Interview: General Manager of Aranwa Hotel Resorts & Spa
Courtyard of Aranwa Sacred Valley. (Photo: aranwahotels.com)
February 2, 2012
Gabriel Alvarez is General Manager of Aranwa Hotel Resorts & Spa and oversees their current hotels in Cusco city, the Sacred Valley and Vichayito, a paradisiacal beach town south of Mancora, Piura. He undertook a Degree in Economics at the University of Cambridge and studied hospitality and marketing at the Institut Hôtelier César Ritz.
At Aranwa, Gabriel is in charge of the marketing and sales efforts of the group, as well as the positioning of the hotel’s spa and wellness brand. Indeed, what makes Aranwa stand out from the rest is their high-quality facilities and treatments, including Andean Exclusivities, a range of therapies developed upon the principles of Andean traditions.
Gabriel kindly answered some questions about Aranwa and their latest developments. For more on his personal trajectory and what pleasurable pastimes he enjoys when his hectic schedule permits, check out the rest of our interview here.
Tell us a little about your day-to-day work with Aranwa:
We are currently doing strategic planning for Aranwa hotels and how its growth will be in 5 to 10 years; so all days are fully loaded. It can include a meeting with the sales team to see how the month’s sales are going for the properties and the according forecasts; then a meeting with the marketing team for the new campaigns we are doing (rolling them out two months in advance).
Also, discussing the Colca project with an architect and remind her that the $500,000 bed lamp does not exactly fit in with our projections. Then we have weekly quality of service meetings and calls with the managers of each hotel. I read up hotel and marketing blogs as well, don’t want to miss out on new trends. Oh, and Tweet about it. A lot.
What does "wellness" mean to you and how has it been a part of the philosophy behind Aranwa?
Wellness can be applied to all areas in life; it’s not just about physical or mental health of an individual, which in my case involves sports, gym and generally relieving the stress of the j.o.b. In a company, in Aranwa, it means caring about the wellbeing of the people that work with you and the communities that surround your business.
How are things coming along with the Colca and Paracas properties?
The Colca hotel is about 50% underway, we should finish construction at the end of November then start equipping and testing the hotel, and the opening will be February/March 2013. It will be a 41-room Lodge & Spa, situated in the Coporaque region adjacent to a river and encompassing natural waterways and terraces.
We are beginning construction in the Paracas Resort & Spa in late February this year. The hotel should be completed in two years, featuring 100 rooms and suites, an on-site museum, spa with locally sourced products and events & conferences facilities.
Tell us about the guests who stay at Aranwa. Are they mostly foreign; do you see more Peruvians seeking out hotel options such as Aranwa?
In the Cusco and Sacred Valley locations about 65% of our guests come from outside Peru. In Vichayito this ratio is the other way around. We do feel that domestic tourism has the potential to increase in the following years, however that is contingent on infrastructure, better flight connections and airfares. As income grows the demand for properties such as ours in the luxury market grows as well.
Why do guests come to Aranwa? Are there any specific accommodations you see are most popular or is it the atmosphere that guests enjoy the most?
As a hotel chain you can no longer brand yourself with only experiences or the highest level of service. Those aspects are now expected by all travelers, and the words have even become a commodity of sorts in advertisements. In that sense, the wellness aspect that we offer both in the Sacred Valley with the spa and tranquility and in Cusco with the oxygenated rooms and spa bathrooms are what brings the difference.
Leave a comment. It will be sent to a moderator for approval. We do not publish profanity or offensive remarks. We only publish comments in English.