A five-star business

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Among the hobbies that the entrepreneur Radu Enache, the shareholder of Continental Hotels, cannot give up are manly opera and classical music performances. It is no wonder that often along with his wife he participates in such events in the country or abroad. 

When he goes on vacation he turns into an enthusiastic photographer, another passion that has followed him in the recent years. Radu Enache is less known for his hobbies, activities he only shares with friends, but rather for the hotel business he has built over the past 25 years.

Since the beginning, the entrepreneur has positioned the company as an integrated company, one representing Romanian brands. Strategically, during the economic crisis, Radu Enache reacted quickly to adapting to the new context and taking measures not to slow its development pace. Although in the meantime times have changed, there are, however, many things left that should be fixed in this industry.

The entrepreneur said in 2018 that the challenge of the market in which he develops his business is to protect those companies that generate jobs against state interventions, mainly because there is no predictability and it is very difficult to put up a medium- and long-term business strategy. He pointed out that only certain sectors are encouraged, while for others there is no coherence.

In other words, decision makers should pay more attention to tourism as most companies acting in this industry have Romanian capital and, on average, two out of ten employees are to be found here. This year the entrepreneur also spoke of a measure which generally affected the business in the sector, namely the specific hotel tax introduced in 2017.

He referred to the fact that the tax also applies to large and very large companies, which inevitably leads to hard-to-fill gaps. Of course, Radu Enache has nothing against the payment of a fair tax, in line with the profit registered by a company, but given the context of the years of crisis, of all the measures taken by companies for investments that have not been deducted, the emergence of a fixed cost (flat rate tax), which is not related to the activity itself, is not at all an encouraging measure. 

Strategically speaking, the entrepreneur focused this year on investing in the modernization of the Continental three-star hotels in Severin and Suceava and the four-star Forum hotels in Arad, Oradea and Sibiu, along with the upgrading of the hotel in Târgu-Mureş, qualifying now for four stars. Further on Radu Enache plans to develop a hotel complex on a land in Iaşi, which will include two three-and four-star hotels. He is also interested in developing projects in other cities such as Brasov, Cluj, Timişoara. Nevertheless, the key point will be in the year 2020, which will bring the conversion of the Ibis hotels into Continental brands.

With all this experience gained in more than 25 years of business, Radu Enache is certainly entitled to give the best tips for those who plan to start a business in this area. Firstly, according to the entrepreneur, this sector has potential, but it is not a predictable one. Then it is clear that Romania, as a destination, is very attractive, but loses much because of the infrastructure. At the same time, bureaucracy inside administrations discourages the investors. In other words, those who really want to hit such a road should have a lot of courage and prepare themselves with patience. Today, the Continental chain, which has 14 accomodation units under several brands, is one of the largest in the country with a capacity of about 2,000 rooms.

In 2017, the turnover of the company was about EUR 25.8 million (118 million lei), while the net profit reached almost EUR 0.9 million (4 million lei). Moreover, in 2018, the business increased according to estimates by an additional 5%.

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