HOTELS

Mexico 2017 | TOURISM | B2B

From bars to investments, Mexico's hotels are representative of the best the country has to offer.

Francisco Zinser Cieslik
FRANCISCO ZINSER CIESLIK
CEO
Grupo Hotelero Santa Fe
René Aguado
RENÉ AGUADO
Director of Sales and Marketing
Four Seasons

What distinguishes your hotel or group?

FRANCISCO ZINSER CIESLIK We had an IPO in September 2014 and as a follow-up, an additional raising of capital on the market in June 2016. The company has done very well; we are a successful growth story as well as a profitable one. We have the highest EBITDA margin of the companies that are public in the industry. We have our own brand, Krystal, and close to 80% of our rooms are under this brand, which has been present in Mexico for over 35 years. This brand has an excellent penetration within the Mexican market, considering that 85% of travel in Mexico is made by locals; hence, it is important to have a strong local brand. With the other 20% of rooms we have, we also manage other brands such as Hilton and Starwood brands. We are preferred operators for the major hotel companies in the world. We focus on Mexico and we have no plans to do business elsewhere. Around 38% of our rooms are third-party management contracts, meaning have no investment in these properties. That speaks well of Grupo Hotelero Santa Fe because it means we have a great deal of confidence among hotel owners to manage their properties. The aforementioned performance of our group is a clear competitive advantage to attract these contracts.

RENÉ AGUADO The Four Seasons Hotel Mexico City is the only hotel in the city solely dedicated to focusing on the luxury segment. Therefore, our guest rooms and suites, meeting rooms, outlets, public areas, amenities, and most of our services are focused and specialized for that type of traveler and experience. As an example, in order to cater to our well-traveled guests, we have added Fifty Mils, which is one of the top four bars and the only hotel bar with international award-winning mixologists in the city. We have also been recognized as the only Five Diamonds hotel in the City by AAA. The iconic architecture of our building, a low-rise, hacienda style with a one-of-a-kind central garden, gives a unique sense of place and creates a sanctuary-like feeling in one of the busiest cities of the world for and sets us apart of the rest of our competitors.

What is it that attracts people to invest in the hotel and tourism sector in Mexico?

FZC The tourism sector is a cyclical sector; however, we are now starting to experience longer cycles. The specific opportunity of our group is that we generate over 30% of our revenue in US dollars. So when there is foreign exchange volatility, we really have a great advantage of having a little more than a third of our revenues in hard US currency. This is a good thing for investors, as there are many sectors that do not have foreign currency revenue. Overall, Mexico is well known for its evident tourism vocation, with very high standards in terms of services and products. And I truly believe that makes investors comfortable. The country was ranked the 9th most visited country in terms of international travelers in 2016, up from 13th in 2012, this is a clear message that Mexico is very competitive in tourism.

Mexico has now climbed to eighth place in the World Tourism Organization ranking of the most visited countries in the world. To what do you attribute Mexico's success in the sector?

RA Several factors have contributed to this success. The most important has been our people. Mexicans are a welcoming and service-oriented culture by nature. That has kept us as a top destination to visit throughout many years. However, the last couple of years, the government and private sector have been more strategic in their marketing investments in order to increase the number of visitors to the entire country. Mexican beaches have always been magnets for all international guests. Lately, other areas, such as Mexico City, have been discovered as top travel destinations, not only for cultural or business reasons, as used to be the case. Now Mexico City is visited by culinary and leisure travelers. It is a safe and fun city for families and couples where you can find everything from Aztec temples to avant-garde and modern buildings, mariachis to raves and amusement parks, from ponchos to haute couture, from tacos to top-50 restaurants, and from traditional cantinas to trendsetting bars and speakeasies. It is eclectic, modern, vibrant, and inspirational.