TORONTO — Meeting with Canadian tour operators and the trade media this week in Toronto, senior executives from Iberostar Hotels & Resorts say Iberostar is fully committed to wholesale and retail distribution channels, and that’s good news for both tour operators and travel agents.
Iberostar Group COO Aurelio Vazquez, Commercial Director & Marketing Luis Jiménez and Marketing Manager EMEA Oscar Gonzalez joined Mariela Zaldivar, Marketing Manager for Canada in welcoming their trade partners at a meet and greet event in Toronto earlier this week before heading off to Montreal.
The team was in town to prepare for an upcoming campaign to promote Iberostar and its products in Canada, and to let Canadian travel agents and consumers know about their ongoing product renewal strategy including the renovation and improvement of existing properties. There were also updates about new Iberostar properties.
The big news for agents is that Iberostar’s StarAgent rewards program for travel agents will be expanded into Canada. The program allows travel agents to earn points which can be redeemed for free stays. It’s part of Iberostar PRO, the travel agent portal where agents can currently book directly, earn commissions and take advantage of special promotions.
Iberostar opened its first hotel some 60 years ago and now operates 110 hotels in 17 countries.
Cuba is an important market for the company where it operates 21 hotels with over 7,000 rooms. A new hotel will open this fall with 600 rooms. Iberostar has created its own import business aimed at importing food and products for use at its hotels in the Cuba. By doing so, Iberostar will be raising the quality of its food and products in Cuba to Caribbean standards.
Several years ago Iberostar launched its new program to upgrade its brand and amenities and to date it has spent more than $300 million primarily to renovate its existing hotels in Europe. Iberostar is now budgeting an additional $700 million to do the same for its hotels in the Caribbean. Seventy percent of its hotels will be upgraded to four and five star status.
New hotels will be opening in Aruba and Mexico as well as Lima, Santo Domingo and Montenegro. Hotels were recently opened in Barcelona, Havana, and Lisbon.
Iberostar has created three new segments for their hotels: City hotels (hotels located in major cities which are preferred by tourists); Ocean resorts (Iberostar’s core business) and heritage hotels (named ‘Iberostar Heritage’). An overriding Grand category has been created to denote maximum luxury in Iberostar’s most luxurious hotels with upgraded rooms, atmosphere and gastronomy.
Iberostar says its new program includes building on the strength of its gastronomy, service, hotel locations in the Caribbean and Europe and its people. Iberostar currently employs some 30,000 people.
Iberostar has also launched three sustainability initiatives including a program to reduce the use of single use plastics. Iberostar is also supporting barrier reefs by investment in their renewal, and has also introduced a program focusing on the sustainability of the fish served in its on-site restaurants.