We celebrate World Tourism Day
The tourism industry celebrates its big day every year on 27th September: a very special occasion for those of us who live in the northern hemisphere to bid farewell to the summer season and welcome tourists from all countries south of the equator.
At Servigroup Hotels, we have decided to commemorate International Tourism Day by bringing together four of the company's most experienced hotel managers so that they can offer us a personal insight into the resorts where their hotels are based. They are all in charge of one or more 4-star hotels (superior 4-star hotels in the cases of Hotel Servigroup Zenia and Hotel Servigroup Papa Luna).
Our hotel managers
For this publication on the subject of World Tourism Day, we will be talking to Manuel Ventura, area manager for South Alicante and Costa Cálida, who runs Hotels Servigroup La Zenia (Orihuela Costa) and Servigroup Galúa (La Manga); Juan Arcega, area manager for Costa Azahar in charge of Hotels Servigroup Papa Luna (Peñíscola), Servigroup Romana (Alcocéber) and Servigroup Trinimar (Benicasim); Ricardo Escudero, area manager for Mojácar (in charge of Hotels Servigroup Marina Playa and Servigroup Marina Mar); and finally, María Reyes, the manager of Hotel Servigroup Castilla (Benidorm). They will be giving us their opinions of tourism today at their different resorts.
What best defines each resort?
Manuel Ventura: Orihuela Costa is a particularly charming spot, perfect for holidays. It's also ideal for all types of guests. It's good for sports enthusiasts, as well as being a paradise for golfers because some of the best courses in the country are to be found near La Zenia (just a few minutes from the hotel).
Hotel Servigroup Galúa, on the other hand, caters more for holiday tourism and it’s also perfect for all types of guests.
Juan Arcega: Peñíscola is a really charming town. It has a first-class safe beach right on Hotel Papa Luna’s doorstep, under the shelter of the town's well-known castle. And I say safe because it's a natural beach with shallow waters (which don’t cover you until you’ve walked quite a long way in), making it perfect for children.
What also makes it very special is its lovely old quarter, and its streets have conserved their 15th century feel, with shops selling top-quality handmade craft products.
Peñíscola is also a very popular destination because it has been used as a location for some great films over the years.
On the other hand, Alcocéber is generally visited by younger tourists, usually travelling as a family. The town's beaches are perfect for relaxing and forgetting the worries of everyday life. In particular, Cala Romana is thought to be one of the finest coves on the Spanish coast.
Benicasim is also known for its beautiful beaches and many festivals. It's a venue for all kinds of music concerts during the long sunny season.
The town also has good transport links to a number of very pretty inland towns and villages (focal points for tourism in Castellón), a pleasant car ride away through striking countryside. Segorbe, Benasal and Morella are some of the most widely visited inland towns and villages in Castellón.
Ricardo Escudero: Mojácar is an inland town with a long stretch of coastline close to it. It's also ideal for sports. In fact, professional and amateur cyclists from all over Europe opt for Mojácar as the ideal starting point for their rides.
Both of our hotels in Mojácar specialise in the cycling segment, which is one of the many reasons why our guests come back year after year.
This beautiful town also draws large numbers of motorcyclists, attracted by the local roads and the Tabernas Desert as a venue for races.
Golf is also an option and we have three outstanding 18-hole courses very near both hotels that are very popular with golfers.
Both hotels are also close to strikingly beautiful unspoilt beaches and coves where there is no overcrowding. Los Muertos, El Sombrerico and Monsul are just three of the beaches nearby where some of the most popular fun-filled water sports activities are available all year round.
María Reyes: Benidorm has everything that all the other resorts have and, as you know, it never sleeps. Hotel Servigroup Castilla is located in one of the quietest areas in the town centre.
What attracts tourists from all over the world to Benidorm is its extraordinary micro-climate. It's also suitable for all kinds of tourists thanks to the endless leisure options, bars and restaurants on offer all year round.
How would you define your resorts during the mid and low seasons?
Manuel Ventura: Hotel La Zenia is a golfing paradise in the mid and low seasons because those months coincide with the sport's high season. That's why La Zenia attracts golfers from the UK, Ireland, Sweden, Norway, Finland, the East and other countries in Europe.
Due to the flourishing retail trade in Orihuela Costa and Torrevieja, from September to June La Zenia takes on all the characteristics of an urban hotel. That's why our guests include many businessmen and women, sales reps and workers on training courses.
Hotel La Zenia’s function rooms are also a hub for companies holding meetings and/or training sessions. Many other different groups of people also use our function rooms for several days.
Weddings are held at Hotel La Zenia almost all year round, especially in spring and autumn.
Hotel Galúa, on the other hand, always closes in mid or late October, mainly because La Manga is more popular among tourists coming in spring and summer.
Juan Arcega: Peñíscola is also a popular choice for sports enthusiasts in spring and autumn and our function rooms are chosen for company meetings and get-togethers by other types of groups or associations.
Another of Peñíscola’s great attractions during the low and mid season are its hikes to Alcocéber across Sierra de Irta mountains. This spectacular hiking route amid mountains is one of the most popular activities in the town.
Alcocéber and Benicàssim also specialise in holiday tourism and so the hotels remain closed to the public for longer. Hotel Papa Luna closes for a shorter period, usually only from November to March.
Ricardo Escudero: The area around Mojácar stands out for its superb roads, offering drives of all kinds, combined with an exceptional climate. This makes the town ideal for cyclists as a starting point for rides. And, as we mentioned earlier, the staff at Hotel Marina Playa specialise in offering cycling guests everything they need, in terms of food, help with more technical matters (bicycle care and maintenance), and their physical well-being (thanks to our wellness centre and gym).
María Reyes: Benidorm is the town that never sleeps. That's why, even in the low season, a short break is always possible here for those in search of rest and relaxation, sunshine and fun.
What do your guests most expect from your hotel?
Manuel Ventura: What our guests most want is a quiet place, away from mass tourism, where they can rest and disconnect from their day-to-day lives.
Juan Arcega: Peñíscola’s visitors come in search of a perfect holiday, in keeping with what one expects of a superior 4-star hotel. Our guests always have very high expectations of the food we serve and that's why our staff works hard day-in-day-out to maintain our standards.
Ricardo Escudero: Guests from the sporting segment know that we're prepared to meet this kind of demand and so we have to fulfil their envisaged expectations. Our holiday guests come in search of 4-star service, hoping to enjoy some of Spain's most spectacular beaches in Mojácar and the whole of Cabo de Gata. Los Muertos beach is extremely popular with guests at both Marina Playa and Marina Mar.
María Reyes: Maybe because it's a smaller, more family-oriented hotel, our guests look for more personal service. Many low-season guests travel alone and stay in double rooms for long periods. And the excellent attention and service offered by our staff always encourages guests to return.
How do you think your older guests cope with the new digital age?
Manuel Ventura: At Hotel Servigroup La Zenia and Hotel Servigroup Galúa, our website and other booking portals are the main booking channels that are used. Only a few of our older guests book online and they hardly ever use new booking technologies.
Juan Arcega: At Hotels Romana and Trinimar, most bookings are also made online. However, Papa Luna still receives numerous bookings through travel agencies, although most are made online through our website and other portals. Our older guests are the ones who use conventional channels the most, perhaps because of their "distrust" of new technologies.
Ricardo Escudero: Marina Mar still receives more bookings through travel agencies than Marina Playa. In all cases, our older guests still prefer this method or, at most, they call by phone to book a stay. Only very few of them book online, although some of them do get their children, nephews and nieces or grandchildren to book a stay for them.
María Reyes: At Hotel Castilla, we have a lot of British tourists. That's why we have an extremely professional member of staff (our lovely Guest Service officer), who is responsible for helping older British guests with all their needs both at the hotel and in managing their bookings. And we're all here to help our Spanish guests with anything they might need.
Our thanks to all four of you for collaborating with us in this publication for World Tourism Day.
This day is a special occasion on which many professionals from the sector, including our four hotel managers, will be paid a special tribute of one kind or another to reward them for a whole year of hard effort and dedication, focused at all times on meeting one fundamental goal: our guests' satisfaction at all our different resorts.