In this interview, we caught up with Steve Contos, senior v.p. – Caribbean & Luxury Portfolio Latin America, Marriott International, to talk Puerto Rico, Marriott’s millennial appeal and the company’s expansion plans.
Steve has been with Marriott International for over 30 years and formerly served as the area v.p. for Florida and New Orleans, where he managed a portfolio of full-service hotels. Contos oversees all properties and brands in the Caribbean and is responsible for directing the luxury portfolio for the Caribbean and Latin America, in partnership with respective geographic area vice presidents.
Melissa Bryant (MB): How should travel agents position Puerto Rico to their clients?
MB: What are some of the trends that you are seeing in leisure travel to the Caribbean (millennial boom, eco-tourism on the rise, demand for new wellness offerings, etc.) and what specific Marriott properties cater to those travelers?
Our properties are very creative in crafting unique experiences for our guests. The Ritz-Carlton in San Juan, for example, repurposed an old storage room in the back of house as a space for speakeasy-style events. Guests walk through behind-the-scenes hallways to arrive at a secret entrance, using a password communicated via one of the hotel’s social media channels to get in. San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino often organizes a “Guavate in San Juan”—a whole roast pork experience—that draws inspiration from the “lechoneras” in Guavate, where a mile-long stretch of lechon hotspots on Route 184, also known as “The Pork Highway,” is frequented by locals on the weekend.
- With 44 hotels in the Caribbean, Marriott offers a wide variety of brands and destinations for international travelers.
- At the beginning of this year, the Sheraton Old San Juan completed a significant renovation, updating its common spaces, all 240 rooms and adding an all-new rooftop pool.
- We expect to continue to grow our portfolio in Puerto Rico with the addition of the Aloft San Juan and the Aloft Ponce in 2018.
- Finally, Marriott’s luxury portfolio across the islands includes four of our eight world-renowned luxury brands—St. Regis, The Ritz-Carlton, W Hotels and JW Marriott.
For more information, visit marriott.com.