Dec. 3, 2021


Héctor Coronel

Spain

Héctor Coronel

Director de Turismo Ayuntamiento de Madrid, Madrid Destino

Madrid stands ready to welcome back tourists, utilizing data and other innovative solutions to provide the best possible experience for visitors.

BIO

Héctor Coronel has a degree in tourism companies and activities from the Rey Juan Carlos University and has completed his training with various postgraduate courses. In addition, he directs the MBA in hospitality and tourism at the Ostelea School of Tourism Business. With more than 20 years of experience in the tourism industry as a leader of multidisciplinary marketing and sales teams in multinational companies in the sector, he is specialized in tourism marketing and in the luxury tourism segment.


In 2019, Madrid registered 10 million visitors, with an average expenditure per tourist per day of EUR270, well above the Spanish average. How did 2020 end, and what are your expectations for 2021?

2020 was a difficult year; we experienced a 90% drop in tourism activity. Since July 2020, the leader in tourist arrivals to Madrid was France. In terms of spending, it could have increased a little. The latest studies show that the tourism impact on GDP could reach 22% at least. At a national level, tourism makes up 12% of Spain's GDP. Now that the tourism industry has fallen, many people have realized how important it is to generate wealth. This numbers point out how important the tourism industry is.

Since your incorporation, a strategic plan was proposed with four fundamental pillars, one of them being digital transformation. What is your strategy in this regard?

Digitalization is an important part of our strategic plan, which seeks to be part of all our activities. Madrid Destino is the tourism division of the government of the city of Madrid. We want to have a digital tool to gather all the data related to tourism such as hotel nights, expenditure per tourist, transportation spending, and others. This data will help us make better decisions. We also want to have data on consumption, such as consumption according to nationality, for instance. We have been in talks with companies such as Visa and MasterCard to gather this information. We are also working with applications that would be useful for tourists who visit our city. Among others, we have a loyalty program called Vuelve Madrid. In 2020, we also launched a campaign called Regala Madrid that seeks to sell packages of experiences for visitors in Madrid. With this campaign, we sought to generate cash flow for the sector because it sells service that would be provided in the future. We want to include all these experiences in our online store. Meanwhile, in terms of customer experience, we are working on several areas. One of them is the visitor's experience journey, while we also have some interactions with companies like Google and Amadeus to obtain information as soon as a person buys a ticket to travel to Madrid. With that information, we can immediately start to have direct communication with each visitor to adapt the travel experience to their needs and profile. Right now, in the app stores we have three apps: Vuelve a Madrid, which is inactive at this moment; Visit Madrid; and a third one on interactive visits. We want to offer each tourist a personalized experience in an attempt to extend the number of hotel nights in the city. The average stay in Madrid is 2.3 nights per person, and our goal is to increase that figure to three nights.

For the third consecutive year, Madrid was recognized at the World Travel Awards as the best European city for the MICE sector. In which lines is work being done to ensure Madrid will maintain its leadership?

Madrid is a world leader in MICE because of several factors, but mostly because of the wide range of services that we offer. I would highlight Madrid's geographical position as an advantage. We are well located and connected in terms of transportation. Madrid is the entry gate to Europe from America, and we are close to the Middle East as well. Geographical location is a competitive advantage for us. We have excellent venues like IFEMA or the Palacio Municipal de Congresos, which is essential to attract MICE. IFEMA can host events with 5,000 attendees without a loss in quality. Madrid Airport is excellent as well, as are our hotels. The hotel portfolio is extremely broad in Madrid, and we have an excellent public transportation system that includes metro, buses, taxis, and commuter rail services. Madrid has an important cultural heritage, museums, and an attractive lifestyle. To sum it up, all that adds up to create an attractive destination for MICE. Madrid Destino administers some venues like Caja Magica and Madrid Arena, among others. There is also a massive space in Casa de Campo formerly called Feria de Muestras, which has a huge potential for a future development. It is an infrastructure that could host events and congresses, but it would require investment to revamp the existing infrastructure.

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