TBY talks to Mario Figueroa, Director at BTH, on the evolution of the company, the role it plays in the hospitality sector, and the importance of innovation and differentiation in a crowded market.

Mario Figueroa
Mario Figueroa studied Strategic Planning at Universidad San Ignacio De Loyola, and Market Research and Marketing A & B. At the Universidad Peruana De Ciencias Aplicadas, he received a Masters Degree in Hospitality and Tourism. In 2006, he was named General Gerente of Hotel- FIGTUR BTH SA and became responsible for 130 employees. Since 2012, he has been the Director of BTH Hotel- FIGTUR SA.

How has BTH been transformed since your tenure as director?

BTH is a family business that I took over from my parents. For the past eight years, I have been working to develop new hotel concepts that distinguish the company in the market. Before, BTH was a traditional hotel that was not particularly innovative. Traveling in Europe exposed me to different business models, and inspired me to bring this new concept to the Peruvian hotel industry. In Peru, the hotel industry is rigid and pragmatic, and has not evolved significantly over the years. Therefore, the industry needs to understand that the habits and needs of users are constantly changing. Nowadays technology enables consumers to better keep up-to-date on the latest trends be they in fashion, cars, or hotels. This means that consumers are more demanding. It became clear that we needed to reinvent BTH as an avant-garde establishment. And now, after eight years of work, we have developed a hotel concept that has been acknowledged both locally and internationally.

What specific changes needed to be made to the hotel once you took over?

Our hotel had to be completely restructured, and we did not consider local architects sufficiently innovative for the task. Ultimately we settled on a celebrated Peruvian-Spanish architect for our redesign. The overall project has taken almost 10 years to get to where the hotel is today.

What role do you see for BTH in Lima's hospitality sector?

There are two main types of travelers in Peru: corporate travelers and tourists. Tourists come to Peru with their family, spend days planning, and are perpetually off to visit touristic sites. On the other hand, corporate travelers come for work, and stay in Lima. Their consumption habits are different; they are generally single, without children, and tend to prefer a more businesslike environment, and naturally we want them to feel at home. We offer them a chic, elegant and rewarding stay, where, for example, our restaurant features an open kitchen with 80% of what is served being organic in nature.

What led you to target high-end business travelers?

Eight years ago, BTH was called the Business Tower Hotel. At that time, our hotel was no different from many others in the city. Yet having analyzed and identified consumer habits, it became apparent that BTH was suited to a new category of guest. We essentially kept an eye on fresh design and offerings that would appeal to both younger guests and more seasoned business visitors. Moreover, in order to be able to cater to even the most exacting of corporate events, we equipped our establishment with six meeting rooms. Additionally, the hotel is located in central Lima, in the San Borja district which is becoming a key part of town.

What are the next steps in the expansion of your brand?

Although we changed our name from Business Tower Hotel to BTH, our customers still know that we are a business hotel because 80% of our market remains corporate. Therefore, our success depends on Peru's economic performance. And because we have successfully grown our business, as substantiated by real numbers, there are considerable expectations on the part of investors. We are confident in leveraging our brand equity for expansion beyond Lima, possibly even abroad as we perfectly reflect the life of the international executive.

What is your vision for 2016?

The elections are close now, and as Peru sustains its growth, so too will BTH. Innovation will continue to underpin everything we do.