The implementation of the new brand architecture is having an immediate effect on the chain’s expansion

17 January 2017. 2016 has been a good year for the Barceló Group. This is evident by the 12 new hotels and 1,932 rooms that have been added to the chain throughout the year. Some are located in new countries such as Panama and El Salvador; at city destinations such as Querétaro (Mexico); and locations that have already been consolidated by the Majorcan group, such as Prague (Czech Republic), Istanbul (Turkey), Madrid, Fuerteventura, Lanzarote and Bilbao. The Group now has three hotels in Granada, where it previously did not have a presence, allowing it to meet one of the top expansion goals aimed at opening establishments in the nation’s main province capitals.

Hotels added by the Barceló Hotel Group in 2016:

Barceló Emperatriz Madrid, Spain 146 rooms
Occidental Praha Wilson Prague, Czech Republic 53 rooms
Occidental Panamá City Panamá 143 rooms
Occidental The Public Estambul, Turkey 52 rooms
Occidental Lanzarote Playa Lanzarote, Canary Islands 372 rooms
Barceló San Salvador El Salvador 204 rooms
Barceló Corralejo Sands Fuerteventura, Canary Islands 156 rooms
Occidental Querétaro Querétaro, Mexico 90 rooms
Barceló Granada Congress Granada, Spain 253 rooms
Occidental Granada Granada, Spain 141 rooms
Allegro Granada Granada, Spain 122 rooms
Occidental Bilbao Bilbao, Spain 200 rooms
Total:  12 hotels 1.932 romos

According to Raúl González, CEO of EMEA at the Barceló Hotel Group, “In 2016 we were able to reactivate our expansion with a figure close to that of the years before the crisis, and further growth is expected this year.” Aside from the economic recovery, the reason has also been linked to “the ability to strengthen our role as managers, which has improved since we transferred the ownership of certain properties in 2015 so as to join Spain’s first hotel real estate investment trust.”

He added that “implementing our new brand architecture has played a major role. Having four well-differentiated brands allows us to open new hotels at destinations where we were already present, integrate hotels from small chains such as MA of Granada to launch products with different marketing strategies, and add destinations such as Panama and El Salvador in order to expand the reach of our portfolio to a total of 20 countries.”

2016: Another year with record statistics:

Everything seems to indicate that 2016 will be another year with extraordinary results. Although the definitive numbers are still pending, the Group’s provisional data hints at total revenue of €2.379 billion and EBITDA of €330 million, for gains of 15% and 9% over 2015, respectively.
According to Raúl González, “The improvement is primarily due to the increase in the average daily room rate, which is 9% higher than in 2015 and has resulted in an 8% increment in the average revenue per available room. These upward trends have been the logical result of our significant investments in renovations, the economic recovery and the fact that Spain has once again maintained its status as a safe haven due to the continued instability of many Mediterranean nations. The positive results of the Travel Division have also made major contributions to the Barceló Group’s bottom line.”

Another important aspect worth highlighting, he concludes, is that “despite the chain’s growth and the group’s property expansion with the purchase of the new hotel in El Salvador, we have lowered our net financial debt by 5%, which means that the Barceló Hotel Group has a healthy balance sheet.”

2017: New establishment in China and improved brand standards

The Barceló Hotel Group has defined two challenges for 2017. Firstly, it aims to continue expanding the chain in Spain’s major province capitals, in the most important European cities and in Latin American city destinations (especially Mexico). It also plans to open a new establishment in China, which is increasingly closer to becoming a reality thanks to the agreement signed in 2016 with the Chinese giant Plateno.

The second major goal for 2017 is to improve the standards of the four new brands that have been added so guests may enjoy uniquely different and highly segmented experiences.

As Raúl González points out, “Royal Hideaway hotels will be our ‘Luxury’ establishments that are in line with the ‘Leading Hotels of the World’; Barceló hotels will boost their quality and convey their ability to surprise and excite guests with unique experiences; Occidental will also improve its standards to make things easier for customers; and Allegro will be positioned as cheerful and dynamic hotels with an array of activities that are perfect for families.” “The definition and implementation of the new standards and brands, which are already being applied at certain Latin American destinations and European hotels, will be completed during the first half of 2017,” he concludes.

Another aspect worth highlighting is the hotel chain’s efforts towards repositioning its products. The Group has spent more than €100 million annually in recent years and also attempted to further integrate the Spanish hotel industry, which is fragmented and therefore does not stand out in international rankings with the strength it deserves.