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Barceló Hotel Group
The portfolio of the Barceló Hotel Group’s four brands is made up of more than 230 hotels in over 20 countries and is one of the leading tourism companies in the Spanish market, and one of the largest in the world.
The genesis of the Barceló Hotel Group was Barceló Hotels & Resorts, founded in Palma de Mallorca (Spain) 85 years ago. Across its hospitality division and its travel division, the company owns properties in 20 countries and over 685 travel agencies in 22 countries. These figures position it as the third largest hotel chain in Spain and forty-second in the world.
The group’s property has been in the hands of the Barceló family for three generations. They have successfully drawn on the knowledge and the tradition of one of the pioneering hotel groups across Spain and Europe to provide it with the latest developments and innovations in the sector.
The new structure of the Barceló Hotel Group features 4 brands: Royal Hideaway Luxury Hotels & Resorts, Barceló Hotels & Resorts, Occidental Hotels & Resorts and Allegro Hotels. An exciting project aimed at positioning the group as one of the leading hotel management chains worldwide, whose aim is to offer more specialized, higher quality services to each guest.
First company founded by Simón Barceló Obrador
Simón Barceló Obrador was born on April 12, 1902. He began work at an early age as an errand boy, where he had the idea for his first entrepreneurial activity in the transportation sector: Barceló Buses. After being granted a loan from Felanitx Bank, he bought his first bus, which would grow into a major transport and goods business.
From the creation of a small family business located in the Mallorcan town of Felanitx (Spain) specializing in the transport of people and goods, the Barceló Hotel Group has grown hand in hand with three generations who have transformed it into one of the leading tourism corporations in Spain and the entire world.
Throughout its almost 85-year history the company has based its activities in the world of tourism and, although the two MAIN areas of its business currently remain in the hospitality and travel agency (retail and receptive) sectors, the Mallorcan group has always taken after Mr. Simón Barceló Obrador: pioneering, always being prepared to take advantage of the opportunities that the market has to offer, and to diversify its operations. Profitability has always been Barceló’s main goal.
Entry into the tourism sector
In 1954, as the fledgling world of tourism grows into a reality in the Balearic Islands, the company decides to enter into the travel agency sector. It is clear to the Barceló family that a world of opportunities is appearing. This culminates in the founding of Barceló Viajes in 1964.
Similarly, the potential of the first large hotels, which attract visitors from Spain and all of Europe, does not go unnoticed by the group. In 1954, a hotel division is opened, as well as the chain’s first hotel. Naturally, it is located in Mallorca.
Along with the company’s first hotels, the Barceló innovative character soon appears. In 1965 they innovate with a new style of hotel: the Barceló Pueblo Palma. As with other Pueblo hotels, this was aimed at an essentially family-based market, with a broad variety of services offered at a good price.
National expansion, beyond the confines of Majorca
While tourism was born in Majorca, the rest of Spain does not take long to follow its lead and it soon consolidates into a destination that attracts the attention and the admiration of the entire world.
At the end of the 1960s, the Barceló Hotel Group management expanded into the remaining Balearic islands: the Barceló Pueblo Ibiza hotel (now Occidental Ibiza) was built and the Barceló Hamilton hotel in Menorca was acquired. In this aspect, the company turns into a bastion of new tourism that will be represented across all the Balearic islands.
In 1970 the expected leap onto the Iberian peninsula takes place with the opening of the Barceló Pueblo Benidorm hotel, another destination that, at the national level, undergoes a genuine boom and develops a base of affordable and varied tourism.
The first hotel in the Caribbean, the first steps in international expansion
In 1981, Barceló Viajes buys the tour operator Turavia, which constitutes the first step towards the internationalization of the group. It is clear to the Barceló family that the Caribbean is a place that, thanks to its beauty, climate and people, would be ideal to welcome visitors.
After visiting and analyzing a land that until that time had gone virtually unexploited – the Dominican Republic – this new step comes into existence in 1985 with the inauguration of their first hotel in the Caribbean: Barceló Bávaro Beach Resort, in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. With this new hotel, the Barceló Hotel Group became the first Spanish hospitality company to establish itself in the area.
Five years later, driven by the fantastic success achieved through its entry into the Caribbean, the chain decides to focus its strategy in Central America and entered into Costa Rica. In this city’s capital, the Barceló San José Palacio Spa & Casino hotel is acquired, and two years later the Playa Tambor complex follows.
Launch into the North American market
But international expansion cannot be oblivious to the world’s leading power and paradise of opportunities. That is why the chain achieves one of its main goals in 1992: Entry into the US hotel market.
Within the new diversification strategy for the collection of hotels and destinations, the first establishment in the country’s capital, Washington DC, is acquired. Not long after, this success would be followed by the appearance of the Barceló Hotel Group in another key city in the United States: Orlando.
With this, Barceló Hotels & Resorts became the first Spanish hotel chain to establish itself in the USA. And, of course, this is by no means the end of its important presence in North America...
Expansion into Europe
Continuing with the dynamic that drove it to consolidate its position in the urban hotels sector, the Barceló Hotel Group decides to take a chance on its European neighbors, which included destinations that are more associated with artistic and bohemian idiosyncrasy.
With this in mind, in 1993, the Mallorcan group acquired the Barceló Praha (currently Occidental Praha), the first hotel to join the chain in a European capital and the first of many that followed in later years throughout the Old Continent.
Little by little, other European destinations, including Germany, Bulgaria, Greece, the United Kingdom and Italy, are added to the rich and varied hotel portfolio.
First steps into the Spanish urban sector
Although the Barceló Hotel Group is currently a chain of city and vacation hotels, 30 years had to pass from its creation as a sun and sand hotel chain for it to open its first city hotel in Spain: the Barceló Sants (Barcelona), one of the company’s flagship city hotels.
Barceló Sants is not only an innovative building with all the attributes of an excellent urban hotel, but also sets a precedent for an ideal hotel for a niche market, such as business and congresses, fully in its element in an economy that is as effervescent as the Spanish economy of these years.
After the Sants hotel, the Barceló Hotel Group acquired city hotels far and wide across the Spanish territory, recently culminating in the acquisition of a new emblem for the chain, the Barceló Emperatriz or the Barceló Torre de Madrid, both in the Spanish capital.
The continuing growth of Barceló Viajes (B the travel brand)
In 1996, Barceló Viajes, currently named B the travel brand, became the representative for the British tour operator First Choice Holidays in Spain. This company is a major international partner in the history of the Barceló Hotel Group, the partnership arising as a result of Simón Pedro Barceló’s long-lasting negotiations.
First Choice Holidays has major significance in Europe, is listed on the London Stock Exchange, has a strong presence in Canada, and transports six million travelers a year.
In the year 2000, Barceló Viajes is incorporated into this British travel group, and becomes its majority shareholder. But two years later, the Majorcan group exercised its preemptive rights and regained ownership of Barceló Viajes.
Currently, it’s one of the most important companies in the sector and has undergone an invigorating modernization process under a new name: B the travel brand
... And the Barceló Hotel Group
In 1997 a hotel was opened in Venezuela, and in 1999 three hotels were inaugurated in Mexico: the Barceló Maya Beach Resort complex along with two more hotels on the Pacific coast, in Ixtapa and Huatulco.
Its arrival in the country of the Aztecs is a soaring success from the very start. With hotels on the Pacific and Caribbean coasts, as well as an urban presence in destinations including Cuernavaca and Puebla, the Barceló Hotel Group became a passionate connoisseur of Mexican hotel culture.
In fact, the analysis of and empathy with the local culture has been a constant within the Barceló Hotel Group’s international strategy, to the point of making it a leading foreign hotel chain in the country.
International expansion is unstoppable; the chain lands in Turkey, with several hotels in the Bodrum area, and, in 2000, opens two establishments in Ecuador and Uruguay.
The first major challenge accomplished... 100 hotels
In 2001, coinciding with its 70th anniversary, the Barceló Hotel Group reached a total of 100 hotels, a number that placed the chain among the major hotel groups in Spain. During this year, it opened a number of hotels in Spain and continued its expansion in several countries in South America.
It also opens the Barceló Bávaro Convention Center on Bávaro Beach (Dominican Republic) – the country’s most modern convention center as well as one of the most important in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Objective – the Mediterranean basin and number one Spanish hotel company in the United States
In 2002, the Barceló Hotel Group decided to turn its attention to the Mediterranean basin and to make a commitment to tourism in the countries of North Africa, putting this into effect with franchise contracts in Malta, Tunisia and Morocco.
In 2002, Barceló acquired the American hotel operator Crestline Capital, which had nearly 7,000 rooms in 12 different states in the United States. A subsidiary was created, Barceló Crestline Hotels & Resorts, which noticeably reinforced Barceló’s presence in the USA, where it now operates 48 hotels and 6 Convention Centers.
barcelo.com goes online
Barceló Hotel Group launched its first website, www.barcelo.com, and created a new Booking Center: BarceloRes. The Barceló Hotel Group’s online presence comes as a breath of fresh air and, as it develops, the site strives to make the user aware of the experiences and emotions the traveler can feel while staying at the company’s hotels and resorts.
Its entry into the world of social media takes place in 2012, when it starts to create an official page for the chain on the main social networks.
In 2014 it receives the TNS Fanpage Spain award for best Facebook page in the Tourism, travel and hotels category.
In 2016 www.barcelo.com introduces a new design that makes it one of the most innovative and user-friendly sites in the Spanish tourism sector. The premiering of this website coincides with the inauguration of its travel blog: Pin & Travel.
Success of the strategic plan
In 2005, the chain approved a 5-year business plan (2005–2010), the primary aim of which is the growth of the group.
The property bubble was under way and many construction companies were looking to add hotels to their residential complexes; the management of these hotels was handed over to chains like the Barceló Hotel Group. This collaboration between hotel companies and property developers will lead to a rapid growth in our portfolio.
In the case of Barceló, the agreement it made with FADESA is the most prominent, and this was signed with the intention of reaching 5,000 rooms within a timeframe of 5 to 7 years, with Spain and the Mediterranean basin as the preferred areas of operation. As a consequence of the agreement, a number of hotels are opened in Isla Cristina, Fuerteventura, A Coruña, Madrid, Marbella and Casablanca (Morocco), and in other cities, too.
From this time onwards, the chain opens an average of 20 hotels a year, and in 2007 it manages to incorporate as many as 40, thanks to the agreement it makes with Paramount Hotels, opening 20 hotels in the United Kingdom.
Renovation takes over from expansion
Starting in 2010, coinciding with the start of the economic crisis, expansion is to stagnate and, when contracts expire, the decision is made to dispense with some establishments that are no longer profitable.
The chain, which has maintained a sound financial position thanks to its strict management policies, decides to take advantage of a drop in the occupancy of some of its hotels to carry out renovation work. The plan is that these hotels will be completely refurbished by the end of the crisis in order to be able to offer a product of the highest quality.
Over a period of 7 years, the chain was to invest 1 billion Euros in the refurbishment of some of its most iconic hotels, such as the Barceló Bávaro Grand Resort (Dominican Republic), the Barceló Maya Beach Resort (Mexico), the Barceló Sants (Barcelona), the Barceló Castillo Beach Resort (Fuerteventura), the Barceló Hamilton Menorca and the Barceló Montecastillo Golf (Cadiz), and many more.
The United States, another country altogether
In 2014, the Barceló Hotel Group decided to sell part of Barceló Crestline, its US subsidiary, while maintaining 40% of its shares.
With this transaction, although the chain has continued to maintain an interest in North America, where it operates 74 hotels, it made the decision to divide the communication between them. From then onward it states that it owns 95 hotels in 16 countries and that, indirectly, it has a further 74 in the US.
By banking on growth in the USA, the Barceló Hotel Group became the leading Spanish hotel chain in the world’s foremost market, with hotels for both vacations and business (including 3 convention centers).
The end of the crisis? Expansion is reactivated and... a change in paradigm is observed
After a few years of a slowdown in expansion, in spite of the acquisition of some major hotels in Italy, Germany, Greece and the Czech Republic, the chain started the year 2015 with the announcement of six new projects, something that had not happened since the start of the crisis. Two hotels in the center of Madrid, one in the Eixample district of Barcelona, the first 5-star hotel in Tenerife, and two hotels in Algeria, reflect an apparent reactivation of the market, which has led the chain to continue its expansion.
The chain also reaches an agreement with the shareholders of the hotel company Occidental Hotels Management, to acquire 100% of the company’s assets. Occidental Hotels Management has over 4,000 rooms in 13 hotels, located in Mexico (6 hotels and 2,054 rooms), the Dominican Republic (2 hotels and 1,130 rooms), Costa Rica (2 hotels and 459 rooms), Aruba (one hotel and 368 rooms), Colombia (one hotel and 164 rooms), and Panama (one hotel and 143 rooms).
2016: a leading name in the international hotel business, and diversification of branding
By incorporating Occidental Hotels into the Barceló Hotel Group’s portfolio, it became necessary to divide their establishments by types to better satisfy the needs of travelers who are increasingly discerning and innovative.
As a result, a new brand architecture is developed:
1. Royal Hideaway, Luxury Hotels & Resorts. Hotels whose great character makes them a destination, giving tradition its due place and pursuing a kind of luxury that is not ostentatious, but refined and discreet.
2. The new Barceló Hotels & Resorts generation. The original essence; a portfolio of hotels that are steeped in proximity, imagination and ongoing improvement.
3. Occidental Hotels & Resorts. A selection of accommodation designed by and for the guest, for them to experience the most contemporary comfort and tranquility.
4. Allegro Hotels. Fun and enthusiasm reign supreme in these hotels that are enemies of boredom, and are located in destinations with rich flora and sprawling beaches offering adventure, shows and enjoyment in equal measures.
Philosophy and values
An ethical code of its own, and the commitments undertaken by subscribing to the Code of Conduct of the Tourism Sector against the Sexual Exploitation of Children and the Global Agreement on Human Rights and the Environment (Kyoto Protocol), guide the conduct of all the people who make up the Barceló Hotel Group.
Within the framework of its corporate social responsibility and its commitment to society and the environment, it collaborates with non-profit organizations of social relevance such as Fundación Integra and Fundosa for the integration of excluded groups into the workforce of the Company (ONCE Foundation).
The company’s top objective is to position itself as a brand and company standard within the national and international tourism sector, and to ensure that each and every one of its projects is profitable. It also aims to give value to its expansive experience in vacation and city hotel management, to satisfy the expectations of its main clients (guests, shareholders, employees, partners and collaborators, suppliers and public administrations), and to seize business opportunities.
Its expansion-driven nature affords it a philosophy of opening up new markets and being a pioneer in launching new and innovative products and services. Finally, the Barceló Hotel Group seeks to contribute to the well-being and social, political and economic development in the countries in which it has a presence.
The Barceló Foundation is a non-profit organization founded in 1989 by the Barceló family, which is active mainly in countries ranking lower than 100 on the Human Development Index produced by the UNDP (United Nations Development Program).
Its goal is to undertake projects that contribute to the improvement of society as a whole, with a focus on the areas of health, education, economic development and housing. In addition, artistic and cultural activities take place in Majorca, where the head office is based.
Cooperative activities are mainly undertaken in countries most in need in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa.