Feb. 2, 2015


Gino Luzi

Ecuador

Gino Luzi

General Manager, Grand Hotel Guayaquil

TBY talks to Gino Luzi, General Manager of Grand Hotel Guayaquil, on the value of having a great location, renovating the Grand, and Guayaquil's attraction as a center for MICE tourism in Ecuador.

BIO

Gino Luzi was born in Switzerland in 1941. He graduated in Hotel Administration from École Hôtelière de Lausanne and he is fluent in German, French, English, Italian, and Spanish. In the course of his professional career he has held different positions in numerous hotels in Switzerland, Spain, Peru, Panama, Honduras, El Salvador, and Ecuador. He is President of the Guayas “AHOTEGU” Hotel Association and a Member of the Board of Directors of the Chamber of Tourism. He has received a host of prizes and distinctions from various institutions as well as the Ministry of Tourism, the Ministry of Labor and Human Resources, and the Ministry of Education and Culture.

What distinguishes the Grand Hotel Guayaquil within the tourism sector?

The Grand Hotel Guayaquil features 182 fully-equipped and renovated rooms, a 24-hour café, a first class restaurant, a bar with live music, as well as the Terraza Racquet Club with two squash courts, a fully-equipped gym, sauna, steam bath, and massage service. The hotel also has a beautiful panoramic swimming pool with a waterfall, located in a tropical environment. The location, in the middle of the regenerated downtown section of the city, is basically in the tourist center of Guayaquil; we share a whole city block with the Cathedral, and are one block away from the park where hundreds of iguanas are admired by locals and visitors daily. Another asset is that our hotel is only four blocks away from the Malecon 2000, a beautiful and safe site for local and international tourism, for promenading along the river, with 1.5 miles of trees and flowers, and a good number of shops and cafés.

What is the main profile of your guests?

We have a variety of guests, as ours is a full service hotel and one of the three largest in the city; we welcome corporate guests and local and foreign business people, as well as national and international tourists. As the hotel is located in the tourist heart of the city, we have a good volume of weekend family packages, sport events, and tourism groups, mainly from France, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, and the US. We are the best choice for organized tourism packages for groups and a good number of individuals in transit to the Galápagos Islands. As Guayaquil is the country's most active port we are obliged to mention the corporate business, which means a great number of business people and visitors to conventions, congresses, and fairs.

What occupancy levels have you seen in 2013, and does seasonality present a challenge?

Occupancy has maintained its level of approximately 65% a year since 2012. Being a city hotel, we do not really have a seasonal shift, but we do have lower occupancy in the first four or five months of the year, and our best five months run from July through November.

The hotel is currently undergoing renovations. How will these enhance it?

This renovation is our fifth since opening in the mid-1970s, but there is a crucial difference this time. In contrast to previous renovations this one is comprehensive, externally and internally, with a total investment of over $3 million. Being in a highly competitive environment, we have decided to proceed with the facade, dividing it into 14 sections, and four floors, remodeling half-floor by half-floor, and all the rooms.

What has made the hotel so successful over the past 37 years?

Our 37 years in this market are not a coincidence. The constant training of our staff, our genuine orientation towards the comfort of our guests and clients, and remaining the best and most innovative, in terms of decor, service and technology initiatives; this has been helpful in terms of providing the best possible services to our guests.

What does Guayaquil have on offer to attract MICE tourism?

Guayaquil is located at sea level, with an international airport that operates 365 days a year. The city features a good number of deluxe hotels belonging to known chains, plus new openings announced for the next five years. With a population of 2.2 million, Guayaquil is the economic capital of Ecuador and the preferred venue for important national and international events. There is a new convention and visitor bureau, which will be charged with promoting the city to the country and the wider world. The city boasts a convention center with a capacity of 3,000 seats, and the principal hotels also have large convention facilities. Guayaquil has been selected to host the International Aviculture Congress 2015, and the Orchid World Congress 2017, each with between 1,500 and 3,000 participants.

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