Posadas, the largest hotel operator in Mexico, has its eyes set on the future. The Group currently has 180 properties under seven brands in its portfolio, including Live Aqua, Grand Fiesta Americana, Fiesta Americana, The Explorean, Fiesta Inn, Gamma, and One, with five more brand concepts to come over the next few years. Posadas is also making major investments in technology and marketing to strengthen guest loyalty, as well as focusing on its research efforts to understand the wants and needs of its customers. SkiftX spoke to Enrique Calderón, Posadas’ chief operations officer, to learn more.
SkiftX: How is Posadas investigating what guests will want from a hospitality experience in the future to become more customer-centric? What research is being done before you create a strategy?
Enrique Calderón: At Posadas, we’ve implemented various research methodologies to identify the emerging generational and consumption dynamics encompassing the hospitality industry and other related industries. Our goal is to define necessary changes in our business and then test them in our innovation laboratory to remain relevant in the following years. In other words, we map social movements and habits to identify how we can cater to new consumer wants and needs.
SkiftX: Can you talk about the strategy behind this?
Calderón: With the intention to better understand our customers, we have carefully developed our custom online research panel — our most effective tool to reliably reach our customers via surveys, focus groups, and online communities. Our online panel allows us to tap into our customers’ behaviors and preferences to quickly and accurately find the answers to our research questions. This includes concept tests, customer satisfaction and engagement, product design, and more. This rich consumer data, combined with customer transactional data, provides many more insights that complement our offering.
SkiftX: Can you give an example of how guest feedback has led to tangible changes?
Calderón: We identified that many of our guests’ needs are tech-related, so we selected specific processes that have to be implemented as seamlessly as possible. Today, our top company projects are centered around developing and implementing “phygital” experiences — those that are physical and digital, or online and offline experiences — as fast as possible for our guests. This means that our customers will soon enjoy digital innovations throughout their journey in our hotels including digital greetings and check ins, automated in-room elements, vast options to enjoy personal streaming platforms via smart TVs, and many other personalized services. We have begun these implementations in our signature hotels under the Fiesta Americana brand and One Hotels in our economy segment. By the end of 2020, these “phygital” implementations will be a reality in all our seven brands.
SkiftX: How do you research and determine new niche audience markets?
Calderón: We combined offline research, such as in-depth interviews and multi-site ethnographies, with digital studies, such as digital tribe recognition, social media profiles, and discourse analysis. We are using digital anthropology as a powerful research tool to give context and human sense to big data, coupled with analysis of the new market trends.
SkiftX: Posadas is in the midst of developing five new brand concepts. What can you tell us about these? What were the inspirations behind them?
Calderón: This is a very exciting time for us. Yes, we’re currently working on five different concepts, including a collection of author-crafted hotels, an upper-midscale freestyle brand, and a hotel line inspired by immersive life celebrations. We’re also tapping into the cruise industry by developing a multigenerational entertainment brand.
SkiftX: Marriott is slated to open five new branded luxury resorts in Mexico and the Dominican Republic between 2022 and 2025. How will Posadas remain competitive in the market?
Calderón: We announced our first property in the Dominican Republic — Live Aqua Beach Resort in Punta Cana — as part of our La Colección Resorts brand earlier this year. This new five-star, adults-only property lifestyle resort will open its doors in spring 2020. We are very excited to launch Live Aqua and offer a new experience for the millions of visitors the island welcomes every year.
In addition, we are developing Grand Fiesta Americana Punta Cana Los Corales All Inclusive, with 558 rooms and that will open its doors in the next year. In Mexico, which is our main market, we are developing a new brand of boutique hotels under the five-star category, as well as one under a whole new category named Love Celebration. Finally, we’re very excited for our next hotel developments, Live Aqua Beach Resort Playa Mujeres and Live Aqua Beach Resort Tulkal, both in the Mayan riviera, as well as Live Aqua Boutique Resort Valle de Guadalupe, with 60 new luxurious rooms in Ensenada, Baja California.
SkiftX: Posadas is constantly updating its other legacy brands. Can you tell us more about this?
Calderón: Our main goal is to provide all the available tech innovations to improve our guests’ stays. Today, our flagship Fiesta Americana and One Hotels have kiosks to allow busy guests to self-check-in, making us the first hotel brand in Mexico to implement such technology. Throughout 2019, we’ve also focused on reinforcing our strategic mindset to rebrand our signature midscale brand, Fiesta Inn. Our Business Class category has evolved as well, and we’ll welcome three brand-new hotels with fresh concepts in 2020.
SkiftX: The company is investing in its technologies within the properties to make experiences more personalized, including digital check-ins, mobile app integration, and high-tech wearable wristbands. What was the thinking behind this?
Calderón: The idea here is to cater the perfect experience for our on-the-go guests while gathering data about our travelers to continue to personalize future experiences and make their business or pleasure travels unique and easy to manage. Part of this technological proposal is our soon-to-be-released Fiesta Rewards official app, which will integrate interesting options to the partners of our loyalty program. Customer centricity is our key asset here, which generates an exclusive value to our guest. We are committed to our customers who are evolving with technology, as we do so as well.