Jet Set Works Through Huge Hospitality Effort, Expected Challenges
Preparing for the Sochi Games was more challenging for Jet Set Sports than any Olympics since Athens. The company, which is the official hospitality supplier of Sochi 2014, has run hospitality programs at 17 Olympics. Its founder, Sead Dizdarevic, is accustomed to last-minute preparations. But the size and scale of what Jet Set had to do in Sochi was greater than any other Olympics. Dizdarevic learned on Jan. 27 that three mountain hotels where he had reserved 150 rooms for corporate clients weren’t going to be finished in time. He knew he couldn’t do anything to get all three done in time, so he and his staff joined the hotel staff to try and finish one of them, the Solis. Dizdarevic said, “The reason they were late was they were building three hotels simultaneously without sufficient labor. They were disorganized. They jumped from place to place. We asked them to provide the labor and focus on a single hotel, the Solis, and we finished it in four days.”
MAKING IT HAPPEN: During the week before the Games, Jet Set’s staff installed television lines, internet service, adjusted thermostats, bought food and drinks for the mini-bars, and cleaned the rooms. A road that was supposed to reach the Solis, which is perched in the middle of a mountain resort, wasn’t completed and guests were going to have to take their luggage up a gondola to check in. Instead, Jet Set designed a system to ferry their luggage up and down the mountain. Sead’s son and Jet Set co-CEO Allen Dizdarevic said, “These are normal growing pains of (new) hotels. When you’re under a tight timeline, there’s not room for growing pains. You have to become an adult overnight.”
EXPECTING PROBLEMS: Jet Set was anticipating such problems at the Sochi Games. The construction effort here was greater than any previous Games. Not only was Sochi building venues for events, it was building more than 22,000 hotel rooms. Jet Set’s staff knew some of those wouldn’t be completed. Dizdarevic said they reserved 260 rooms at the Radisson in the established town of Sochi as a backup in case hotels weren’t done. He said, “I was ready to move everybody down. Tell them it won’t be finished. You won’t be in the mountains. You will be in the city.” But the work they did on the Solis allowed the company to avoid making that change, and Dizdarevic said that, while he’s not in the construction business, the company’s experience in Sochi has been better than its experience in London in '12 (More at SBJ's On The Ground Blog).