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Alejandro Morales Gonzalez

COLOMBIA - Tourism

Alejandro Morales González

Executive Vice President, Germán Morales Hoteles (GMH)

Bio

As Executive Vice President of GMH, Alejandro Morales González heads the hotel organization that his father founded in 1968. He has close to 40 years of experience in the Colombian hotel industry and is a recognized leader in the sector.

"The hotel industry has experienced significant changes worldwide, with the emergence of alternative accommodation options such as daily rental apartments offered by platforms such as Airbnb and other companies."
By embracing innovation and exploring diverse accommodation options, GMH has been able to position itself for success in an ever-evolving hospitality landscape.
Can you elaborate more on how GMH was started and how the company is today?

Our company has a rich history, founded by my father nearly 55 years ago. Over the years, my brothers joined the company, and I am proud to currently serve as its CEO. Currently, GMH operates 12 hotels in Colombia, with a total of almost 700 rooms. 2022 was a successful year for us, as the economy in Colombia was doing well; however, we anticipate a decline in sales and occupancy in 2023 due to an expected slowdown of the economy. Despite these challenges, we remain committed to navigating the changing economic landscape and providing exceptional service to our guests.

Does the company have any plans to expand its operation in the Colombian market, including new hotel openings or renovations?

Attracting investors for new hotel investments is currently challenging, as one of the issues we face in Colombia is that our rates are comparatively low compared to other Latin American countries or countries in Europe, where payments are made in euros. The return on investment for new hotels in Colombia is not that promising. The rapid increase in construction costs, coupled with slow rate growth, has, therefore, resulted in a sluggish rate of return on investment. As a result, I anticipate modest growth of the industry in the next four to five years. We will closely monitor the economic policies and market trends to adapt our strategies and continue to strive for success in the ever-changing landscape of the hospitality industry in Colombia.

Can you elaborate on the company’s diversification strategy and how it aligns with its overall growth strategy?

The hotel industry has experienced significant changes worldwide, with the emergence of alternative accommodation options such as daily rental apartments offered by platforms such as Airbnb and other companies. Just a decade ago, it was unimaginable that these alternatives would become as popular and robust as they are today. This shifting market landscape has redefined our traditional notion of accommodation, expanding beyond hotels to include apartments, small residences, and other innovative solutions. As we navigate this evolving market, we must consider that part of our company’s growth may come from exploring opportunities beyond traditional hotels. We need to be open to exploring different avenues and adapt our strategies accordingly.

In this challenging and dynamic competitive market, how does GMH maintain its competitive edge?

Marketing and sales are crucial aspects of our business, and we recognize their significance. In fact, our company performed exceptionally well in terms of occupancy in 2022, outperforming our competition. Our market strength, excellent customer service, and meticulous maintenance are the pillars of our success. Maintenance is a critical factor in the longevity of hotels, and we recognize its importance and prioritize it in our operations. Our approach to hotel management is focused on the long-term, understanding that maintenance plays a pivotal role in ensuring the continued success and sustainability of our properties. By prioritizing marketing and sales, excellent customer service, and meticulous maintenance, we aim to continue thriving in the competitive hospitality industry and delivering exceptional experiences to our guests for years to come.

What are your short-term plans for the coming years?

We eagerly await the policies and strategies that the new government in Colombia will establish for the economy. It is crucial for us to have a clear understanding of the direction in which our country is headed and the potential opportunities for new investors and local resources; however, due to the current lack of clear rules for investors, we have decided to exercise caution and remain vigilant in the coming months. As a company, we are optimistic about the potential focus on tourism as one of the goals of the new government. We are committed to working collaboratively with both the private and public sectors to achieve the best possible outcomes for our country.

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