SUSANA MARIN COE-ARCHER, GENERAL MANAGER, ALMANAC BARCELONA, EXPLAINS WHAT IS BEING DONE TO DIFFERENTIATE IT FROM COMPETITION.
TRAVEL TRADE EUROPE: Congratulations on your appointment as general manager. What will be your main priorities for the property both pre- and post-launch?
SUSANA MARIN COE-ARCHER: It is very important to understand the building, the details of the product that are going to dress the building, the location and the environment that surrounds it.
Then, my priority [is] to envision a culture of service that will match perfectly with the outstanding product, and selecting the dream team that will be passionate about that line of service and would help deploy that vision into conduct standards, therefore [providing] amazing experiences.
The team has developed a detailed timeline with duties to be very ready for the opening date in terms of services and procedures aligned with our vision.
Selecting and hiring the right team and talent will give the right soul to this wonderful property.
Then an entire training programme will be deployed at all levels to engage the team in the philosophy, service procedures and the standards that we have decided.
Having everyone onboard and aligned to be able to provide the best hotel and restaurant experience is our main priority pre-opening, post opening, and ongoing!
TRAVEL TRADE EUROPE: How is the development going?
SUSANA MARIN COE-ARCHER: Things are moving quite rapidly and we are on schedule [...] to open in summer, with a possible soft opening in late May.
TRAVEL TRADE EUROPE: What marketing strategies and promotional activities do you plan to undertake in order to attract guests?
SUSANA MARIN COE-ARCHER: In early December 2016 I attended International Luxury Travel Market as our first event to introduce the hotel to the travel trade.
I will also be attending the LE Miami this year.
I will have a director of sales and marketing based at the hotel covering Europe and we have appointed sales representation in the US, UK, Europe and Middle East, [our key markets].
We will also have a strong online impact and work through this way of booking quite thoroughly to offer our future guests a very friendly and easy way to book directly through us.
TRAVEL TRADE EUROPE: How will Almanac Barcelona differentiate itself from other luxury properties in the city?
SUSANA MARIN COE-ARCHER: There are so many beautiful hotels in the European Union and we live in a city with several exceptional properties.
What sets hotels apart, aside from beautiful architecture and design, is service that can and will be experienced by each and every guest in a different way.
In terms of facilities, we will have an all-day dining restaurant Lãnia, accessible directly from the street, [for] both guests and locals.
When travelling, your hunger may strike at odd hours, so we wish to take care of that need.
Azimuth, our rooftop bar, pool and terrace, can be experienced year-round and the cocktail programme we are creating will take your tastebuds on a global journey.
Back to the service levels though – the needs of any traveller, whether alone for business or travelling with extended family, [can] mean many different things and our entire team will contribute to that overall experience.
We will tap into the knowledge of the people we have in place for the cultural experience, be it at one of the museums in the city, to the opera house. We have team members who have a passion for music, theatre or books, for example.
We can provide insight beyond someone typing into the computer, to provide information on the latest exhibition at the museum, the most popular concert, or a secret poetry reading.
In that regard, we are all encompassing because we live and breathe the city the way our guests wants to.
There is never anything better than the local perspective. If we have a wine enthusiast we will arrange something very special in Penedes for example.
We do not want to reveal too much at this point, but we hope to be distinct from our competitors in that regard.
When you step into Almanac Barcelona, or Vienna and Prague in the future you will have a unique Almanac experience in each city, but there will be a common thread running through that which creates the distinct Almanac fingerprint.