The Business Year

Xavier Catalí 

SPAIN - Tourism

Xavier Catalí 

CEO, Hotels VIVA

Bio

Xavier Català, a graduate in economics and philosophy from the University of Navarra and executive master’s MSc in finance from HEC Paris Business School, has more than 15 years of experience in the tourism sector in the Balearic Islands and the Caribbean, most of them in strategic positions at Hotels VIVA. Currently, as CEO of the hotel chain, he is leading the process of digital transformation, marketing, and reorganization of resources.

Hotel VIVA continues to place its customers at the center of its decisions, even in terms of its digitalization efforts and ensuring more sustainable operations.

Hotels VIVA is a well-positioned hotel chain brand on the island. What has its trajectory been like before reaching your current positioning?

Hotels VIVA is a family-owned business, with the family having been both in the tourism and construction sectors for more than 40 years. As a brand, Hotels VIVA was created 20 years ago. Currently, the company owns six hotels under the Hotels VIVA brand, and we have a stake in the Caribbean in Excellent Resorts. That gives us a significant capacity to implement in Mallorca some of the trends being implemented in the Caribbean. There are certain areas in which the Caribbean is one step ahead and vice versa, and great synergies are created by being present in both locations at the same time. Currently, it is key to have a sustainability proposition in your hotels, and this is something that we have focused on. Hotels VIVA has always focused on the importance of protecting the environment of the island. Taking care of our ecosystem has always been part of our DNA as a company. There are many requirements to build and revamp hotels now all in a bid to preserve the island. Our facilities have many outdoor locations, for example. Almost everyone in Mallorca today understands the importance of protecting the ecosystem.

How is digitalization being embraced at Hotels VIVA?

Hotels VIVA has accelerated its digitalization efforts. For example, a QR code can be applied to see our menu, and services as food and beverage can be included via cellphones while sunbathing by the pool. To become an important tourism destination, one needs to digitalize their services. We have divided our digitalization strategy in three areas: internal operations, customer experiences, and commercial purposes. In terms of internal operations, we have a system through which we have significantly reduced the number of paper invoices. Invoices are now sent digitally. Our maintenance teams check daily the energy consumption with a dedicated software to optimize our resources. In terms of the customer experience, guests come to Mallorca to relax. We have check-in and check-out services that can be done online, though we cannot do away with the human touch. And then there is the commercialization area, which has grown due to the pandemic. There are much more online reservations, and we have doubled our growth in online reservations.

What is your long-term view of the tourism sector of Mallorca?

We are extremely positive about the future of Mallorca. Whenever there was been a window of opportunity to travel during the pandemic, many tourists started to come. People look forward to traveling. At a psychological level, people need to travel. Many are even willing to pay slightly more and come to Mallorca. We are extremely well positioned to continue to be a key destination in the Mediterranean. The sector has invested heavily in improving its services. In addition, there has been a heavy focus in Mallorca to invest in sustainability. We are working to have solar facilities in all our hotels; for example, we already have installed in two of them and in the next couple of years, they will be installed in the rest of hotels, which will mean charging stations for electric vehicles completely free of charge for our guests. Sustainability is the right path. You have to progress in that area if you want to have a destination of quality. There is a consensus over the fact that the islands need to attract guests who are willing to pay more for a better service. At the same time, there are extremely large high-end brands arriving in Mallorca, and that will improve our competitiveness. We continue to have hotels that have a unique location, and we must seize on that opportunity. We are committed to continually investing in our hotels every year and promoting a more sustainable operation. 

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