«The founding of SpainTravelNews in the UK and Germany is one step further in the field of our mass media initiatives»

Interview with Manuel Molina, Managing Director of Hosteltur

Recently, Hosteltur has been honoured with the prestigious Award: “Premio Onda Cero Mallorca” for their excellent professional career providing quality tourism information. How do you feel about this recognition and how do you assess it?

Any recognition of your work is fantastic, however the fact that the people who bestow this award are a leading reference in your sector makes it even better. The fact that Onda Cero, a benchmark mass media firm in terms of creditability and reputation, has distinguished us with their Communication Award is something that gives it even more added-value and makes us feel even prouder.

For those who are not familiar with Hosteltur’s work, give us a brief summary about how it began its journey and what they are focusing their efforts on at this time.

Hosteltur was founded in 1994 as a monthly magazine with regional distribution, exclusively in the Balearic Islands, and focused on the hotel sector. In a very short period of three years, we made a significant leap to national distribution serving the entire tourism sector, not only hotels: travel agencies, tour operators, destinations, etc.

In the following years, we expanded our range of mass media platforms with the appearance of Hosteltur Television and above all, www.hosteltur.com which has become the leading information and news website for entrepreneurs, executives and professionals in the tourism sector.

Since then until today, we have always maintained our commitment to the sector, either by means of informative media formats such as the ones mentioned above, or with other types of actions such as the Hosteltur Forum which has already celebrated 18 editions, as well as the Sustainable Tourism Agora that began last year, as well as online events.

The founding of SpainTravelNews in the UK and Germany is one step further in the field of our mass media initiatives, although it is also important to highlight the Hosteltur Academy, since it is an investment outside the information sector but it is based on our other core values: knowledge and training. We have an extensive team of more than 100 trainers in different sectors of the tourism industry with whom we collaborate with companies in this sector to educate and train their employees and managers at all levels.

It is often said that the value of a company can be measured by the professional and human quality of its team. Tell us a little about the Hosteltur family and the components that comprise it.

Hosteltur is, above all, a family business. Both in its founding 29 years ago as well as in its current concept. In 1994, my father together with my class mate, Carlos Hernández, current General Manager and myself, all developed the creation of Hosteltur. Subsequently, it was joined by my brother.

Today, the Hosteltur family is comprised by 25 members; the majority have long careers in the firm. There are persons who have been with our company for 10, 15, 20… and exactly 29 years. We have all grown, learned and suffered together… but it is also true that we have a very good time working together. Being together since we were young has been very beneficial for us.

Hosteltur and the law firm, Buades Legal have had a professional relationship for many years. Tell us about that time period and what the firm’s legal assistance mainly consists of.

Our initial phase was very modest and autonomous, so for many years we did not need a law firm. Our corporate growth caused this need for legal advice to arise shortly before 2000. At that time, we already had a personal relationship with Joan, a person who had always been very attentive to our family, hence the relationship arose naturally, which was also helped by the interest that Joan had always had in the mass media and communication sector. Little by little, we created a bond of trust that continues to this day in which we continue to work with his entire team, especially with Joan himself, along with Gabriel Buades, Luis Huerta and Daniel Olabarria, etc., where this trust also transcends the professional relationship, since they have always been very close and aware not only of our legal needs but also family issues.

The professional legal assistance from Buades Legal has covered typical company issues such as expert advice on signing agreements, contractual issues, international expansion, real estate consultancy and employment guidance, etc. But it is also true that the characteristics of our informative activity have motivated numerous queries and actions that have become more sophisticated as the mass media and communication sector have evolved towards the digital field. I would also like to highlight the accompaniment and guidance that the law firm has provided for our generational transition, which was invaluable not only because of Joan’s in-depth knowledge and experience in this field, but also due to the fact that Buades family had first-hand experience.

What are the new challenges that Hosteltur faces in the near future and what are the market, business or service strategies that you will implement to deal with a fast-changing ecosystem such as mass media, even more so within the tourism sector with its highly specific specialization.

This is the permanent challenge in our field: to be where our readers are. We have changed from being a monthly magazine which arrived at our reader’s office once a month, to being present in their telephone with the latest news in real time. And not only in their telephone, but also in their computer, tablet and social networks as well as in their Google searches… and all the above, in a non-invasive yet quick and dynamic way. This means that although the information database is very similar, the methods have not stopped evolving. Hence being there is our main challenge.

As a business model, another one of our primary challenges is to achieve this in a sustainable way, because the mass media communications sector has also evolved a lot in the area of information monetization. This is a development that we continuously observe with the closure of numerous leading news firms, some of them historical; we have witnessed this in the personnel lay-offs in many mass media companies… and all of this is happening when, as the entire world is aware, useful, truthful and reliable information is more important than ever. We need to trust what we read and this only occurs when the media platform that informs you is free, professional as well as economically sustainable. Hence in addition to maintaining and optimising our main media website: www.hosteltur.com, we also attempt to evolve by means of the initiatives mentioned above.