbahar, managers, employees and guests of Hillside Beach Club. The study evaluated: Hillside Beach Club’s 99 % of exceptional guest satisfaction rates, over 90 % of bookings and 68 % of guests re-visiting rates, which is an unprecedented rate among such resorts.

The feel good factor” that Hillside obtained as a mission since 1998 took part in the study.

Edip Ilkbahar defines this notion particular to Hillside as follows: “We design happiness. We are in the business of making people feel good… We may define feeling good in the real sense, not through notions like possessing or luxury, but as the emotions that you feel sitting under your favorite tree or the joy of having a friend over at your home. That’s why making people feel good with sincerity is a significant element of Hillside’s serving philosophy. This philosophy helped us gain hundreds of thousands of guests that ‘feel good’, ‘tell us that they get worth the value’, ‘bound to Hillside from the heart’ and ‘keep coming every year’.”

Harvard Business School’s case study addressed the happiness and motivation of the staff, too.

The way Hillside’s philosophy approaches to the subject is substantial: Behaivour over technical training, human and motivation over systems, are what really matters. Also, the case study underlines “the “happy employees, happy guests” approach, and mentions the hotel that had been renovated to accomodate the employees. Harvard Business School study also pointed out that as a consequence of such philosophies, Hillside also obtained an avarage working rate of 6.2 years among its employees, which is an exceptional rate. Edip Ilkbahar said: “There’s emotional connection in the DNA of quality of service. We are bound to our employees, as well as our guests. For us, our employees’ happiness, is as important as our guests’.”

Edip İlkbahar: “Hillside is a passion product. This desire ignites the company culture.”

The study of Harvard explains, how Hillside Beach Club follows global trends closely, how they offer diverse experiences each year, in line with the spirit of that period, under the title of Continuous Improvement Philosophy. Edip Ilkbahar says their target is to accomplish each year for guests to say, “they’ve outdone themselves again”, “I traveled all around the world but haven’t had such an experience”… Ilkbahar continues: “In order to be the leader we created a culture set upon ‘continuous improvement’ and ‘learning’. In order to be creative and authentic, what matters is to absorb the spirit of that certain time and understand human psychology.” The Harvard case study also mentions Hillside Beach Club’s innovative approaches, and gives examples such as Coffee Corner, a sample of new trend of 3rd wave coffee experience, “Hillside Beach Order” app where you can place your order without even leaving your seat at the beach, cinema and classical music concerts over the sea. Moreover, “Chief Instagram Officer”, a job advert project, that received the “Best Social Media Project” award, was also mentioned in the case study with 62.000 applications and 23 million overview.

We adopt long term and sustainable strategies in order to be prepared for any crisis. We never made any concessions over our quality for short term.”

Hillside is prepared for possible crisis in the tourism industry through adopting long term strategies, says Edip Ilkbahar: “We set long term strategies in detail at the very beginning, strategies such as working in alternating markets. Under the light of Alarko’s one of 10 philosophies, “providing better even if the custpmer is satisfied with what is given”, we set our priority to become resistant to any crisis, through pulling up the quality following our continuous imrovement philosophy. We never made anhy concessions for short term targets. And the results are rather favorable.”

We are creating a brand new holiday heaven in Cyprus in the Karpaz region.”

Edip Ilkbahar mentions they’ll be maintaining new investments of ALarko Tourism Group with the principle of “Quality in Service and Production”, also gave information on their project in Cyprus: “The project consists of a 400-room hotel and resort. There’s an amazing beach and an exclusive sea. Karpaz, where the project is establishing, is a virgin region. We are excited working on a brand new Hillside. In midterm, we are planning to be a chain growing with the high-quality understanding.”

Professor Rajiv Lal:

A Senior Professor on retail trade Rajiv Lal, is responsible on Harvard Business School retail cirruculum, and has worked as the leader of MBA Marketing lecture and the Faculty Head of the “Global Management” programme. Professor Lal is the co-chair of Establishing and Managing Guest Oriented Organisation programme and is lecturing in several management training programmes.