A PLACE OF SANCTUARY

Mexico 2018 | TOURISM | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to René Aguado Martínez, Director of Sales and Marketing of Four Seasons Mexico City, on delivering unique experiences, employing the country's service-oriented culture, and Mexico City earning its place in the sun.

 René Aguado Martínez
BIOGRAPHY
René Aguado Martínez has extensive experience in the world of hotel sales from the Dominican Republic to Dubai and Mexico. His career is highlighted by, among many others, his recent position at the Grand Residences Riviera Cancun Hotel, where he participated in the opening team of the property. Earlier in his career, Martínez worked as the director of sales and marketing at Presidente Intercontinental Hotel in Mexico City, where he was noted for a leading role in strengthening its position in the city. He was also a part of the opening team at Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita from 1999 until 2001.

Mexico City has a number of international luxury hotel brands. What distinguishes you?

Four Seasons Hotel Mexico City is the only hotel in the city that is part of an international luxury brand solely dedicated to the luxury segment. Therefore, all our guest rooms and suites, meeting rooms, outlets, public areas, amenities, and services are focused on such travelers and experiences. For example, to cater to our well-travelled guests, we have added Fifty Mils, one of the top bars in the city and the only hotel bar in Mexico City with international award-winning mixologists. 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 that gives a unique sense of place and creates a feeling of sanctuary in one of the busiest cities of the world—also sets us apart from our competitors.

How important is gastronomy to the guest experience?

Gastronomy is paramount to us, as it is part of delivering unique experiences to our guests. We believe in delivering local experiences with an international know-how. As part of our full renovation project, we opened Zanaya Restaurant, which has become one of the top Mexican seafood restaurants in the capital, headed by talented Mexican chef Tonatiuh Cuevas. Its specialty is the fresh Zarandeado fish. We fly in our seafood products from the Mexican Pacific Coast daily and deliver a unique style and flavors from the state of Nayarit. We also have a high-end Mexican street gastro bar-type experience at our Fifty Mils Bar, which allows guests to savor typical Mexican street food in a safe and fantastic ambiance. Both venues have terraces that open out to our interior garden, further enhancing the dining atmosphere.

What is behind the success of the tourism sector in Mexico?

There are several factors that have contributed to Mexico's success; the most important is our people. Mexicans are a welcoming and service-oriented culture by nature. That has maintained our standing as the top destination to visit over the years. However, in the last few years the government and private sector have been more strategic in their marketing investments to increase the number of visitors to the country. Typically, Mexican beaches have been a magnet for guests around the world. Lately, other areas have followed suit, such as Mexico City, which has been found to be a top destination to travel to, not only for cultural or business reasons, but culinary and leisure ones as well. Social media and new communication channels such as blogs and websites specialized in sharing experiences and content from fellow travelers have opened the eyes of many others that used to be skeptical about certain areas of Mexico or were not even aware of their existence. Whatever the reasons, we are delighted that Mexico is taking its well-deserved place in international tourism.

How are you adapting your business model to fit the desires of millennials, who may be more attracted to less-traditional, non-hotel services?

We are extremely aware of the economic power that millennials represent at this point and how it will only increase in the coming years. To date, we have already implemented several changes in how we deliver the Four Seasons service in a more relevant way to them, such as a mobile app and chat that simplifies the check-in and check-out processes, as well as having direct communication with our employees that will directly deliver their personalized service. We have also implemented a millennial committee within the hotel to work on specific projects and service sequence adjustments that will allow us to better cater to this intuitive and adventurous market. In order to communicate these initiatives, we have worked on specific storytelling strategies distributed through specific channels targeted to them.