SILVIA VAREA ORTEGA
Sales and Marketing Manager at Aranzazu Hotels
Today we approach Aranzazu Hotels to interview Silvia Varea Ortega, Sales and Marketing Manager of this hotel group.
Silvia has for more than 10 years been part of this group; made up of hotels with 5 and 4-star ratings in Bilbao, San Sebastian and Haro (La Rioja). We are referring to the Carlton and Abando Hotels situated in Bilbao, the Hotel San Sebastian locate in San Sebastian and Los Agustinos Hotel located in Haro.
Three very interesting tourist locations. Bilbao and San Sebastian with a demand for urban-based tourism, cultural and about business. And Haro with a demand for tourism connected to the world of Oenology and bodegas, seeing as it finds itself at the epicentre of one of the most important wine growing regions in Spain as well as in Europe.
What is your day to day like, heading the department of sales and marketing for the Aranzazu hotel group?
Both very busy and amusing. With the hotels being located in different cities, and all with different needs… No two days are the same! If we add the promotional trips abroad to this… There is never time to for monotony…
Is there much difference in the type of guests depending on the hotel and location on?
No, not on location, given that all four are in the centre of their respective cities, it’s more to do with the reason for travel and the category of the establishment: four or five-star ratings.
At tourism level and from your experience, how would you rate the growing demand on tourism experienced by the Aranzazu hotels in the last few years?
Positive and sustained. We are growing and increasingly a more popular region for international travellers, even though there is still a lot to do.
I suppose over the course of these years you have had to tailor the hotel group offer in order to meet a changing demand. What are the most important milestones that you remember with regards to this?
Of course, we have been adapting to the needs of our guests, an essential condition in being able to meet their expectations. Provide a dynamic webpage with the best offers for our guests. Open and update profiles on social networks to inform and to listen … and, of course, to refurbish our facilities and improve our customer service on a daily basis.
It appears that the Basque Autonomous Community is positioning itself, increasingly as an interesting destination for event agencies and for businesses wanting to host congresses and all types of activities. Do you agree with this assertion? And how do you, as a hotel group, focus on this kind of demand?
Given that we are increasingly a more popular destination, more requests of this type are made now than years ago, but as I said before, there is still a long way to go…
On our end, we always give our best offer of service proposals taking into account that this type of tourism on the rise is also a priority for the city, and to strengthen our destination in this segment of tourism is a long-term commitment.
You form part of the Bilbao Convention Bureau, a society whose objective is to promote the city of Bilbao as a venue for business meetings, what does being part of Bilbao Convention Bureau offer you? And what do you, as a group, have to offer to the Bilbao Convention Bureau?
We are members of the BCB for many years and collaborate with them in promotional activities abroad. We are also in continuous contact supporting nominations at events, congresses, sports events … for the ones applied for.
Given that the Carlton Hotel is the most experienced tourist establishment in the city, we offer experience, and together with the Abando Hotel, permanently collaborate with the BCB.
In the same way at the San Sebastian Hotel we collaborate with the San Sebastian Convention Bureau.
On the other hand, how do you understand the relationship between entities like your group and companies like Troka Abentura who are dedicated to organising activities for groups of companies? Have you both considered some kind of collaboration?
EI understand the need to collaborate and pull together to secure nominations for our region. With help also from the DMC’s, we can put together valuable proposals for potential clients.
What do you understand are the next moves that Basque tourist sector companies and institutions need to make in order to face the next few years?