Carlos Diez de la Lastra, CEO of Les Roches Marbella, participated recently in the `Gran Debate Hotelero’, a hotel industry discussion featuring a panel of leading professionals on the Costa del Sol and hosted by Grupo Vía. The event, held at Andalucia Lab, focused on the challenges for the future of tourism with an eye on 2020 and the growing marketing trends aimed at the MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, Events) sector.
This first edition of the Gran Debate Hotelero analyzed an array of issues such as repositioning the Marbella brand to the international tourism market, the role of hoteliers and the government in reviving local tourism, implementing future strategies, and evolving expectations of today’s luxury travelers. The panel also discussed developing global trends in hospitality and tourism marketing that has been made possible thanks to the growth of social media and other online resources.
Speaking during the debate, Carlos Diez de la Lastra said the transformation process can be observed in the marketplace, where notable changes are taking place in order to adapt to a new generation of consumers known as “millennials”. This new generations of tourists displays behavioral patterns that are starkly different from those of previous generations. In his view, “the traditional role of intermediaries in providing the market with choices of hotels and hospitality related services do not tend to disappear, but instead they tend to be replaced by large technology services that are designed to accommodate this new generation of traveler. It should be noted that we have a new type of customer, the millennial, whose satisfaction is openly shared with others and whose influence has a far greater impact on the reputation of hotels than the traditional guest.”
He outlined the impact the millenials are already having on some of the new information technologies and communications abilities that provide a straightforward applicability to the sector, including everything related to the context of Big Data, the active use of web 2.0 tools, and social media networks. He stressed the need for the hotel industry to make themselves available to this new generation and to adapt to the fast growing technological infrastructure that plays an important role in guest satisfaction (WIFI, high bandwidth connections, adaptability of mobile devices, electronic check-in services, etc.) of consumer technology infrastructure that allows them to feel at home. From his point of view, “in a context of this nature, the innovation we are witnessing in Google’s Carousel platform is particularly relevant as it gives users detailed information related to local businesses. The results are accompanied by not only images but also reviews and comments extracted from conversations on Google+. This growing service provides greater visibility and marketing opportunities, but at the same time, we must also be alert to the possible repercussions posed by the innovation of Big Data. Without properly trained managers, Big Data goes from being an opportunity to being a problem.”
Carlos Diez de la Lastra concluded his remarks by stating that “in an industry as complex as hospitality and tourism, proper training is invaluable to ensure success. It is increasingly necessary to train professionals at the highest level, knowing with full conviction that the market will demand knowledge and creativity over the coming decades due to the excellent growth prospects internationally and nationally. Moreover, the approach of local cross alliances within the MICE sector and hotels will ensure a healthier and more diverse market that is able to compete with other destinations that offer similar amenities, sun, and beach”.