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A: It hardly exists. The whole…the civil sector in itself has no capital. There isn’t a strong middle class that could finance civil sector organisations in villages, cities or regions. It means that they can’t be self-supportive and they need governmental help. But the government selects among them based on a set of criteria…either tolerate them or ban them. No, there is no ban. There were times when they were banned but it doesn’t happen today. Civil organisations are either tolerated or supported. But being tolerated doesn’t pay bills. There is a lack of patronage and there are no channels of sponsorship here like in western European countries. There is strong will though, because many civil organisations knock on my door asking for support. And we do provide them with space here in Zsolnay. But there are less and less


VOLUME 4 • ISSUE 1 (MARCH 2015) of them for some reason. These groups are decreasing in numbers. Maybe it’s a generational issue which would really want to support a cause. I don’t really know the way the Facebookgeneration or as it’s called generation Z thinks. A community being organised online is a different issue. I don’t know its impacts and what it means and I don’t know what it is all about.

I’m not familiar with it at all. I’m on Facebook too and I’m also member of a few groups.

It might sound silly but I think that against all openness of Facebook I think it is a more closed setup than, for example, when we sat down with the locals in the village grabbed a spade and a rake and we started digging made benches went into the pub and got sodden then had a game of chess and got up the morning after and cleaned the creek bed. It didn’t certainly happen in a virtual setup. We became a real community which had tangible results such as a tidy village, the memories we still share which are all crystallized in the 25-year-history of the Valley of Art festival. I don’t know how something like that could happen in a virtual community. I don’t know.

Q: What about the cooperation between the business sector and the other two sectors?

A: It’s frantic. Frantic indeed! The losing side is certainly the civil sector. And not only those civil sector organisations are losing out on support who would cooperate with the business sector but also those who are supported by the local governments because they depend on the ever changing budget. In Pécs there is a fine example of cooperation between the local government and a civil organisation. For example Lake Balokány, which is located within the city of Pécs, is revived which has a positive effect on the city architecture, conservation and the lives of city dwellers.

Q: For just a quick question I would like to switch to the Hungarian Festival Association.

I’ve read it in one of your interviews: ’…the unique quality assurance program of a twelve-yearold association serves as an example.’ A: The festival organising ‘guild’ was the very reason why we started the quality assurance program. Several associations got together based on consensus and in about one and a half hours we created a program which has two modules. There is a registration part which is important because there is hardly any statistics or survey about these companies.

By creating a quality assurance system we try to put things right with festivals regarding the various categories and rankings. We know that there are about 4,000 festivals in Hungary „.. THE COMPOSITION OF A TEAM IS A SCIENCE…” - INTERVIEW WITH ISTVÁN MÁRTA, THE MANAGING



without any organisations behind them. Let me give you an example from music composition. In a musical score there must be order otherwise it cannot be interpreted. No one can be denied of calling their garbage events a festival. But public money or partial funding should be based on quality ranking. Today a small amount is divided among many but quality is not taken into consideration.

Serious quantitative and qualitative research must be carried out in order to be able to qualify a festival. There are four festival types: art, community, gastro-cultural and folk art festival.

There are three ratings: qualified, well-qualified and excellent. Our quality assurance system is used by the European Festival Association this year and it forms the basis of an international festival award.

Q: You’ve also said: ’…quality assurance and registration clash with some interests.’ A: Yes, they do. There are conflicting interests as soon as the story is about government money and a festival receiving poor ratings. Let me emphasise that we don’t want to segregate parties but it’s important to separate village festivals or first time festivals form the Szeged Open-Air Festival. It’s impossible to compare them and in this question we need to establish a clear and unequivocal system of how to allocate government finances. What I think is that if there is a certain amount of money for festivals in the government budget – whether it be village festivals or other high quality events – at least a portion of this budget should be spent based on some kind of selection process. This is what we are fighting and lobbying for.

Q: Finally, the usual question: If you could start it all over again as a manager of cultural resources what would you do differently? Also, what would be your words of encouragement for the managers of cultural resources of the future?

A: Let me start with the second question. The coming generation should be open. Apart from learning the trade they should also go and see those places which they are interested in or where they imagine themselves in the future. If someone wants to work in the music industry or visual arts they should know these places and trends very well. A very pleasant way of doing that is to go for concerts or exhibitions. They also must know the historic and psychological relationships as well as the financial background. Of course, it’s not enough to be passionate about music to become a cultural manager. Sorry, what was the first question?


VOLUME 4 • ISSUE 1 (MARCH 2015) Q: If you could start it all over again as a manager of cultural resources what would you do differently?

A: If I could start it all over again I wouldn’t do anything else but write music.

Q: But as a cultural manager, if you could start it all over again…The question of learning curve… A: I have no idea what I would do.

Q: Well, if you think that you’ve always been successful then this… A: Oh no! Far from! But people tend to keep quiet about their failures and low moments.

There were so many…excuse, back to the question. We must endure our lows and get over them. I had many lows but I’ve never prepared a ’brag file’ to show to the media or anyone else. I’ve had files with: ’Running away is a shame, but it is useful!’ written all over them. It might also be a lesson to learn. But if I were a teacher – unfortunately I’m not a teacher type – I would surely teach about my failures. I would share these examples of failure behind closed doors of course. I can’t teach and this is a big problem for me. I’m doing so many different things that I’m quite envy of those…my father is a teacher and he has a lot to be envy about.

I did teach music history and analysis of 20th century music at the Jazz Department for two years but I had to realise that I’m not capable of teaching.

Q: You could surely teach in higher education.

A: No, I couldn’t. I simply can’t focus only on one thing because I’m absorbed by so many things although I’m a composer and I also have a teacher’s degree.

–  –  –



The dilemma of standardisation and customisation is often the topic of great strategic debates in companies and issue of academic discussions. Especially for a service company, quality is one of the main goals to reach and maintain, but considering many of them it is not an easy task to accomplish. Standardisation can be the solution for this ‘problem’ with its rules and regulations, although it has to be considered that the service industry is very much customer centred and the guests want novelty and special treatment, so customisation is essential as well.

However, not only quality plays a significant role in the operation of different firms. Productivity, efficiency, cost reduction, more revenue and better image can be listed as well. Some of them can be easily reached by standardisation, some of them by customisation. Instead of choosing from the two it would be the most advantageous to combine the two concepts and exploit the benefits of both.

The object of the research is the Hungarian hotel sector. The Hungarian tourism industry is a very successful source of revenue for the Hungarian economy. In 2012 the balance of tourism export and import was 2243 million euros, which could not have been accomplished without the Hungarian hotel sector. The role of Hungarian hotels can be explained by the revenues produced by all the accommodations, which was 270.8 billion forints (approximately 903 million euros), and the hotel sector’s contribution to this number is 89.5% (Hungarian Hotel and Restaurant Association, 2012). This number makes hotels the most important accommodation providers in Hungary.

This paper is discussing the role of standardisation and customisation in the hotel management

of Hungarian hotels. The following questions are going to be answered at the end of the article:

How can the level of standardisation and customisation be measured?

Is there any relationship between standardisation and customisation or are they independent from each other so hotel managers have to choose?

What kind of performance indicators are there in hotels? How their relations look like?

Do standardisation and customisation help hotels increase their performance?

At first the two concepts are being introduced and discussed. Then the assumptions and results are explained. At the end of the paper the conclusion and the managerial implications are being detailed.




Although hotels are significant in the Hungarian economy, they have to face several problems lately. These issues have a standardisation, customisation perspective and the analyses of these concepts can provide a solution for hotels. In this paper the pricing and the human resource problems are highlighted form the list Győrffy (2010) defines.

The prices of Hungarian hotels can be claimed to be low comparing all the costs in connection with the operation. The low level of prices mean that there is a slight difference between the price of a 4 or 3 star hotel but guests expect higher quality in a 4 star establishment.

The reason for the low room rates and packages is to increase the occupancy rate, although it is only about 50% (KSH.hu, 2013). The consequence of the decreased prices is that there is no money left for maintenance which results that hotels cannot provide quality equipment for the guests or work with any. It makes it even harder for the staff to satisfy the guest needs because they have to make up for the mistakes and deficiencies of the intangibles (Győrffy, 2010). In long run price reduction leads to quality problems which is a vicious circle reducing the revenue and the number of satisfied guests. Győrffy (2010) also suggests that the staff has to be provided with a plan for the future to make it easier for them to accomplish the goals of the company. Nowadays there is a new trend among hotel managers: they keep as little contact with the guests as possible, which worsens the atmosphere at the workplace. Since hotels need to reduce their costs to be able to work, some of them use outsourcing as a tool, although this method can also have a negative effect on quality and atmosphere in the hotel.

For measuring the hotels’ success eight performance indicators have been chosen. Some of them are measured by the Hungarian Statistics Office (KSH) (revenue per available room, average room rate, occupancy rate, star rating), the others are suggested by the Hungarian Hotel and Restaurant Association (foreign guest percentage), the rest aims to show the guest satisfaction (Tripadvisor evaluations, Booking.com evaluations, loyal guest percentage).


Standardisation is the situation where the service product is the same every time (for example the hamburger at McDonald’s). According to Sundbo (2002) standardisation is a way to decrease costs, at the same time to increase productivity and lower prices. Standardisation can be explained in terms of classic economic logic, which may be characterised as an economy of productivity (Sundbo, 1994). Within this logic, only prices and quantities are essential and consumers are supposed to assess the quality of a product and compare the price of it PETRA GYURÁCZ-NÉMETH 81


with the price of similar products. Individual customer care is useless according to this logic because the customers have the knowledge to classify the product or service according to the type and quality, and when they have done so, only the price matters (Sundbo, 1994).

This statement is supported by the fact that standardised services tend to arise in price sensitive markets where there are economies of scale, and where production is routine, with high costs of adaptation (customisation), and which involve standard or inflexible technologies and a relatively low cost labour force (which is likely to be a labour force with a relatively low level of educational attainment) (Tether et al., 2001). Standardisation implies high production volumes and relatively distant relations with the customer (since little information is required from the consumer to specify the product) (Tether et al., 2001).

Some other phrases for standardisation can be seen on Table 1.

–  –  –

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