We caught up with Juan Perez Sosa, senior v.p. of sales and marketing, USA for Barcelo Hotels & Resorts, to ask about the growth of Barcelo and the company’s long-term strategy.
“Barcelo Hotels & Resorts is committed to continuing to grow the brand while still providing a high-level of service,” says Perez Sosa. “The acquisition [in mid-2015 Barcelo Corporacion Empresarial acquired Occidental Hotels & Resorts] allows us to gain a greater foothold in several countries in Latin America, while also introducing new destinations to our portfolio.” In fact, Barcelo’s acquisition of Occidental added 11 hotels throughout Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, and Aruba, plus two properties in Colombia and Haiti, to the Barcelo portfolio.
We know that with acquisitions come changes, so we asked Perez Sosa to break down what changes will be trickling down for the brand in the coming months. According to Perez Sosa, teams from both brands are working closely on integration opportunities, which they plan to begin rolling out later this year. “We’re examining everything from how our guests reserve stays, and all of the back-end technology that supports our customer service, to the loyalty programs in place for both consumers and travel agents,” he points out. Adding that, “We’re being very careful to make sure we choose the best parts of all of the brands involved to deliver to the world; and that all of our systems and processes are fully dialed before we make any changes.”
One change that will be taking place is that many of the properties joining the Barcelo umbrella from Occidental will be receiving upgrades to meet the brand’s standards; this means a total investment of more than $100 million. The properties getting a makeover include Occidental Grand Punta Cana and Occidental El Embajador in the Dominican Republic; Occidental Grand Xcaret, Allegro Playacar, Allegro Cozumel, Occidental Grand Nuevo Vallarta, Occidental Grand Cozumel, and Royal Hideaway Playacar in Mexico; Occidental Grand Aruba; and Occidental Grand Papagayo in Costa Rica. In addition, some of the properties will also have name changes, but that won’t take place until all of the renovations are complete.
But those Occidental properties aren’t the only “new” properties in the pipeline for the brand. For instance, the brand is going to start the operation of a hotel in Panama City within the next few weeks (as of press time, the exact name of the property was not made available). Perez Sosa says, “Barcelo Hotels & Resorts is always evaluating new growth opportunities in emerging destinations.” Plus, he adds, “We are obviously looking for more and new opportunities either on city hotels or beachfront locations.”
Agents, you might be wondering what this new brand acquisition means for you. For starters, Occidental is now part of all the loyalty programs and tools that Barcelo Hotels & Resorts has to offer. These include Barcelo Partner Club, where agents can earn perks for free stays; online classes to become a Barcelo Specialist; and CASH incentives, which allow agents to earn cash to add to their account with each booking. “Our tools and these platforms are very successful and much appreciated for all the travel agents in the USA,” notes Perez Sosa.
Barcelo Hotels & Resorts: barcelo.com