The Rise of Hotel Opportunities in Argentina

By Arturo Garcia Rosa President & Founder, SAHIC South America and SAHIC Cuba | July 23, 2017

Co-authored by Elizabeth Karakachian, Marketing Co-ordinator, LHL Communications

Though Argentina has always sparked interest from investors around the world, some of the economic measures and political scandals related to the party that held the power for a decade (until December 2015) did not represent the best scenario for international investment. The more recent election of President Mauricio Macri, undoubtedly represents an important task of rebuilding the Argentinian economy and restoring its international credibility. Macri, already in his short stint thus far as president, has partially succeed with inroads here, and as such has been given the honor to host the World Trade Organization meeting in December 2017 along with the G20 Summit in 2018. Both events will be held in Buenos Aires.

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South America ranks as the fourth largest travel destination in the world according to Statista. With an increasing interest from international travelers, the countries in this continent have come a long way with regard to infrastructure, hospitality, and tourism development (among other criteria) in recent years. Most notable of the South American countries is Argentina, which currently is the most visited Spanish-speaking country in South America (World Economic Forum April 2017).

Argentina has strengthened its destination promotion presence around the world by focusing marketing campaigns to build awareness around the great landscapes and experiences that it offers to travelers. The country's national carrier, Aerolineas Argentinas, continues to expand airlift by adding inbound flights from the United States and Europe. Argentina strives to lead the South American travel industry by developing new hotels and other hospitality-related facilities.

In addition to its economic measures, which (among others) led to settle the country´s multi-billion-dollar debt and aid in the foreign exchange conflicts by favoring free trade deals with the United States, Argentina The country has also shown great effort in pursuing transparency, -- clearly showing its commitment to regaining the confidence of the international markets. Experts have now started to consider Argentina a frontier market. This title gives the country a competitive advantage with international investors as they see potential within such markets. While frontier destinations may have higher risks because they are emerging markets, the potential return on investment is also quite strong.

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Social Media: Engagement is Key

There are currently 2.3 billion active users of social media networks and savvy hotel operators have incorporated social media into their marketing mix. There are a few Goliath channels on which one must have a presence (Facebook & Twitter) but there are also several newer upstart channels (Instagram, Snapchat &WeChat, for example) that merit consideration. With its 1.86 billion users, Facebook is a dominant platform where operators can drive brand awareness, facilitate bookings, offer incentives and collect sought-after reviews. Twitter's 284 million users generate 500 million tweets per day, and operators can use its platform for lead generation, building loyalty, and guest interaction. Instagram was originally a small photo-sharing site but it has blown up into a massive photo and video channel. The site can be used to post photos of the hotel property, as well as creating Instagram Stories - personal videos that disappear from the channel after 24 hours. In this regard, Instagram and Snapchat are now in direct competition. WeChat is a Chinese company whose aim is to be the App for Everything - instant messaging, social media, shopping and payment services - all in a single platform. In addition to these channels, blogging continues to be a popular method to establish leadership, enhance reputations, and engage with customers in a direct and personal way. The key to effective use of all social media is to find out where your customers are and then, to the fullest extent possible, engage with them on a personal level. This engagement is what creates a personal connection and sustains brand loyalty. The February Hotel Business Review will explore these issues and examine how some hotels are successfully integrating social media into their operations.