New Grupo Posadas Chief Positions Company for Meteoric Growth
Under the leadership of its new director general and CEO, Grupo Posadas is poised for meteoric growth, with plans to expand its current portfolio of 132 properties to 300 by 2020. “We plan to more than double our number of hotels in the next five years – that’s the growth we’re looking for,” said Enrique Calderon, who assumed the top spot at Posadas earlier this year.
Calderon, who formerly served as the company’s commercial director, is confident that the company will achieve that lofty goal for a variety of reasons. For starters, he noted that investors are attracted to the company’s highly successful operations model, which offers a solid return on investment. “We have several very happy investors who are looking to open more hotels with us,” he said, adding that the company is also attracting a number of new investors looking to diversify their portfolios.
Calderon and his team are also in the process of implementing a series of brand-enhancing initiatives, one of the most notable being a relaunch of the Fiesta Americana and Fiesta Americana Grand brands with, among other things, larger guestrooms featuring cutting-edge technology and connectivity, large smart TVs, along with more efficient and modern décor.
A spacious, ultra-modern lobby will serve as the heart of each property. The lobbies will be transformed into communal hubs for both work and play, with different areas serving different purposes during different times of the day.
The first property to unveil the new brand concept will be the Fiesta Americana opening in Puebla by year’s end, Calderon said, followed by three more Fiesta Americana hotels in Monterrey, Oaxaca and Mexico City.
“The entire portfolio of Fiesta Americanas, including both new and existing hotels, will be reconfigured and rebranded with the same concept,” said Calderon. In the near term, the Fiesta Americanas in Guadalajara and Merida are expected to be retrofitted by year’s end, he said.
The Grand Fiesta Americana Puerto Vallarta, meanwhile, which is scheduled to open in late summer as the brand’s first adults-only property, is ushering in another new concept for the company. “It’s going to be great. It’s going to feature a lot of music, fun and joy,” said Calderon. “And we’re going to have the best meeting space in Puerto Vallarta.”
Under Calderon’s leadership, Grupo Posadas will also expand the reach of its business-class Fiesta Inn brand with the creation of two sub brands: Fiesta Americana Loft for extended-stay travelers, and Fiesta Inn Express for limited stays.
The Fiesta Americana Loft brand will feature extremely spacious guestrooms with generously sized work and dining areas, along with all the amenities that business travelers require while on the road. The hotels will feature sizeable lobbies that serve as common areas, fitness facilities and pools.
“The concept will also include breakfast every day,” said Calderon, “along with other dining options including room service and lunch in the lobby.”
Fiesta Inn Express properties will be similar in style, but with fewer services and amenities, Calderon said.
Live Aqua, meanwhile, Grupo Posadas’ adults-only lifestyle brand, will grow to include five more properties over the next several years.
Calderon said Grupo Posadas also has plans to open a third Explorean in Tulum in the summer of 2016. “Tulum is hot, hot, hot right now,” he noted, adding that the brand’s soft adventure concept is ideally suited for the hip, trendy clientele currently flocking to the destination in droves. “I just saw the renderings for the property, and it’s going to be fantastic,” Calderon said. “Its location is ideal, with a setting straddling both the ocean and downtown Tulum.”
Posadas recently opened its second Explorean adjacent to the new Fiesta Americana in Cozumel, and Calderon said the property is meeting with rave reviews. “It’s been very successful so far,” he said. Another Explorean is set on the border of Belize near the very important Kohunlich Ruins.
To ensure the highest levels of guest satisfaction, Grupo Posadas is in the midst of rolling out its AMA program, which is designed to provide service extras that go far beyond what travelers have come expect in resort vacations. “Attitude, magic and action – those are the three basic principals that define the AMA concept,” said Calderon. “Through the program, our hotel employees create magical experiences for our guests.”
The program, which has already been instituted in all Fiesta Americana properties, will be implemented throughout the company’s other brands by the end of the year.
“The AMA program can really make the difference as to whether guests stay with us or one of our competitors,” Calderon said. “Let’s say a couple is going on vacation and the man plans to propose marriage. The hotel staff will work with him to create a lot of magic around that proposal to ensure that it’s the one of the best moments in that couple’s history.”
Or, if a multi-generational family group is celebrating a special occasion, say a milestone birthday for one of the grandparents, hotel staff will create a customized dinner for the group commemorating the event, along with signage welcoming the group to the property. “We’ll work with whomever is organizing the family group to make their entire stay really special,” said Calderon, adding that AMA extras are completely personalized and based on each guest’s very personal set of needs.
Calderon noted that the program is already reaping rich rewards. “It’s taking our resorts to the top 10 on Trip Advisor, and that’s very powerful.”
Posadas also continues to reap rich rewards from its partnership with travel agents, Calderon said, adding that the company will work with agents to mutually create AMA amenities and events for clients. “We’ll be connecting travel agents to hotel operations in order to create magic for our guests,” he said.
In other agent news, Grupo Posadas will launch its agent booking portal by the end of April. It will provide the retail community with a one-stop shopping experience, providing them with everything they need to sell the company’s brands, including incentives, educational programs, and sales and marketing tools.
Calderon said its Fiesta Americana University for Travel Agents at www.fiestamericanaexpert.com, which equips agents with critical information on how to sell the company’s resorts, is meeting with a great deal of success. “We’ve found it’s a great communication channel,” he said. “We’re making it even more robust and adding three more chapters this year.”
Agents can also learn about the company’s highly successful – and lucrative – cash incentive on the new agent portal as well as the Fiesta Americana University for Travel Agents.
The three-year-old program awards agents $50 for each FIT booking of four to six nights and $100 for each booking of seven or more nights. Participating brands include Fiesta Americana, Grand Fiesta Americana, Live Aqua and Explorean, and also include bookings made through tour operators. To participate, agents must register at www.agentscashincentive.com.
“The cash incentive program was created specifically for our agency community, which we view as an extension of our sales,” said Rodrigo Formoso, national account manager at Posadas.
Best of all, agents don’t have to wait endlessly to receive their incentive checks. “We send agents their incentives 30 days after they report the bookings – not 30 days after the guests depart,” said Formoso. “For example, if a travel agent makes a booking for Thanksgiving of 2015 and they report it in March, they’ll receive their check in April -- instead of having to wait for the clients’ departure to receive their bonuses.”
In another move to recognize agents, each year since the program’s inception Posadas has identified the top 50 producers in the cash incentive program for that year. Those agents receive personal visits from company executives, who present them with handcrafted awards that recognize their achievements.
That kind of special treatment comes as no surprise to agents who work with the company, though. “Travel agents have always been, and always will be, our top priority,” said Calderon. “They are very, very important to us, and have been for years.”
More by Claudette Covey
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