Luis Riu: We are undertaking the recovery this summer with 76 hotels opendate_range 25 May, 2021 question_answer 3 Comments
This is a post that I’ve been wanting to write for some time. Today, after 15 months of a crisis that has shaken our business from top to bottom, we can finally start talking about recovery. It will still be quite some time before we can consider the battle won, but with our characteristic proactiveness and optimism, we’re betting on the maximum reopening of our hotels, and today we can announce that we will start out the month of June with 76 hotels open in 15 countries.
In total, between May 20 and June 5, we will open 17 hotels:
- Eight of them are in Spain, where the ability to work this summer season is crucial.
- Four in Bulgaria.
- One each in the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Panama and Jamaica, with which we will complete the opening of all our hotels in America.
- And, lastly, we will open the Riu Plaza Dublin.
Spain: RIU hotels are expecting strong demand to reactivate shortly
Until today, it was imperative to speak very conservatively. We knew that 2021 was not going to be an easy year for RIU. This pandemic has taught us how to turn 180º in a matter of hours. Adapt, bring out our charitable side and be patient, the latter being something that was very hard for me personally. That’s why today I want to allow myself to show to my joy, because what I have to share with you is good news for each and every one of us, and we deserve to celebrate it.
Opening a hotel means that its staff comes back to work. Each one of our employees returns to work with their co-workers, to the excitement of seeing customers again and to resuming their daily lives to the greatest extent possible. At the same time, we have taken the decision to remove practically all employees of the central services, both those working in Spain and those abroad, from the ERTE (Temporary Workforce Restructuring Plan, a legal framework in Spain that has served to implement the reductions in working hours and salary during the crisis). These have been many months of hard work and commitment on their part, which we want to recognize by restoring their working conditions to pre-crisis levels.
Good perspectives for RIU hotels in Andalusia and in the islands.
As of today, the numbers still do not reflect the recovery. But, in recent weeks, several pieces of good news for the sector have come out that allow us to make positive forecasts. With the end to the state of emergency in Spain, a certain degree of mobility between provinces has been recovered, something that is very important for the hotels in Andalusia. Our customers in the Netherlands can also start to travel to the Canary Islands and the Balearics, as can those in Belgium to Malaga, as that country that has also resumed operations with the city. From the United Kingdom, we have gotten the green light for Portugal, and perhaps in coming weeks the Spanish islands can also be added.
This is very important news for the sector, but the reality is that these events still haven’t translated into the volume of bookings budgeted at the beginning of the year. Nonetheless, we wanted to make our offer available to our customers with the expectation of a strong uptick in demand. I always say, and I don’t mind repeating myself: together with my sister Carmen Riu, we are a company characterized by action. Anyone who comes to see us will find us open for business and hard at work.
The Americas: RIU will be the first Spanish chain to reopen all its hotels
As for long-haul travel from Europe to America, we will still have to wait to see reactivation. But what is working very well is our clientele in the United States. They never stopped travelling, but ever since the vaccination rate started picking up, a rebound in bookings has been noted. Thanks to this and to the loyal local markets in the different countries, especially our cherished Mexican guests, in a matter of days we will become the first Spanish chain to reactivate its entire offer in America.
That means 42 hotels located in both the Caribbean and on the Pacific coast: United States, Mexico, Panama, Costa Rica, Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Aruba. This is excellent news, as there were hotels that had not been able to reopen since shutting down in March 2020. All the teams are excited and working hard on the reopening.
“We won’t rest until we manage to reopen all the RIU hotels”
As a counterbalance to the good news, there are destinations with a more complicated situation. Whether it is because they depend exclusively from long-haul travel due to lack of an internal market and their traditional source markets are paralyzed, or due to other difficulties that put them at the bottom of the reactivation lists of tour operators and airlines. I want to send a message of encouragement to all of them because, for us, the goal is to reopen all the hotels, and we won’t rest until we achieve it.
Let’s not forget that the pandemic is still in force. We are going to continue to be alert and ready to react to any eventuality. No one can assure us that we won’t be obliged to take a step backward again. But I insist that the situation today is the best it has been since the crisis started, for several reasons. On the one hand, the pace of vaccination is increasing in both the destination and source countries and, on the other, we have gained some very valuable experience. There is now much greater scientific knowledge about the virus, all of us are accustomed to living with it at work and in our lives and, lastly, we have safety and hygiene protocols for our hotels that have proven very effective in the past year.
So, we are going to let ourselves be carried forward by the wind in our favour to make our 2021 projects a reality. If it changes direction, I know that we can count on a very capable and committed professional team to spring into action once more. So, again, let’s keep taking care of each other, and many thanks to all of you.
Fdo. Luis Riu