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SPOTLIGHT ON Jesus Zalvidea, Director of Grand Palladium Costa Mujeres

By Sharon Hirschowitz, Global Head of Media & Communications for The International Luxury Hotel Association
26 February 2021
7 min read
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Talking trends, sustainability and wellness and preparing for the year ahead.

What trends in the luxury hotel industry do you see coming out of the pandemic?
As travelers begin to ease back into taking international trips, many are looking to visit destinations and stay at properties that will offer privacy, personalized experiences, and a stress-free and safe vacation. Travelers are also paying closer attention to sanitation protocols and social distancing as a priority when selecting their vacation destinations.

Some of the trends that are here to stay are active travel, travel bubbles, and micro weddings. Travelers are opting for larger properties which naturally are more conducive to social distancing. A great example is Grand Palladium Costa Mujeres Resort & Spa, which offers 365 acres by the sea and over 3,280 feet of coastline..

Destinations like Puerto Vallarta, Costa Mujeres, and Punta Cana are perfect for travelers looking for secluded getaways with Palladium Hotel Group. For example, properties like the adults-only TRS Cap Cana Hotel offer privacy and personalized attention, all the perks of a boutique stay but in an all-inclusive hotel. Located in one of the most exclusive parts of Punta Cana, on the Dominican Republic’s east coast, the hotel is surrounded by 6,177 acres of lush tropical forest next to a long pristine beach.

As travelers continue to find ways to adjust to the new norm, we are seeing an increased interest in intimate, smaller-scale weddings, best known as micro-weddings. Planning a destination wedding during these times might seem stressful but  Weddings by Palladium, designed by renowned party guru Karen Bussen, takes the stress out of planning a destination wedding. The program offers a one-top-shop concept and dedicated wedding coordinators.

Have you made any changes to your operations to pivot your business? What initiatives are driving success for your property?
In the commitment to ensuring the wellbeing and safety of guests, Palladium Hotel Group is offering free medical care insurance, Stay Safe Plus. The insurance will protect guests against any unforeseen circumstances from the current health emergency. The insurance comes in addition to the development of strict Health & Safety Protocols certified by SGS, the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company recognized as the global benchmark for quality and integrity. In addition, the hotel group has created the Palladium Hotel Group Global Customer Experience and Safety Council, which is composed of Chief Operating Officers, Commercial Directors, Quality Directors and Food & Beverage Directors of all company brands and hotels across all Palladium Hotel Group markets, as well as independent technical advisers.

Palladium Hotel Group continues to prioritize the health and safety of guests with new cleanliness protocols and employee training. The protocols put in place include rigorous cleaning, disinfection, and hand sanitizer dispensers in all areas, expansion of medical services, social distancing and capacity control, high level of food safety standards, and more. Staff is equipped with infrared thermometers to conduct temperature checks, especially in entrance areas and closed spaces such as restaurants, gyms, spas and children’s areas. The hotel group is also disinfecting the air and placing atmosphere purifiers. Another way Palladium Hotel Group continues to innovate is with their Pure Rooms, perfectly designed for people with allergies the room goes through a seven-step sanitizing process, creating a healthier and allergen-free environment.

How important are wellness and sustainability to your guests right now?
A trend that is here to stay is wellness travel and sustainable tourism. Palladium Hotel Group is committed to sustainability and this year won the “President’s Award for Sustainable Tourism” at the 2020 Travvy Awards. This award recognizes Palladium Hotel Group’s environmental efforts. The hotel group has launched the Palladium ‘Feeling Green’ initiative, which includes a sustainability policy to eliminate single-use plastics at many of its resorts worldwide. The initiative also features events to honor worldwide environmental observances.

On the topic of wellness, Palladium Hotel Groups exclusive, innovative and peaceful, Zentropia Palladium Spa & Wellness offers a luxury spa and wellness centre, perfect for wellness escapes. With more than 4740 m2, it is a space devoted to relaxation and wellbeing, equipped with special cabins for beauty treatments and a wonderful thermal zone. A team of highly professional therapists will be pleased to revitalize the body and soul. Facilities and services include hydrotherapy areas such as hot tubs, pool, sauna and steam baths.

After long quarantines people are also searching for active travel experiences that connect them to nature and beautiful locations. The Rafa Nadal Tennis Centre, located in Costa Mujeres, is a prime example of an upcoming trend that is here to stay: active and health-driven travel. The Rafa Nadal Tennis Centreis the first and only of Nadal’s facilities in North America. The facility has eight flood-lit clay tennis courts, a soccer pitch, one paddle court, a gym for warm-ups, stretches and basic training, a premium sports shop, and programs for pros and amateurs, children and adults created by Nadal and his team.

How are you planning for 2021?
Palladium Hotel Group continues taking travelers priorities into account for 2021 planning, knowing the importance of flexibility, health and safety advancements and how that impacts every aspect of trip planning. We are also working to make sure our accommodations and activities can help guests maximize their trips while guaranteeing their wellbeing and safety, and satisfying their wanderlust. Knowing that traveling to Caribbean islands will continue to be a trend for 2021 we are prioritizing these properties as well.

Palladium Hotel Group continues innovating the hospitality industry and staying ahead of the trends. Now, more than ever, travelers are looking for personalized experiences, privacy, unique amenities and the reassurance of a safe and unforgettable vacation. Our unique offerings cater to those needs like our Family Selection Program, which provides families with the VIP treatment and unique amenities and surprises tailored to a variety of ages, as well as the Infinite Indulgence program which provides guests with a personal butler, and complimentary shuttle service within the complex and 24‑hour room service.

In 2021, we will continue to remain committed to our guests’ satisfaction while understanding the difficulties the travel industry experienced in 2020. We will also continue to pay close attention to trends like social distancing and safety protocols as well as update any procedures in place to adjust to any safety advancements. We understand that unforeseen and unexpected situations can sometimes arise that can thwart guests’ vacations and make guests hesitant to book their next trip. For that reason, through the end of the year and going into 2021, we will provide guests with security at the time of booking by offering a safe and transparent cancellation policy. If guests need to cancel their stay, they can do so depending on the hotel they are booked to and can cancel up to 48 hours before the date of their arrival.

The mission is to support and further the growth and development of the wellness tourism industry through networking, education research and communication.
The objectives are to bring clarification to the industry thru definitions and standards and as well as educate consumers and travel agents to recognize legitimate and credible wellness suppliers and operators.

Membership is open to qualifying destination marketing organizations, hotels and resorts, destination spas, tour operators, travel advisors, wellness educators and others with an interest in supporting the industry and helping shape its future and sustainability.
In celebration of its third year of operation, the WTA has partnered with The Travel Institute on a Wellness Travel Specialist Course.

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