When Julio Fernández, director of the Grupo Club de Hoteles agency, decided to undertake a trip to San Francisco when he was only 19 years old, he did not imagine that he was about to experience the first day of the rest of his life in that city. With the mastery of English, the North American city opened up a world of possibilities for him. He memorized the city and became a tour guide in just one week; his experience made him consider dedicating himself to tourism.
Back in Mexico it was clear that the hotel industry was his thing. He professionalized what began as a hobby and in the bowels of large hotels such as the Presidente Chapultepec in CDMX or the Radisson he was able to dominate the needs of guests and establishments.
Two decades ago, life brought him to Guadalajara and the representation of hotels that did not have offices in the city opened their client portfolio to add a long list that includes the best destinations in Mexico, the United States, Europe and Africa with the ease of programming the dream vacation or an anthology wedding. “We specialize in national and international packages, weddings on the beach and convention and incentive trips, which companies give to their workers for having fulfilled an achievement or to hold motivational sessions.”
Representing the big hotels gave them solidity, but going it alone allowed them to go one step further. “Experience is essential to grow. We decided not to have exclusivity with any hotel and to represent them all”.
With summer at the door, the activity for the agency is in what is called high season, it is a good year. However, Julio recognizes that the good moment they are going through is the result of the learning acquired in 2020, which marked a before and after in his career, the most challenging of all. The COVID-19 pandemic was a litmus test. “Many colleagues had to close their businesses and many did not return. Others disappeared. We started selling our loyal customers packages that could become valid once travel was authorized. Very good offers came out and we worked with advances from 500 pesos”.
Many of the negotiations that were about to close contracts collapsed, but that did not make them lower their guard and the return was better than expected. “We didn’t have to fire anyone, we kept the same salary, the same commissions, I can’t complain. 2021 was one of the best years for the agency. We took off again and this year we are doing very well”.
And part of the success to stay when many others could not was to have a savings to withstand bad weather. “It’s basic because you always have to have a mattress to face situations that we’ve already seen, if you didn’t have one for the ‘skinny cows’ it would be difficult to get ahead. We must have at least three months (of savings). To be able to get ahead. We have already had a pandemic, but nothing guarantees that we will not face something more difficult.”
After confinement and the rise of digital consumption, where each user can make their reservations online, human value made the difference. “What we noticed is that many clients who left and made their own reservations online returned to the traditional agency because we were able to answer for cancellations and refunds, reschedule dates without affecting their investment.” This is how for Grupo Club de Viajes it is always summer and they have their agendas open to design the trip of your dreams.
“When clients trust an agency, they have someone to do the hard work for them”
Julio Fernández, director of the Grupo Club de Hoteles agency
recovery on the way
This year it is estimated that tourism will contribute approximately 190 billion dollars to the Mexican economythe equivalent of 14.7% of the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and it is estimated that in the next decade tourism will generate 2.7 million new jobs in the country according to the World Travel and Tourism Council.
Club Hotel Group specialties: conventions and executive trips, Caribbean cruises, beach weddings and excursions in Europe.
Visit them at Avenida Hidalgo, number 2013, Colonia Arcos Vallarta. Telephone: 333616-5616. And in www.grupoclubdehoteles.mx.
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