Getting Stronger
    Category: Companies & People By : Sonya Angraini Read : 1060 Date : Tuesday, March 15, 2016 - 05:16:26

    Ahmad Zamroni / Forbes Indonesia

    Gabriel Escarrer Jaume, chief executive of Meliá Hotels International (MHI), has a goal for his guests: “You need to come back with something special, not only in your luggage, but in your heart as well.” Based on this value, Gabriel wants guests not to see his hotel as providing a commodity—a place to stay—but providing a memorable experience. He says innovation and creativity is the key to do this, by providing notable concepts in terms of food, beverages, entertainment, spas and other facilities. “Once you reach their heart, they will become loyal customers,” says Gabriel, 44, who was appointed as chief executive in 1999.

    Founded in Spain in 1956 by his father Gabriel Escarrer Juliá—one of the world’s billionaires with $1.6 billion net worth and chairman of the company—MHI has more than 300 hotels and resorts in 42 countries. “Our family is committed to this industry,” he says. The company took a big step by going public in Spain in 1996, with the Escarrer family holding a 60% share. “The good thing about being a family-owned and at the same time a public company is that you have a long-term view and in terms of reputation and corporate governance, the right decisions are taken,” Gabriel explains.

    MHI has posted good numbers. Its share price is up about 100% since 2012. The company also booked $1.45 billion in revenue as of September last year, up 15% from the same period in 2014 on the back of higher RevPAR (Revenue Per Available Room). The hotel business, the largest part of the business owned by Meliá, demonstrated an 11% increase in RevPAR. “What is driving most of this growth is Southeast Asia and Spain,” Gabriel says.

    For the company to grow, he notes that it needs to be strategic, sustainable and profitable. MHI is already among the top five hotel groups in Europe and now it wants to strength en its presence outside the continent. One third of this development will be based in Asia, both in existing and new countries, with top priorities being China, Indonesia and Vietnam. Today, around 60% of the company’s portfolio is resorts, which contributes around 62% in operating profit as of last year. The rest is city hotels. “We want to keep the same balance,” says Gabriel. For the city hotels, the company is developing a concept called “bleasure,” a mix between business and leisure. “The hotel needs to be an anchor where things are happening,” says Gabriel.

    The company is serious about Indonesia. In just less than six months, it has already signed agreements with local partners to develop two hotels. In January, the company announced that it would operate a new resort under the Meliá Hotels & Resorts brand in Gili Tangkong, an almost deserted 15-hectare island in Lombok. The resort is owned by PT Martel (Meta Archipelago Hotels), a member of the Medco group. Meliá Lombok is expected to open in 2018, with 65 individual luxury villas, several built on stilts over the sea or with their own private pool. The resort will also offer numerous facilities, such as a hilltop viewing deck, a spa with open-air spaces, marina, helipad, panoramic sea views and entertainment facilities.

    In October last year, the company built a city hotel under the Innside brand in Bandung with Rp 495 billion in investment. The hotel will be a joint investment with the MAJ Collections Hotels & Residences developed by MAJ, owned by the Ancora group. Built at Puncak Dago, the hotel is aimed to be a landmark in North Bandung as it offers many facilities. The construction is expected to finish in 2017. “The city dynamics, superior quality, stunning design and urban lifestyle will create a special combination,” says Gabriel