Great Minds in Travel: Javier Delgado Muerza of Iberostar Group

In our first two weeks of the Great Minds in Travel series, we looked at how travel technology companies were viewing and responding to the current climate. Now we are shifting our focus to operators of hotels. We had the opportunity to chat with Javier Delgado Muerza, the Chief Commercial & Digital Officer of the family-owned Iberostar Group, to gain his insights on the current landscape within the travel industry.

What are you doing in the short-term to address the way the market has shifted as a result of COVID-19?

We are adapting our capacity as fast as we can to accommodate the market shift, including closing properties and redimensioning the teams.

As things seem to be changing by the day, how do you prioritize the business decisions you are making?

We are having meetings twice a day at the highest company level to assess the situation and steer decisions accordingly. We understood very early (mid-February) that the impact of this crisis could have biblical proportions. Since day one, we have prioritized the wellbeing of our employees and guests as well as anticipated business decisions that could mitigate impact where and when possible.

How are you working with your partners to communicate and plan for the future?

We are communicating on a daily basis with our key partners and the commercial teams are working around the clock 24/7 to ensure we keep a constant conversation with the trade. Our B2C teams doubled down on agent hours to ensure we kept attention levels over 95% to ensure clients would feel cared for at all times.

What is your outlook for the next three to six months?

It’s difficult to say, we are still seeing some countries where we operate shutting down, and operators grounding all aircraft, we do not see the bottom of this yet and we do not anticipate a recovery for this summer season. Obviously the main priority for the authorities should be to solve the medical emergency and protect the population from the threat, and once this is completed, the collective focus should be in re-establishing consumer confidence and hence spending. Once that’s in place, the travel ecosystem should start moving back to normal levels. My view is that this will take – at least- 6 months since the virus outbreak has been declared controlled.

Thanks to Javier for taking the time to share his thoughts with our readers! Click here for the latest updates and insights on COVID-19 from the Koddi team.