Iberostar Group has undergone a rebranding and received a new segmentation of its properties. During an event at Iberostar Las Letras in Madrid, Sabina Fluxa, Iberostar Group’s vice-chairman and CEO, explained to an audience of journalists from across the globe, the brand’s new revamped identity.
“We are now taking a major step forward in what is a key development for the business, repositioning it and setting even higher standards. This strategy is accompanied by a new brand image which, under the claim ‘Let it Shine,’ echoes our own determination to shine and to enable our guests to shine as well,” said Fluxa during the event.
“It’s not just a change of image or change of assets, it’s a reflection of a new strategy, a new era within Iberostar,” said Luis Mota, group chief strategy and finance officer for Iberostar Group, during a press conference the following day. “This new segmentation reflects much better the composition of our hotels. It makes it much easier for our clients to identify what it means to be one type of Iberostar and what it means to be another type of Iberostar,” he added.
Iberostar has grouped its hotels into three segments: City Hotels, Ocean Resorts, and Iberostar Heritage (the latter is a new category that includes hotels with a tie to history and tradition). In addition, Grand, the group’s luxury category, will have hotels within all three segments.
City Hotels includes properties located in leading tourist cities such as Madrid, New York, Lisbon, Barcelona, Budapest, or Miami. This segment will include the Grand and Iberostar categeories. Ocean Resorts encompasses all beachfront locations and is divided into three categories: Grand, Selection, and Iberostar. The Iberostar Heritage segment will consist of unique hotels featuring architectural elements with a special historical and cultural significance; this segment will include the Grand categories.
“In regard to city hotels our target is to have 15 hotels. We don’t want to be a huge city hotel chain, we just want to have very nice assets in capital cities that in and of themselves tourist destinations,” noted Mota.
“Just to add on this segmentation aspect, I wanted to mention that there has been very intense work and effort in the past 24 months,” said Aurelio Vazquez, COO for Iberostar Group. “We really did an intense job rethinking ourselves and what each category segment meant in two ways: regarding the value proposition for the end customer, and also what it meant in terms of the service, the offerings that we have in food and beverage, the infrastructures, and the entertainment—all of these aspects were taken into account for each of the segments so the fit between the value proposition and the offering that we were going to have for each segment would fit much better than what we’ve had until now.”
A new segmentation isn’t the only change to the brand. A new visual and verbal identity was unveiled focusing on the “Let it Shine” motto, which is based on a more approachable language. The visual identity of the brand now focuses on a more photographic style, where image is the focal point. The Iberostar logo has also been revamped—though the iconic star remains, a color code has been applied to help distinguish between each new hotel segment. Turquoise now represents the beachfront Ocean Resorts, a dark blue for City Hotels, and sage green represents the Iberostar Heritage category. The Grand category will be represented in a coral tone throughout each segment.
According to Mota, the rollout for the new segmentation and rebrand will take approximately 12-18 months to complete.
Mota referenced how the travel agent support comes in for such a new initiative. “The trade is a very important part of our distribution. As everyone else, we are working very actively on developing our B2C business and our direct sales to customers. But, we never forget the trade. Both tour operators and travel agent networks are super important for us; they have been historically, and we intend that they continue to be in the future. We agree that striking the right balance is what we need to do. So, being able to sell more direct, but also keeping this a good business for our traditional distribution channels that need to grow along ourselves,” he said.
Vazquez added, “It has been said before agents are key for us. We have a very good relationship. And in the next months we will have different presentations to convey all these values…and we have worked very closely with them, and they have provided us many insights because they really know the end client for us. Our collaboration will continue and we will keep them informed. There will be an intense work with them in the next 18-24 months.”
Our key client is high middle class…in many ways families or a mixture of families and couples. It’s true that after all this investment and the new assests we are clearly upgrading the category of our hotel portfolio. Inevitably we are now targeting a client that is a bit higher. ~Luis Mota, Group Chief Strategy and Finance Officer, Iberostar Group
In addition to the rebrand and segmentation, Iberostar is dedicating itself to the Ocean Project, which reflects its commitment to sustainable development, education, and training for individuals, and care for the seas and oceans. The project, which is in line with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, will have an emphasis on people, as well as the environment with a focus on the seas and ocean.
The Ocean Project will consist of three main goals:
- Sustainable fishing: Iberostar is working to promote sustainable fishing, which will incorporate only seasonal fish on its menus.
- Reducing plastic pollution: Iberostar will work to reduce single-use plastic items in its hotels. The company’s goal is to eliminate the use of plastic on its properties, or to gradually introduce alternatives made from biodegradable materials.
- Coral reef conservation and protection: Iberostar is focusing on coral re-seeding initiatives, creating alliances with universities and research centers to raise awareness through educational activities targeting employees, the supplier community, and other stakeholders.
“We wanted to develop a plan on social responsibility. We really wanted to identify a couple of things that we wanted to put our focus on. One is people. And the other topic of focus has been the oceans. The oceans give us a lot and we feel we want to give back,” says Mota.
New Communication Efforts
Now, if you’re wondering how these new initiatives and revamp will be communicated to the public, Vazquez said, “Our idea of communicating with our end customer is based on three main points: 1. We intend to rely on mass media; we find that PR campaigns are particularly important to us. Also, we want to have a big presence both in mass media and trade press. 2. The reviews from mouth-to mouth information, so we are going to rely on our ambassadors, which we consider our employees to be, and our eight million customers that use us every year with a high return rate. and 3. We are going to rely on online media because this media allows us to have a good projection with only six to eight platforms; we can really have great visibility. However, we still focus very greatly on our distribution channels and travel agencies that are key to our communications.”
Mota added, “We like to think the essence hasn’t changed. We are just making our essence more public and we want to be more proactive communicating what we are and what our clients can find when they come and visit us.
“The essence [for us] is our four key characteristics: 1. Exceptional locations of our assets 2. The quality of service 3. The importance we award to gastronomy at our hotels and 4. The closeness that our people are able to convey to our customers; and that is something our customers value a lot. Forty-two percent of our clients are repeating clients. For us that’s a very rewarding data.”
He continued, “We are now communicating in a much more proactive way. We’ve always enjoyed that confidence from our clients. But we are right now in an inflection point. We’ve invested a lot in our assets, so we continue and we plan on investing a lot in both existing and new assets. We think we need to communicate more proactively because what we were was rewarding to clients because they came back, but now we want to also appeal to new customers.”
The brand’s latest opening in Barcelona, Iberostar Paseo de Gracia, marks the chain’s first property in this city. The new property, located in front of Plaza de Catalunya, is in a historic building that was designed in the monumental classical style dating back to 1942, featuring neo-baroque decor at its foundations, including sculptures by Frederic Mares.
This four-star property houses 119 guestrooms, plus two duplex suites—the Tower Suite and the Barcelona Suite featuring panoramic views. Guests can also enjoy an onsite gym, a rooftop pool, plus event spaces and culinary offerings such as the Ca’s Menestral Restaurant specializing in cuisine of the Balearic Islands and Mallorca, as well as Mmmallorca Coffee Bakery Bar, and the sky bar located in the penthouse and offering perfect sunset views over Barcelona.
That’s not all, there are an additional 14 more hotels that will open throughout 2018. Two examples of future openings are: an Iberostar Heritage in Santo Domingo, and a City Hotel in Lima. Both of these properties are expected to open in 2019.