Travel agents witnessed the ‘Evolution’ of Barcelo Hotel Group this week, as the hotel chain wrapped up its 2016 events last night in Pickering.
Front and centre during the presentations were Barcelo’s four new brands – namely Royal Hideaway, Barcelo, Occidental and Allegro – the result of the chain’s 2015 purchase of Occidental Hotels & Resorts, which has seen a $150 million investment across the newly-acquired properties.
Rick McCauley, Barcelo’s senior director of sales & marketing and MICE – Canada, told PAX that the four brands will cater to different clients and levels of service, maintaining the recognizable Occidental name while differentiating the brands by concept.
“We decided to keep the brands (of Occidental) and we’re going to differentiate our products in the marketplace and try to focus on the main destinations which we deal with,” he said. “The common denominator will be service; no matter what your budget, service is going to be equal across the brands.”
All of the acquired properties from Occidental are being updated, McCauley said, with all of the hotels on schedule to reopen between mid-November and mid-December.
Detailing a strategy of “multi-branding and more hotels,” McCauley said that each of the company’s markets will see a property under the Barcelo brand, with all four brands represented in major resort destinations and at least two brands in smaller markets.
In addition, the company is also actively engaging various niche sectors, including golf, scuba, destination weddings, nature, city experiences and MICE, the latter of which will be overseen by Brad Richards, who was recently-appointed Barcelo’s regional director of sales for that particular market segment.
McCauley said that this winter, Barcelo is engaging travel agents to sell its upgraded room categories, including the Royal Level and Premium Level at properties within the Hideaway and Barcelo brands respectively.
“The travel agent selling these is going to get more commission and there’s a market out there for that higher-ticket item,” he said.
And with the Toronto area seeing its first dusting of snow this week, McCauley told PAX that bookings for the coming winter season are strong.
“We’re seeing a good trend,” he said. “The bookings are coming back and in most cases we’re ahead of last year.”
Barcelo’s four brands at a glance
Royal Hideaway – The Art of Fine Moments: jokingly dubbed “service on streoids” by McCauley, properties within Barcelo’s top-tier brand will be a ‘destination within a hotel,’ taking a personal approach to ensuring guests enjoy the best experience possible.
Barcelo – Live Up To More: giving guests “a little bit extra,” the Barcelo brand will feature unique concepts such as 24-hour sports bars and bowling alleys, such as the one found at Barcelo Maya Beach Resort, along with an emphasis on the local culture. The brand will also include several city hotels.
Occidental – There For You: offering “simple pleasures at a great price,” Occidental will offer mid- to upper range service for guests seeking simplicity and comfort.
Allegro – Enjoy Life: the group’s “fun hotels,” Allegro will cater to families and millennial travellers alike, with a focus on activities at the most affordable price point across the four brands.
Full details are available at www.barcelo.com.