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InterContinental Mexico City, a hotel that bets on the future of tourism

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https://en.travel2latam.com/nota/76336-intercontinental-mexico-city-a-hotel-that-bets-on-the-future-of-tourism
InterContinental Mexico City, a hotel that bets on the future of tourism
Source: IHG Hotels & Resorts
September 02, 2022

The luxurious property belonging to IHG Hotels & Resorts is located in Polanco, a key area for tourism due to its cultural and gastronomic offer 


Known for being the first international hotel in the city with a building of 42 floors and 700 rooms, InterContinental stands out for knowing how to read current needs and anticipate future ones, offering amenities ranging from restaurants and spa services to spaces for holding events of all kinds and meetings.

We asked Alvaro Rey, General Manager of Intercontinental Mexico City, how the company experienced the moments of the pandemic and what vision it has regarding the future of the sector in Mexico.


How you lived the pandemic period and what have you learned from all this?
For multiple reasons, no one can say that those years have been wonderful. It was painful for business, it hurt all the hotels. However, from all that crisis and difficult moments there are great learnings and opportunities. I think that you have to see it from another point of view, that is, we were wrong, but we learned many things.
As a hotelier I have been at Intercontinental for 35 years and I continue learning every day. This crisis has taught us that if we had done things right, we would have handled it better.
Of course the needs have changed, the vision of the traveler changed and that of the employee too. The way new generations see hospitality is different and we have had to adapt quickly to face the future. You could say that we went to a university and graduated in a year and a half, from a course that takes four years.

If you could take a photo and share it, how is the business doing today?
Business is going very well. Mexico has done something extremely well, it was one of the few countries in the world that did not close the flights and only closed hotels for a few months. That buildt confidence to the national and international traveler and allowed the country to recover faster than in the rest of Latin America.
Although in some places the numbers of 2019 have not been reached, we have some beaches where it was exceeded by 30% compared to that period, so we see that the business is improving.
People are getting to know not only the beaches but also the wonders of Mexico City gastronomically and culturally. Tourism is growing and large and important events are being held.
The commercial part is the one that is recovering the slowest, I think it is being reorganized. What's interesting about this crisis is that while companies have been hit and have to recover, there are a lot of new companies coming out and making up for the market. I see that the future is very good.

Beyond Mexico, what is your general vision of the hotel industry, both its present and future?
I always said that the hotel industry will continue to grow regardless of what happens in the world, because people will continue to travel. People have had time to reflect on life and the balance between work and rest, this motivated them to go out more, to know more. Many people are going on vacation more.
Others combine work with vacations and I think that is what is coming: hotels that adapt to this type of thing, that can offer the traveler the comforts to work, rest and visit places in perhaps three free hours. The traveler will look for new options and experiences. Maybe it's not going on a typical tour, but discovering different experiences.

The pandemic "restarted" the tourism business and one of the big issues to be resolved at that time was direct sales vs. OTAs. What comment can you make about what is happening today?
Today is a mix of everything. There is opportunity for everyone. The traveler experiments, uses certain methods initially, others are directly related to the hotel staff. There is room for everyone in the market, depending on the season and how the business is run. Some things will grow more, others not so much.

What news can you share about this particular hotel?
We have done many things. We are working on adapting to the new generations. We have dedicated ourselves to holding healthy events, today we are making a very important healthy menu in all restaurants. Along these lines, this hotel has five very important restaurants and now we are going to open a Japanese speakeasy restaurant in two months.
We are also doing a complete remodeling of the lobby and the bar; that is something that must be done continuously and that is the beauty of this hotel, it was always being renovated. We are reading what the market requires, the new clients and the needs to be covered in the rooms. We are adapting.

What are the most important source markets for you today?
Today the United States is obviously a very important for us and for Mexico in general. European countries are also beginning to grow, with people from England, France and Spain.
Regarding Latin America, things are more spread out; Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, Chile and Peru have been the most important markets.
A very important Asian market also began to arrive and the Arab world is joining. They are finally discovering Latin America, we have a lot to offer the world. Mexico has a lot to offer.

What plans do you have in the medium term?
The company wants to continue growing in Mexico. We have several very interesting projects and different cities because we see that there are opportunities.
We want to work hard on sustainability, in the social part and in the educational part. Above all, we want to contribute to the hotel industry with trained people. Mexico's service levels are very difficult to find in other places, it's wonderful how Mexicans serve visitors, the love they have for hospitality and for showing their own. It is something unique, a very great strength of this country.

About that, this country is growing at very high rates and hospitality is undergoing a complex process in terms of human resources. How do you work to maintain the quality of service?
This is very important. We have a very interesting program; From the day we hire people, we provide guidance not only on the history of the company, how a hotelier grows, but also on the opportunities that exist and what needs to be done.
A hotel is like a small city, there are opportunities to grow, you have to encourage people to take advantage of opportunities and lead by example every day.


There are many life stories
Here we are all equal, we all work for the same. We can share a bit of what we know and show it and that is the basis of training and motivation for a great team.
We have great opportunities because we have many hotels and we try to move people to different hotels so they can train and see different things.

Would you like to share a final message about what the company experienced?
I think I am very fortunate to work in this company that is historical in terms of the personalities, celebrities and great officials who have worked and passed through here.
My message to the tourist world is that wonderful things are coming. Obstacles must be jumped and history must be left behind, but not forgotten.
We must not stay in the past or believe that it will continue to be so, we must adapt. If we don't read and listen to people we will be left behind.

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