Apple Leisure Group EVP and Chief Strategy Officer Javier Coll said his company is willing to strike more deals like its partnership with Choice Hotels International to increase distribution and fuel growth.
MIAMI—Apple Leisure Group EVP and Chief Strategy Officer Javier Coll said his company’s goals in recent deals to add their portfolio to Choice Hotels International’s loyalty platform and to acquire Alua Hotels & Resorts are simple: They want more guests.
He said the Choice deal just makes sense.
“The volume they have of loyal customers is huge,” he said. “That means a percentage of those customers are the right demographic for our resorts. At the end of the day, we need new distribution channels. That’s a new channel for us.”
Coll said he’d be willing to do more deals like the alliance with Choice, provided the company he partners with similarly is not a competitor in the resort space.
“If we have one empty room, any deal that provides customers to our hotels is a good deal; that’s our rationale,” he said. “If we don’t compete in resorts, then we’d absolutely partner. I need to fill rooms. So if it comes at the right rate, we’ll recreate (this deal) with other companies.”
The vertically integrated hospitality management group will continue looking for opportunities to acquire complementary companies, Coll said, noting the deal for Spain-based Alua opened up significant opportunities in Europe, with projects in Greece, Turkey and Portugal.
He said his company’s quest for growth is never-ending.
“All the time, there’s something new,” he said. “We’re constantly looking for opportunities in terms of acquisition, joint ventures, additional management contracts.”
He noted there are still several key markets the company wants to expand to across Latin America and the Caribbean, including Aruba, St. Lucia and Turks and Caicos.
Apple has been able to grow its platform, fueled primarily by guests from the U.S. to their key markets, with the help of it being owned by KSL Capital Partners.
He said that company has enabled Apple to do deals to grow airlift to its markets, make important acquisitions and improve its direct bookings. He said the company takes pride in its direct business.
“In some properties, more than 50% of occupancy comes from our own sources,” he said.
He noted that over Apple’s more than two decades, it has been able to reshape perception of all-inclusive resorts from being viewed as a cheap, low-quality option to a more appealing value proposition for travelers.
“We have the best quality, whether it’s a (traditional) resort or an all-inclusive,” he said. “So would you rather go to a beautiful resort where you have to pull out your wallet for everything, and your kids get a drink, take a sip and it costs you $10, or would you want that same great quality where it’s all-inclusive and you don’t have to worry about anything?”