Barcelo Hotels & Resorts is rethinking its business model and strategy, according to Juan Perez, vice president of sales and marketing for North America.
Close to 22% of the Spain-based hotelier’s global portfolio, which comprises more than 5,000 rooms in 140 properties in 17 countries, consists of managed properties, with the remainder owned or partially owned by Barcelo.
While there are no plans to convert the owned properties into a management arrangement, the company is considering a move toward building, developing and managing properties rather than owning them outright, Perez said.
“That’s our decision for the next few years,” he said. “Our return on investment has not been what we had expected, and we want to recover some of that.”
Barcelo completed a $330 million renovation in early 2012 at its two-hotel complex in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.
The project included the transformation of the Bavaro Beach Hotel into an adults-only property and the introduction of new amenities to the family-friendly Bavaro Palace Deluxe Hotel.
In late 2013, the all-inclusive Barcelo Grand Faro Los Cabos in Mexico, the former Hotel Grand Faro, joined the portfolio and underwent a $1.1 million renovation. (The 350-room property, damaged during Hurricane Odile, is now housing relief workers, but it will reopen to guests on Nov. 23, Perez said.)
Another major renovation wraps up in December when the second phase of a $60 million project is completed at the Barcelo Maya five-resort complex in Mexico’s Riviera Maya.
Two of the five resorts, the Barcelo Maya Beach resort and the Barcelo Maya Caribe, have undergone extensive expansions and renovations with new and redesigned restaurants and entertainment centers, premium suites, bars, kids clubs and hospitality areas and modernized lobbies.
“The remaining resorts — the Barcelo Colonial, the Barcelo Maya Tropical and the all-suite Barcelo Maya Palace Deluxe — are in good shape,” Perez said.
In Mexico, the company has resorts in Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, Manzanillo, Huatulco, Ixtapa and Cuernavaca.
Within the Caribbean, the Dominican Republic is Barcelo’s stronghold for now.
The company has a property in Varadero, Cuba, as well.
Although Perez would not disclose expansion plans for the region, he did reveal that the company has Jamaica in its sights.
Barcelo also has properties in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Ecuador, but the balance of the portfolio is in Spain, with a smattering of others scattered in Egypt, Morocco, Turkey, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Germany and Italy.
“What we are seeing in the Caribbean, Mexico and Latin America is that the all-inclusive continues to be the real deal, but the concept is changing and evolving,” Perez said.
“Every single hotel wants to do a better job by including more sports facilities and more activities, entertainment and restaurants for guests,” he said.