HomeHotelAlegria Hotels plans to add up to seven hotels in 2024

Alegria Hotels plans to add up to seven hotels in 2024

“I hope more seasons like 2023 are repeated, because at the occupancy and RevPAR level it has gone really well. Apparently, 2024 is going the same way,” he told HOSTELTUR. Joan Pascual, president of Alegria Hotels. The hotel chain began the year with two new establishments, to which another five that are in the negotiation or development phase could be added. Although there is optimism, because sales are 60% above last year, the big problem continues to be the lack of employees.

More sales and good prices

What forecasts do you have for 2024?

2023 has been a good tourist season, in terms of occupations, and RevPAR has gone really well. There was a very buoyant market, at the last minute, and a price increase of between 8 and 10% per person has been managed, in some areas. It is true that this income has not gone directly to profits, because costs have increased, but we are very happy with the result of the year. The only problem, which is common to all employers, is that of the workers.

The projection for 2024 is along the same lines. Right now, if we compare with the previous year, we have sales almost 60% above 2023. It is going very well and at the desired prices. But we are also a little scared with the cost increases, especially the labor agreement negotiations

How has 2023 been in terms of personnel?

The issue is very difficult due to lack of workers, lack of professionalism and lack of involvement in companies. This has been the negative part of 2023. It is sad to recognize that there is no implication and that The new generations are not interested in the topic of tourism and services in general. It will be a great challenge to incorporate young generations and make them see that tourism works well. We have many agreements with hospitality schools, national and international, and the truth is that before there was more interest.

Has the staff shortage altered the company’s operations?

Yes, in some destinations where we have significant capacity, such as Lloret de Mar, we were forced to suspend a series of services, such as stopping providing full board or all-inclusive in some hotels. Due to lack of staff, especially in the kitchen, we try to market them with half board or room and breakfast. It was a tough problem.

It is worth saying that, in the end, as there was a significant strong demand, we earned practically the same amount by providing fewer services. So the result was good, but it was difficult. This problem arises for us this year, and we have already decided that, in some hotels, we will only sell them with half board.

Does the lack of housing also make it difficult to hire in destinations on the peninsula?

Yes, it is a problem. We solved it by renting apartments for staff, and in Lloret de Mar we took a hotel with 74 rooms that we used exclusively for staff who came from outside the area. This has helped us a lot to solve the problem, but it is a reality.

Joan Pascual, president of Alegria Hotels, at the Hosteltur stand during Fitur 2024. Source: Hosteltur.

Expansion and reforms

After a positive year like 2023, what expansion plans does the company have?

Last year we opened three new hotels, two in Andorra and one in Costa Brava. This year we have already opened one in Costa de Barcelona and another in Almería (Alegria Florida Park of 352 rooms and Alegria Fenix ​​Family of 200 rooms, respectively). We are going to open one or two hotels on the Costa Dorada, depending on whether they are completed, and we are about to close another one in the Costa Brava area. Also on the Costa del Sol we are closing two new hotels and there are other issues under negotiation.

What model are they growing with?

In management, and in some cases we enter the property. Of the 22 hotels we have, we own nine of them, with a majority or a participation. Every year we are reinvesting the profit in Capex or purchasing assets. If there is a well-located hotel and the price is good, we enter the property and sometimes look for partners. That is our model.

What does the choice of destinations depend on when opening a new hotel?

Our specialization until now had been vacation tourism, without limit of areas, from the Balearic Islands, the Canary Islands, the entire national coast. Really what we are looking for are opportunities, well-located hotels to reposition them, and there we participate in the investment. We have begun to enter city tourism, we opened a hotel in Puerto de Santa María. Now we are in two Spanish cities and we are studying two other hotels because we want to enter the urban area.

Beyond the new openings, what repositioning plans do you have planned for this year?

In all hotels, we reinvest an important share of the result, of EBITDA, in Capex. That is now common practice. There is a great commitment, on the part of the entire business community, to work well, have the hotels renovated, provide good services and comply with all ecological requirements. We understand that the model goes there.

The market may be more demanding, it will pay more or pay less, but as long as you do not have an establishment that is not updated, your only way out will be to lower prices, but for us it is not the way out.

Does Alegria Hotels have a sustainability program?

We have a specific program and we are implementing it at the rate we can in all hotels. Last year we put electric panels in 13 of the 22 hotels, we are eliminating plastics, we worked on garbage collection and water consumption. There are hotels that are 20 or 30 years old and to update them you need an investment for two or three years, but we are totally committed to going in this direction.

What assessment do you make of the issuing markets?

In the Catalonia area our great strength is the international market and in Andalusia the national market predominates. Everyone has behaved very well. The French market has increased, the Belgian, Central European, Dutch and British markets worked very well. Yes, we do miss, especially in the Catalonia area, the Russian and Ukrainian market, for obvious reasons, because they occupied a significant percentage of rooms.

There is a lot of talk about the growing interest of the American market in Spanish destinations, do you perceive it in your hotels?

The hotel industry in Barcelona is very full and as we are in coastal areas and close to Barcelona we are a refuge for clients who cannot fit there. There are seasons of 1,000 or 1,500 Americans and Canadians per week, whose hub is our area, especially in February, March, April, pre- and post-season. They are staying about 40 kilometers from the Catalan capital because they have a train every 20 minutes and in one hour they are in Plaza de Cataluña, one day they take an excursion to Barcelona, ​​another day they go to Andorra, another day they go to Costa Brava, and It’s working very, very well.

Source: Hosteltur

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