WHY IT RATES: After a robust 2018, Iberostar is poised for further growth this year. —Janeen Christoff, TravelPulse Senior Writer
Last year proved crucial in the consolidation of Iberostar’s positioning strategy, with the hotel chain making major progress in this area. Iberostar Group’s turnover for 2018 surpassed 3 billion dollars, a 9 percent increase compared to 2017. The company also created 4,000 new jobs around the world. This increase came in addition to the hotel division’s excellent performance and double-figure growth of its travel businesses.
Iberostar Group is also moving forward with its ‘Wave of Change’ movement, with significant milestone achievements in all three of its key areas of action: reducing plastic consumption; promoting responsible consumption of seafood; and improving coastal health. The ‘Wave of Change’ movement has positioned Iberostar as a leader in the industry of responsible tourism thanks to its ambitious sustainable management strategies.
2019: Continue International Expansion
Following the opening of 13 hotels in 2018, Iberostar looks forward to adding seven new properties in Spain (Majorca and Madrid), Portugal (Lagos), Italy (Rome), Tunisia (Monastir and Sousse) and Turkey (Istanbul). The hotel chain will include 1,500 rooms in three new destinations to a portfolio that could expand over the course of 2019. This year will also be crucial for the consolidation of operations currently underway in Los Cabos and Litibu (Mexico) and advancements in other destinations such as Montenegro, Aruba, Albania and Cuba.
With quality and innovation as the basis for its value proposal, Iberostar Group remains firmly committed to its ambitious plans to reposition and expand its hotel portfolio. In recent years, the company has invested more than 570 million dollars and will continue until 2022 with further investments already allocated to Europe and the Americas. As a result of these major investment efforts, all of the chain’s hotels are now in the 4- and 5-star categories and over 70 percent of them have been recently renovated.
Innovation and Digitalization
Focused on guest satisfaction, the Group has paid significant attention to product and service innovation, as well as technological development. Throughout 2019, the company will continue to invest in improving and extending its range of services, creating innovative concepts in gastronomy, personal care and wellness through its Fit&Fun program, developing its Star Prestige premium services and providing superior entertainment options for its younger guests through Iberostar’s new Star Camp program, which combines fun and recreation with value-based learning.
The company will also continue its policy of digitalization as a means of optimizing guests’ experiences with tools such as My Room Online, in which customers can view 360º images during the booking process to select their room; the mobile app, a direct customer communication channel; and the online check-in system.
A Benchmark for Responsible Tourism: The ‘Wave of Change’ Movement
Launched in 2017 to play an active role in defining a more responsible tourism model, the ‘Wave of Change’ movement continued to move forward in 2018 in all three key areas: reducing plastic consumption, promoting responsible consumption of seafood, and improving coastal health. The Group has also proposed a series of new sustainable goals for 2019.
Single-use plastics: In 2018, Iberostar Group was:
—The first hotel chain to eliminate all single-use plastics from its hotel rooms in Spain and its corporate headquarter offices in Mallorca. With this initiative, Iberostar has effectively reduced plastic consumption by 300 tons a year and has replaced 11.7 million items made of single-use plastics with natural or biodegradable alternatives. The chain has also installed more than 50,000 post-consumer dispensers containing top quality BIO cosmetics.
—A pioneer in replacing the traditional polyester used for its uniforms with a material made entirely from recycled plastic. With these new uniforms, the company is contributing to the removal of around 470,000 plastic bottles from the oceans and landfills, as well as eliminating the use of 28,000 meters of the traditional, more contaminating polyester.
—The driver for a compost plant at one of its hotels in Spain to produce garden fertilizer.
In 2019, the chain will eliminate single-use plastics from the rooms of its entire hotel portfolio, and by 2020, it will have also been completely removed these items from all areas of its hotels.
Responsible consumption of seafood: In 2018, Iberostar Group:
—Redesigned its restaurant menus, eliminating the most sensitive species and promoting the use of local and seasonal fish.
—Was the first hotel chain in southern Europe to be awarded the MSC Chain of Custody certificate.
—Set up programs for ongoing employee training and guest communication actions in order to promote responsible consumption.
In 2019, the company will receive guidance from NGOs to assess the risks, responsibility and sustainability of its procurement policy. The objective is to include products on its menus that will not harm species’ evolution, their living conditions or longevity. The chain will also explore new ways of ensuring the responsible consumption of local fish.
Coastal health: In 2018, Iberostar Group:
—Embarked on a coral reef research project and created its first coral breeding ground in the Dominican Republic.
—Set up the Iberostar del Mar Chair to promote research on marine ecology in collaboration with the University of the Balearic Islands (UIB).
In 2019, the company plans to create a second coral breeding ground in the Caribbean and launch a project for the restoration of mangroves in the Dominican Republic. Iberostar will also promote an educational awareness program and grant 10 scholarships to encourage the creation of new research teams.
As Iberostar expands its offerings around the word, the hotel chain also continues its awareness-raising initiatives, like Star Camp, beach and sea clean-up activities and other leisure programs for all its guests, employees and stakeholders.
SOURCE: Iberostar press release.
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