Prevue September-October 2017 - 15
Bespoke Is Big Business
Barcelo & Melia up the ante on investment and group experiences
is a key focus for Barcelo Hotel Group and
we're now able to offer a more diverse range
of distinctive meetings experiences through
our four hotel and resort brands."
Melia Hotels & Resorts
Occidental at Xcaret Destination riverboat ride
reating memorable experiences
tailored to the needs of attendees
is more than just a trend, and
Barcelo Hotel Group and Melia Hotels &
Resorts have made significant investments
in brand restructures that will deliver even
more options to planners.
Barcelo Hotel Group
A complete restructuring not only gave
Barcelo an increased footprint in Latin
America, but introduced three new brands
to its collection: Royal Hideaway Luxury
Hotels & Resorts, Occidental Hotels &
Resorts and Allegro Hotels. The revamp
also included an investment of $120 million
in renovations, mostly to the properties that
were previously a part of the Occidental
Hotels & Resorts chain. One of the most
noteworthy renovations happened at the
iconic El Embajador, a Royal Hideaway
Hotel in Santo Domingo, Dominican
Republic. The hotel was once a hot spot for
actors and celebrities, and the renovation
will return it to its former glory.
"With this new strategy, we offer a
more tailored experience at each of our
resorts, along with a higher level of service,"
says Juan Perez, senior VP of sales and
marketing for Barcelo Hotel Group. "The
14 | prevuemeetings.com
depth of choices now available to meeting
planners has grown exponentially."
Cultural activities abound at Barcelo's
properties. Traditional bachata dance
lessons and trips to local rum and cigar
factories happen at the Barcelo Bavaro
Attendees at the Occidental
at Xcaret Destination can enjoy
complimentary trajinera (riverboat) rides
to the adjacent eco-archeological Xcaret
Park. Set within an ecological preserve,
there are also authentic Mayan ruins on-site,
and groups can partake in a Mayan sunset
ceremony every evening.
At the Barcelo Maya Grand Resort,
Spanish language classes and Mayan coffee
demonstrations are on the agenda, and
attendees receive a rare bottle of Xtabentun
(a locally made anise liqueur) in their rooms.
"Experiential tourism is not necessarily
a new trend, but it is one that continues to
shape the meetings industry," says Perez.
"Creating meaningful, memorable experiences
On Palma, Spain's, Paseo Maritimo
seafront, the new Palau de Congressos
de Palma (convention center) and its
adjoining hotel, the 268-room Melia Palma
Bay, opened this year. The hotel boasts a
rooftop terrace and swimming pool, facilities
for wellness and an exclusive service called
The Level, with 53 rooms and a VIP lounge.
"The latest MICE trends we're seeing
are all about technology, adding state-ofthe-art equipment into our meeting space
and creating large white walls that can be
used for video mapping," says John Iannini,
VP of meetings and events, America,
at Melia Hotels International. "Our new
interactive group sales space in Paradisus
Los Cabos allows attendees to experience
an interactive resort map that 'throws'
images onto a 70" screen for virtual viewing
before their actual site visit."
The Gran Melia Puerto Rico will soon
rebrand as the Melia Coco Beach and
undergo extensive renovations, including
a F&B revamp and refurbished convention
center with state-of-the-art technology. The
property will also upgrade 120 of its rooms
to The Level, including a private lounge and
six pool garden villas.
"The resort is their oyster. Groups can
work in and customize any space on the
property for their needs," says Iannini. "We
have also had a high success rate with
group buyouts of resorts in the Caribbean."
"Our new strategy offers a more tailored
experience at each of our resorts, along
with a higher level of service."