Leadership in the resort and urban leisure segments, digitalisation and trust and sustainability, all keys to company strategy, Meliá Executive Vice President, Gabriel Escarrer Jaume, presented the focus on the company’s 2020 vision at FITUR, describing the three major areas where it will be focusing its efforts up to the end of the decade.
Firstly, the company aims to continue to strengthen its leadership in resort and "bleisure" hotels (urban hotels also offering leisure experiences and lifestyle attributes). Escarrer explained that Meliá will continue to grow internationally in both city and resort hotels and currently has 51 new openings planned up until 2020. The Meliá CEO highlighted growth in the Caribbean, a region it has been committed to for over 30 years, with upcoming openings including the spectacular Paradisus Playa Mujeres in Mexico or the Meliá Internacional Varadero in Cuba. These new openings accompany the important investments made in 2018 in the Dominican Republic, with the opening of the Grand Reserve at Paradisus Palma Real, Meliá Caribe Beach and Meliá Punta Cana Beach. Up to 2020, the company will open at least 10 new hotels in the Americas.
Asia and the Pacific coast will continue to grow strongly, with 16 openings planned up to 2020, three of them in Vietnam, two in China and also the first hotel in the Maldives, the Gran Melia Huravee, scheduled to open this year.
The highest growth for the company is concentrated in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), with at least 25 new hotels to open up to 2020, including hotels in major European countries and the iconic ME Dubai Hotel, a masterpiece designed by the deceased Arab architect Zaha Hadid. In Spain, the company is also preparing unique projects in the most attractive city destinations, such as the future ME Barcelona, but is prioritising growth in resort hotels where it sees major opportunities in adding some of the numerous independent hotels that require repositioning through management contracts.
Escarrer presented the vision at the "Innside by Meliá" stand, a brand that has been repositioned with a strong focus on bleisure, combining a leisure experience with business trips and conforming to the strictest sustainability standards.
The sustainable stand at FITUR is aligned with the Meliá 2020 vision, one of whose aims is to become a benchmark for sustainability and corporate responsibility. In response to the trust it enjoys in the market and among major stakeholders, the company intends to further enhance a commitment to corporate responsibility that saw it named the third most sustainable hotel company in the world in 2018 according to RobecoSAM, the agency responsible for ranking companies for the Dow Jones Sustainability Index.
Up to 2020, the company will intensify its environmental and social strategy, with a particular focus on children, inclusion, diversity and philanthropy.
The Meliá strategic vision prioritises continuity of the financial strength achieved over the last 10 years and the creation of shareholder value. To achieve this, Escarrer explained that the business model consolidated throughout the last Strategic Plan and built around an asset-light model (around 60% of the portfolio) allows it to achieve rapid growth with a low level of leverage and greater resilience to economic cycles.
As a lever for generating greater confidence, Escarrer also stressed the company’s financial strength over the last 10 years, allowing it to achieve unprecedented solidity to face possible changes in the economic cycle. He also emphasised an increasingly diversified business model that will allow the company to continue generating value in the long term.
The second major focus for Meliá will be to continue to reinforce its digital leadership, a key factor in the company’s future from both the internal and external perspective.
Internally, Meliá is focusing on using technology to improve systems and processes to generate major progress in managerial excellence through the automation of back-office processes, allowing employees to spend more time on things that add value for clients. The Meliá digital transformation has also had a positive impact on its team, including the more than 1,000 members of the salesforce who have been trained in digital sales.
Externally, company strategy prioritises increasing digital sales to consumers (B2C) through melia.com (which has grown by 68% since 2015) and to intermediaries or professional clients (B2B) through MeliaPro, which increased sales by 35% in 2018 and currently manages relationships with more than 42,000 travel agencies worldwide. The company investment in the digitalisation of its sales channels was over 129 million euros over the course of the latest Strategic Plan.
Digitalisation has also transformed the way the company interacts with customers. Meliá is the most influential hotel company in social networks in Spain, with more than 6.7 million followers in 2018, an increase of 28.4% over the previous year. The digital paradigm is also transforming the customer experience throughout the process that Meliá calls the "customer journey".
Digitalising the customer experience: the room of the future
The Meliá chief executive unveiled a project named the "Tech-room" in which everything in the room can be personalised by guests through electronic and artificial intelligence systems. A pilot Tech-room will be inaugurated at the Meliá Madrid Serrano Hotel in Madrid in the summer and will include, among other systems:
- Digital systems for regulating the opacity of windows to replace curtains and blinds
- Voice assistance systems for all guest needs or a smart panel showing all the hotel services
- Adjustable smart bed and mattress with elements that can be personalised to maximise comfort
- Tablet to control room temperature, a smart mirror and facilities to complement the tech experience such as a massage chair and shower with chromotherapy and aromatherapy
- Interactive TV and 4D projection for a 100% immersive experience
Highlighted openings 2019 – 2020
INNSIDE Milan - Italy
Scheduled to open at the end of 2019, the hotel is located in Torre Galfa, one of the architectural icons of Milan, and will offer 145 rooms, meeting rooms, a gym and a restaurant with stunning views of the city skyline.
INNSIDE Paris - France
The INNSIDE Paris - Charles de Gaulle will offer 266 rooms next to the most important Parisian airport in the Roissypole business district. The hotel will open in February and will provide facilities for meetings and conferences.
INNSIDE Amsterdam - The Netherlands
Located in the financial district of Zuidas in the south of Amsterdam, the hotel will provide 328 rooms. A perfect location for business and with easy access to the city centre for leisure travellers, this hotel will offer great dining options, a state-of-the-art gym and creative meeting rooms. Its opening is scheduled for 2020.
INNSIDE Liverpool - United Kingdom
With 207 rooms, gym, MICE facilities and a spectacular rooftop restaurant, the INNSIDE Liverpool will be only a 7-minute walk from the historic city centre and 5 minutes from the port. The opening of the hotel is scheduled for early 2020.
Meliá Frankfurt - Germany
The hotel will be located in the Bockenheim district, next to the Natural History Museum and one kilometre from the central train station and next to one of the largest trade fair sites in the world. With 430 rooms, it will provide a choice of dining options, facilities for events and meetings, private parking and a full YHI spa. Its opening is scheduled for early 2020.
AMERICA, AFRICA AND THE MIDDLE EAST
Paradisus Playa Mujeres – Mexico
On the coast of Cancun surrounded by spectacular beaches, the Paradisus Playa Mujeres will provide 498 rooms and a great choice of dining options and luxury services and facilities including a private marina. The opening of this hotel is scheduled for April 2019.
Meliá Internacional Varadero – Cuba
This seafront hotel will open in February and will have 946 rooms. It will also offer The Level and The Level Adults Only services, adapted to the needs of different types of guests. With 10 restaurants, 14 bars, a YHI Spa and a convention centre, it will become one of the best options in the country for both business and leisure trips.
Gran Meliá Arusha - Tanzania
The first Gran Meliá hotel in Africa is scheduled to open in May. This luxury hotel is located in the perfect place to start enjoying an African adventure. With 171 rooms the hotel will provide a swimming pool, different dining options (including a rooftop restaurant), spa, gym and almost 2,000m2 of facilities for events and meetings.
Meliá Saidia Residences - Morocco
This new hotel will be located in Saidia, an area of Morocco that has the largest beaches in the country. This resort hotel will offer the finest facilities, a wide range of dining options and an extensive activities programme. With opening scheduled for July, the Meliá Saidia Residences will offer 192 rooms.
ME Dubai - United Arab Emirates
Located in the Opus building designed by Zaha Hadid, the ME Dubai will become an icon of the Dubai skyline. Opening is scheduled for 2020 and the hotel will provide 153 rooms including 39 serviced apartments. This modern hotel will also include the renowned Japanese restaurant ROKA.
Meliá Shanghai Parkside - China
Located by the main entrance to Disneyland Shanghai, the Meliá Shanghai Parkside will provide 88 rooms and facilities to make it the perfect hotel for both leisure and business travellers. It will also have direct access to the Shanghai International Tourism and Resorts Zone. It is scheduled to open in March.
Gran Meliá Zhengzhou - China
This luxury hotel will be located in the business district of Zhengzhou and provide 388 rooms and suites as well as all the spaces and services required for meetings and events in addition to the luxury services and attributes characteristic of the brand. Its opening is scheduled for the end of 2019.
Meliá Ho Tram - Vietnam
Located on Ho Tram Beach, this hotel will be only two hours from Ho Chi Minh City, the financial capital of Vietnam. It will provide 152 rooms with stunning sea views and 69 villas. This hotel will also have great dining options and a YHI Spa. Its opening is scheduled for the first half of 2019.
Meliá Cam Ranh Bay – Vietnam
Located on the southeast coast of Vietnam, the hotel will offer 200 rooms and 100 villas with private infinity pools. It will also feature The Level service and a YHI Spa, exclusive to the brand. The opening of this hotel is scheduled for the end of 2019.
INNSIDE Kuala Lumpur – Malaysia
The hotel will be integrated into the Eko Cheras urban project, providing a sustainable approach in the capital of Malaysia that combines design with functionality, making it the perfect option for those who travel for work but wish to enjoy some leisure time. With 238 rooms, its opening is scheduled for the end of 2019.
Gran Meliá Huravee - Maldives
This luxury hotel will be the first for the company in the Maldives. It will provide 96 private villas, a wide range of dining options, spa and gym, as well as the luxury services characteristic of the Gran Meliá brand. Its opening is scheduled for 2020.
INNSIDE Saigon - Vietnam
The hotel is scheduled to open in mid-2019 and will have 72 rooms in a perfect location near the main attractions in Ho Chi Minh City. With minimalist decoration, it will be the perfect choice for both leisure and business travellers.
Meliá Bandung - Indonesia
Located in Dago, one of the most important areas in Bandung, the hotel will offer 254 rooms, a spa, infinity pool, a wide range of dining options and facilities for events and meetings. With stunning views of the city and architecture inspired by the Burangrang and Tangkupan Perahu mountains, this hotel will open in 2020.