The process took, unfortunately still continues in Croatia, for many years because animation was seen as a cost and not as an investment and added value of a hotel. Some hotels have animation teams because they have to have them due to market demands, and do not invest the same (again mindset how animation is a cost) while others are actively developing it from year to year Animation as an integral part of the hotel offer, or as we know it today, began in Croatia in Istria in the distant 90’s. In the very beginning, animation teams were developed by external agencies, both domestic and foreign, and after a decade of animation development in Croatia, a couple of hotel chains began to develop their own animation teams. Arena Activities Team – A2 And as Ružičić points out, this proved to be a great move for them and how they broke the prejudice that local people are not interested in working in animation. “During my animation career, 90% of animators came from all over Croatia, a very small number of animators would be from that place or as the locals would call them. We went the other way around. We decided to experiment, in the context of trying to fill teams with “local” people, which turned out to be a great move. Apart from the fact that the cost per animator is reduced by the cost of accommodation on a full board basis, the advantage is that we can hire local people throughout the year. These are various events such as the New Year, various symposia, congresses, sports events and the like. Another important advantage is that we can work better and develop a team of people. We have the space to build the staff we need, which is otherwise much more difficult, because animators after graduating from college mainly find work in their domicile environment. says Ružičić and adds that they can respond to all hotel requests in real time, which is a great added value. Currently, every year in the Arena Hospitality Group, animators work in 10 camps, 5 hotels, 2 tourist resorts or a total of 62 animators who are under their own roof. And from this season, the Arena Activities team will increase by 10 animators who will make up the team of the newly renovated Arena Kažela camp, thus symbolically completing the process of introducing their own animation teams in all their facilities. As Ružičić points out, the process of creating his own animation team began in 2009, when a local external agency was in charge of animation at the then Arenaturist, today Arena Hospitality Group. “Everything has its advantages and disadvantages. When the hotel company agrees to cooperate with an external agency, ie after the process of contracting and coordinating the program, the hotel does not have to take care of staff, program, etc.… because everything is agreed in the contract. So the operation is at an external agency, and as a rule, everything you agree on will be respected, but the disadvantage is that you do not have the opportunity to use animation services outside the contracted framework. For example, every additional in house event requested by our partners must be additionally contracted, which further increases the cost of the service and defines every detail. You don’t have the ability to work with animators on additional PR, to make changes to the program if something is seen not working, so you can’t react now and immediately”Ružičić points out After four years of experience with an outside agency, for the 2009 season we started the process of realizing our own animation team, and the process is still ongoing. Everything started in small steps, Ružičić points out and adds that they first started with their own teams in two camps. “The first season showed us what we were hoping for, and that was that the guests recognized the change and gave us positive feedback on the animation rating that season. The following season we introduced our team to a new facility, this time a resort. So from year to year we took over the facilities from the outsourcing agency and so for ten years ” Ružičić pointed out and added that this season their plan is to complete the process of introducing their own animation teams in all their facilities. Arena Activities Team – A2 One of the hotel pioneers who embraced, encouraged and thus developed animation was the Arena Hospitality Group. Thus, Arena Hospitality Group was one of the leaders in this process, as it is today, and has been independently leading and developing its own animation team for 10 years. As our tourism is extremely seasonal, and as it is still a student job during the summer holidays, the life cycle of animators lasts on average 3-4 years. Rarely do they stay in animation all year round, mostly due to the short season, ie the impossibility of permanent employment. From the student’s perspective, you work at sea, you have three meals and accommodation, and a solid starting salary of over 4.500 kuna, which grows from year to year to over 7.000 kuna for more experienced animators. These are some financial frameworks, which of course depend on the company. So in this case we can certainly confirm that it is a misconception that local people do not want to work in tourism, ie in this case in animation. “The misconception is that local people don’t want to work and can’t be animated. It is also a misconception that an animator who goes to his home after a working day and is not accommodated in our facilities, that this reduces the quality of the animation work. The only question is how the job is presented, how you motivate them and treat them. We have a great relationship with our animators, we have a lot of understanding, we talk a lot, we work a lot on interpersonal relationships. As I was a longtime animator, I know exactly what the life of an animator is like, so I can better understand their needs, reasons for possible dissatisfaction. appearing in animator life. This is the most beautiful possible job in the world for them in this period of life. My main goal is to teach people to understand that all their talents through this job can be shown, built and improved. When you are a professional employer, fair and love your job, people recognize it and everything comes back.”Emphasizes Ružičić, and around the discussion the domestic vs. animators from all over Croatia point out an interesting fact, that animators from Pula were much less late for work than, say, animators who were accommodated in the settlement itself. More and more guests are not looking for or wanting interaction on the evening program, but expect a professional performance and show, especially in the segment of higher categorization of hotels. The difference between an outdoor and InHouse animation agency is significant, and large hotel houses are more inclined to develop their animation teams, while smaller tourist facilities are taken over by external agencies. I talked about the advantages and disadvantages of the same Zvjezdana Ružičić Stella, animation development manager of Arena Hospitality Group, who has been involved in animation for eight years, and after that took over the responsibility and baton of animation development. The animation has changed a lot since the animation from 10 and more years ago, it changes from year to year and it has to change because it has to follow all the latest trends in the segment of entertainment, recreation, lifestyle, trends and the like. “Fortunately today, hotel management has understood the deeper meaning of animation, its importance in following trends, and focusing on creating experiences. Thus, in 2012, we started moving away from the traditional day-evening program and devised the concept of semi-individual creation of experiences, including all segments of the tourist offer of hotels, resorts and destinations. The program is called FED (feel, explore & discover) and with the animator to whom we gave the new name GREO (guest relation entertainment officer) with excellent knowledge of at least two foreign languages offers the guest programs that are created including gastronomy, excursions, historical and cultural sights , educational, creative and sports and recreational facilities. We are lucky that the management follows us, invests in the development of animation and most importantly understands animation as an integral part of business”Says Ruzicic. While the children are playing, they are thrilled and their day is filled and the parents are resting. Win-win, right? How much does it cost to have two hours of peace, rest and time with your spouse on vacation, while your child plays, educates, dances, participates in a creative and educational playroom or does some sports in a sports animation tournament. Priceless, isn’t it? This is confirmed by Ružičić, who emphasizes that before the focus was on the interaction of guests and animators in the evening program, but these are programs that are less and less interesting to guests. People who have a fast-paced and stressful pace of life, now want to buy peace on vacation. “There are more and more guests who do not want to interact with the animators as part of the evening program. They want to relax after dinner and enjoy performing show programs or simply relaxing evenings to the music of professional musicians. That is why our policy is to offer a diverse evening program in collaboration with local performers and one to two performance programs performed by our animators. ” Ružičić pointed out, adding that it is impossible to release more new programs every year that are at a high level, perhaps due to the constant fluctuation of animators from season to season. Animation is the best seasonal job for students The annual with children can be more strenuous more often than the daily rhythm. Therefore, the focus of its own program is on the development of children’s animation, as well as the primary functions of animation in tourism. Animators are the most important and useful in this segment and fulfill their main function. The job of an animator creates for young people an excellent life and business foundation for future development. In addition to being in various roles during the working day, they learn foreign languages and develop communication skills through daily direct communication with guests, get rid of the fear of public speaking and microphones, develop creativity, learn teamwork and create a valuable CV… which are all qualities and valuable experience for your business future development. After graduating from college, animators have 3-4 years of extremely valuable and valued work experience in animation and thus have a great competitive advantage over their peers and get their first jobs much easier. Also, the animation experience accompanies them throughout their lives, because they are all valuable skills in marketing, sales, event organization and various other industries. If you are a student and reading this article, and you are interested in the job of animator in tourism, you can still apply and become part of the animation team Arena Hospitality Group. It is in the segment of understanding animation as an integral part of a hotel’s business that the biggest shift in animation has taken place. As I mentioned above, animation is not a cost but an investment. An investment that may not be immediately directly financially measurable, but through the level of guest satisfaction certainly yes, as well as if not a key positive and measurable tool through guest return next year. And that’s the holy grail in tourism isn’t it? Have regular guests who return every year. Because in addition to affecting stable business, these guests are our best ambassadors and come without the cost of marketing and booking portal commission. On average, the life cycle of an animator lasts from three to four years The animation is not the same in every hotel, it all depends on the type of accommodation and the profile of the guests. For example, the animation differs significantly in campsites, a 3 * hotel and a 4 * hotel. Interestingly, although the animators in Prague mostly come from all over Croatia, Arena Hospitality Group has decided on a different concept, focusing on the local animator base. The percentage of animator returns in the Arena Hospitality Group is at a high level, at 80 percent which is a great result. While 90% of animators were from all over Croatia before, and 10% were local people, today the situation is different due to the change of concept. So today, as many as 70% of animators come from the local field, and 30% of animators are from all over Croatia. Animators, not 3D animators, but animators in tourism, ie animation in tourism has today become an integral part of every serious family hotel. “Every two years we release a new program and what we are very proud of, each of our programs was created in our “workshop”. By creating evening children’s programs, I try to combine commercials with something authentic, such as myths and legends from Istria, with the story of the mega popular Smurfs. Again, on the other hand, everyone knows the Smurfs, while, say, our Veli Jože does not. By the synergy of these two stories, we promote our history, culture and destination, and parents and children through them familiar characters, learn something from it. The guiding mission is to create new stories that will include authenticity and uniqueness, of course with a lot of music and dance, which has proven to be more than successful”Says Ružičić.