Melia Hotels International hosted a select group of local media to a luncheon at Vancouver’s Hotel Georgia yesterday to celebrate the company’s 60th anniversary and share plans for expansion and innovation over the coming year.
“Melia, I think, is one of the best kept secrets in the hotel industry,” said Tony Cortizas, Melia's vice-president of global brand strategy. “People don’t really know that much about us. They know about one or two hotels, but they don’t really know much about the organization of the company.”
Cortizas then outlined the company’s ambitious expansion plans for 2016 that will see the launch of 25 new hotels in 15 different countries and the addition of more than 6,000 rooms to its portfolio by the end of the year. Through the end of 2017, the company will add a new Paradisus hotel, five new Grand Melia properties and seven new ME hotels in its luxury category and 25 Melia properties and 21 Innside hotels in its upscale category. Locations include Cabo San Lucas, Caracas, Thailand, Bali and the first five-star property in Iran with the opening of a Grand Melia property on the Caspian Sea.
Cortizas also touched on the challenges posed to the industry with the emergence of Airbnb around the world.
“The future of our industry is all about concepts and experiences that go far beyond accommodation and rooms,” he declared. He believes the opportunity lies in delivering experiences, memories and lifestyles to customers. “You become a part of how the customer is living and how they are choosing to experience their travel.”
Two brands – ME by Melia and Innside by Melia – embrace this philosophy. The brand for ME by Melia properties was designed before the first hotel was built, and delivers a personalized experience that connects to guest through art, design, great music, rooftop bars and hot restaurants.
Innside focuses on the “bleisure” millennial traveller without alienating the 50-something business traveller by offering an urban lifestyle experience. Properties aim to be the authority on their destination, developing city guides based on the amount of time guests have to explore (half hour, one hour, two hours) and neighbourhood info on the best coffee shops, restaurants and bars in the area.
In a post presentation interview, Cortizas noted the importance of travel agents.
“The truth is, we know the role of travel agents/agencies is still super important. We love them and we want their business and loyalty.”
Melia Pro is the company’s travel agent portal, which, along with a booking platform offers multiple levels of education and a unique, engaging training module, offers net rates and instant commissions along with exclusive travel agent discounts on travel all rates.
Asked for three selling points, Cortizas listed the great quality of what’s delivered for the price point; the company’s balance of concepts and brands “from millennial to GenX to Boomer”; and Melia’s range of offerings: “We’ve got the perfect winter beach vacation and we’ve got the perfect European trip,” he declared.
For more information visit meliahotelsinternational.com.