Just over two years have passed since Jesús Sobrino was appointed CEO of Palladium Hotel Group. A time marked by the beginning of the pandemic, but which the company took advantage of to reset in order to reformulate the value proposition to increase the profitability of hotels. Mallorca Caprice heads to neighboring Ibiza to speak with the businessman.

Jesus Sobrino Palladium entrevista mallorca caprice

– How did you experience this turbulent moment professionally?

– I had been CEO for a few years and this helped me navigate. It so happened that with my appointment we also materialized and faced a key restructuring: the separation of the hotel operator from the rest of the group’s business verticals. This slowdown or total halt in activity due to the pandemic could say that it was even good for us to assume the change. This time allowed us to reflect. It has not been easy given the situation, but I saw it as an opportunity to strengthen leadership, to earn the respect of the team and to get to know people better. I believe that as a professional and as a leader I have come out stronger after the pandemic.

– What challenges did you face to turn threats into opportunities?

– From the beginning we organized ourselves. We formed two committees; one of crisis with representatives of key areas to meet every day at noon and talk about Europe and a second committee with other managers with whom we met in the afternoon to focus on America. Then we appointed a team that filtered and structured daily reports in parallel.

On the other hand, we established three phases in the plan; we called the first one “stopping the bleeding”, which was summed up in closing the hotels and relying on the different employment regulation instruments that existed in each country.

The second, and I think the most important, was to define the new work agenda. We launched new medium and long-term projects, especially focused on increasing the productivity and profitability of what was going to be the new version of reality. In this sense, we had a great opportunity to identify within our structure, after years of prosperity, all those ‘pockets of fat’ accumulated in the processes to eliminate them and gain productivity and efficiency with the great challenge of not taking muscle with us.

The third phase was to rebuild and open the hotels showing great empathy with the people because in the end, within the economic drama in which we were involved, there was also a humanitarian drama. We are proud because the plan worked. We have reached a safe harbor and now we are in a 2022 that we believe will be better than 2019.

– What will be your contribution to the legendary ‘Matutes model’?

– I am clear that it is to consolidate the company as a hotel operator, not only of hotels of the Empresa Matutes Group, but of third parties. This will help grow our brands footprint faster. It is a substantial change because in the end it is a change of attitude, a change of intentions and a major change in many aspects.

– You have defined yourself as a “conscientious and impatient” person. Isn’t this a somewhat explosive combination in leadership performance?

– True, it may sound like that, but both words define me quite well as a person and as a leader. The world moves fast, changing needs and tastes are constant and there is no time to waste. The key is to be aware and not just impatient. When you have a clear direction and strategy in the awareness and reflection phase, that is when you have to work impatiently once you get down to work. There are two very clear messages that I have conveyed to the team for this 2022. First, that as for the Chinese it is the year of the tiger, for Palladium Hotel Group it is the year of impatience. Another, that we need a Formula 1 team. To reach excellence requires specialist teams where there is neither a shortage nor a surplus of people. A team that works with great precision and coordination. I am a demanding person, especially with myself.

entrevista Jesus Sobrino ceo palladium

– The pandemic has changed our priorities as citizens and as organizations, how is Palladium Hotel Group advancing in sustainable transformation?

– Palladium Hotel Group has had a firm social and environmental commitment for a long time. The hotels in the Caribbean and America have a low environmental impact. Resorts nestled in nature where the environment is used as a strong point of the product. We have also been working for years to reduce single-use plastics in all hotels, eliminating them through process optimization and replacing them with materials with a lower environmental impact. Lastly, in relation to energy, right now 100% of our hotels in Spain are of renewable origin or come from photovoltaic panel infrastructures for self-consumption. If we stick to America, we would talk about 20% of energy coming from renewable sources. The commitment we have for the end of this year is to continue advancing until reaching 50% of the energy consumed in hotels globally with a guarantee of renewable origin.

– In compliance with the plans announced last year, Palladium Hotel Group will open its first establishment of the TRS Hotels brand in Europe in 2022, specifically in Ibiza. What are the characteristics that make it a unique Premium proposal?

– It is a format with three components: luxury, all inclusive and adults only. A segment that is not very satisfied on the island, but that gives us great joy in other Caribbean destinations. With this, to guests who book in The Signature Level category, we offer an incomparable all-inclusive that transcends the barriers of the hotel. In other words, guests can continue to enjoy their all-inclusive in a series of restaurants, beach clubs and even parties around the island. For this we have reached agreements with different restaurants in all the municipalities of the island.

– Do you have any other expansion plans on the table?

– We intend to enter Mexico City, Miami and New York as soon as possible. In Europe we want to increase our presence in Italy. We also do not rule out taking the step to Asian countries if the opportunity presents itself, although at this time it is not our priority.

– And Mallorca is included in the plans?

– The Balearic Islands are a reference for us and our roots, keep in mind that the company was born in Ibiza and in the Balearic Islands it took its first steps of expansion. At the moment, we have a presence in Ibiza with 11 hotels and in Menorca with Palladium Hotel Menorca. Mallorca is undoubtedly an attractive destination and we want to be there. Although we have not closed anything yet, we study projects and opportunities constantly come to us.

– Have the expectations for Easter 2022 been met? What are the prospects for the summer?

– We cannot complain about Easter in Ibiza or in the Mediterranean. We have opened the hotels soon, some since the beginning of April, something that is not usual and it is a first achievement, reaching an occupancy rate of 80%. As for the summer, we think it will exceed the results of 2019.
In the annual balance of 2021, the company closed managing a turnover of 445 million euros, 131% above 2020 and 40% below 2019, a year that we hope to exceed this year. There is a great desire to travel and specifically in Ibiza the entertainment offer is very well combined with the natural setting. We think it will be a winning bet.

Ibiza is for you… The Mediterranean Sanctuary. Perfect mix of natural beauty and lifestyle.
A perfect plan to do on the island of a thousand faces… Listen to music and have a beer during the sunset in Cala Escondida.
If you had to choose a hotel of the Group to spend this summer in Ibiza, it would be… TRS IBIZA, it is the novelty.