Interview with Ane Ugarte: Fitur 2017

Madrid closes Fitur 2017, considered on of the main events of the tourism industry. The trade show this year saw over 245000 visitors, breaking new participation records after a fantastic 2016 for the tourism sector in Spain, with over 75 million international tourists.

We took this opportunity to interview our Director of Sales & Marketing, Ane Ugarte in regards to the repercussion of the trade show, and why is it important for Bahía del Duque to be a part of this event, where another 9671 companies from 165 countries participated.

After an intense week, what has marked this 27th edition of Fitur? What conclusions can we draw? 

Fitur is the first trade show of the year and it gives us a glimpse into what the sales trends for the different markets will look like. We have just finished 2016, what was an extraordinary year for Spain, and on the other hand we have the uncertainty of what will happen in 2017 with the new geopolitical variables that have taken place around the world.

Fitur is a meeting point for professionals of the industry to strengthen relationships and have those very important face-to-face meetings that are key in our business.

2016 has been a record year for tourism in the Canary Islands, in both visitors and revenue. What has been the key to success for the archipelago?

I believe the key lies in several factors. On the one hand, the very close collaboration between the public and private sectors in regards to international promotion. On the other hand, the enthusiasm of businesses who continue to innovate and invest in new and existing products.

With the added consistent work and presence in international markets, we have seen the destination become consolidated. 2016 also saw the drop of several competing markets due to geopolitical and safety issues that helped increase the demand of the islands, however I think that things are being done properly on the islands by all those involved, both destination wise and in the private sector.

The improvement of airline connections has also played a very important role, it is the gateway that allows us to develop or consolidate a new or existing market.

What are the challenges that the Canary Islands must establish as a destination in this New Year?

The challenges are always to continuously improve the product, infrastructure and the leisure/cultural offer, without forgetting the Canarian uniqueness of being a warm and friendly destination for those who visit us.

In regards to sustainability, it’s surprising the amount of companies in Tenerife that apply these measures, there is certainly great awareness and our guests really value it.

This combination of continuous improvement, new products and services and working alongside different business partners I believe is the key to the success of the destination.

The United Nations has declared 2017 the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. How much has this influenced Fitur 2017?

A great deal. Our guests want to know how they can contribute in the improvement of the destinations they visit and at the same time how they can add value to the local community.

We are in the era where the approach of the new generations will be to make a more responsible use of our resources on the one hand, and on the other hand the need and wish to help local communities. This new generation of clients has a greater social awareness and understanding of corporate responsibility.

How does this affect the Bahía del Duque in terms of sustainability?

For us in has a very positive effect, for many years now we have had a defined plan of activities and practices that result in a better use of resources and in helping the local community as well as other countries with specific needs such as child education, among others.

Our team, as well as our staff, and our guests, we all feel a great sense of satisfaction towards this commitment.

Bahía del Duque has been attending Fitur for 22 years. What can we conclude from our participation in this edition?

Pretty much since the opening of the Hotel, the Spanish market was our starting point. We are a Canarian and Spanish product, and so this market has been and still is very important to us. We owe this market a lot.

Over the years Fitur has grown and become more international, and this benefits us as we receive agents and tour operators from other countries.

We know that the exchange of experiences is an essential element in this type of trade show. What alliances have we been able to establish and what effects can we hope to achieve?

In terms of experiences, it’s a matter of combining the software and hardware to achieve the uniqueness of treatment, service and experience in all the processes of the guest’s stay. From the minute they arrive at the door, until they leave, every minute and interaction with our employees is something that emotionally touches the guest making them feel unique. On the other hand, every minute that the guests spends with us in the Hotel, must be a delight for the senses.

This completes the unique traditional experience of Canarian hospitality of which we are all so proud.

We have seen in the trade fair a larger number of technological companies. What importance are they acquiring in the tourism sector?

The role of technology is increasing in the day to day processes of the tourism industry, and it is also changing how our guests use it, it is part of the inspiration, search and planning stages, as well as the purchase and post-purchase phase of sharing what they have experience. Technology is present in each of these. We must adapt our marketing tools so they are present in all these stages.

As Andy Stalman, expert in branding and marketing, has stated “we have to combine both the online and the offline, so that they are both fully compatible processes in order to make the experience and language unique to the customer”.

The conclusions of Fitur, do they modify the hotel’s strategy for 2017?

Not really modify, but it helps us keep in mind different economic, market, and political factors amongst others, in order to make the best decisions in the precise moments.

The tourism market is very alive and changes very quickly, what we did yesterday might not work tomorrow, but that is precisely what makes this industry so exciting, the constant movement.