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2016 Hotel Industry: Q and A with Amaury Piedra of Shelborne

Competitive culinary offerings. The rise of AirBnB. Digital concierges. New feeder markets. Millennials. 

We sat down with Amaury Piedra, GM of the iconic Shelborne Wyndham Grand South Beach, to get his insight on 2016 travel trends and how hotels are catering to today’s traveler.

Amaury Piedra of Shelbourne talks real estate, the hotel industry, and that tropical life.

shelbourne hotels

What are your predictions for South Florida’s 2016 travel/hospitality industry?

AP: 2016 should prove to be another solid year for South Florida’s tourism industry.  Miami Beach (and check out these dog friendly hotels in Miami while you’re at it) has seen a large increase in inventory over the past year and it will take some time to absorb, but compared to others, the market remains very strong.

What unique amenities are offered at Shelborne that set you a part from the competition?

AP: Sarsaparilla Club – our soon to open restaurant has made numerous lists as one of the most anticipated openings of 2016.  Pool Deck and Private Cabanas – With its oceanfront locale and lush surround greenery, the breezy and iconic Shelborne Pool Deck lends itself to an exceptional day of relaxation.  Our stunningly appointed air-conditioned private cabanas feature an entertainment center, private bathrooms, spa services, and the option to have your own mixologist and rows of inviting lounge chairs.

Editor’s note: we’re totally on board with Amaury Piedra with this pool deck thing. Amen, and pass the drinks.

The Drawing Room Bar – features a staff of talented mixologists, creating craft cocktails that have been featured in numerous publications.

In conjunction with Art Basel Miami 2015, Shelborne Wyndham Grand South Beach introduced six large scale paintings and five of Bosco Sodi’s glistening gold rock sculptures, and put them on permanent display for the enjoyment of our guests.  The pieces were commissioned by hotel owners and serious art collectors, Paul and Dayssi Kanavos to be a part of the Hotel’s permanent collection.

What types of green practices or solutions does the Shelborne offer to answer to environmental issues?

AP: Currently, the Shelborne Hotel utilizes LED energy efficient lightbulbs in guest rooms, as well as throughout the property.  In every guest room, there is a recycle and trash bin, along with VFD controlled air handlers.  We also reuse our keycards, as a positive step towards decreasing the current environmental issues.  In 2016, we have plans to enhance our “go green” initiatives to increase our environmental awareness.

READ MORE: Miami Real Estate Market Predictions

How will concierges adapt to the growing technology?

AP: I believe Concierge will use technology to further strengthen their relationship with customers.  Whether it’s communicating through the various apps available to being able to fulfill requests faster through the use of technology; the end result is faster response time to customer needs.  

How is the rise of mobile/digital impacting your business strategy and design strategy, and also technology in the room?

AP: It’s amazing how fast tech continues to evolve.  Keeping up with sufficient bandwidth for multiple devices people utilize is always challenging.  From a strategy perspective, it’s more important than ever to have a strong social media presence.  

The best thing is you have so many new ways of communicating and reaching out to your customers on digital and even hourly basis, allowing you to build strong relationships.

How do you think services like AirBnB will disrupt the hotel industry?

AP: It’s a fact that AirBnB and services like it have created new competition for hotels for a certain type of customer.  This is why building relationships with your customer is key.  People still want the warm greeting upon arrival; the Concierge that knows their preferences and takes care of their needs,  the signature on site restaurant and the ability to be served their favorite beverages by the pool or on the beach. 

shelbourne hotels

What are your top feeder markets, and where do you see future travelers coming from?

AP: The top feeder market for South Florida always has been and continues to be the domestic market, especially the NY/NJ/CT tristate area.  Internationally, South American countries like Venezuela and Colombia always had strong visitation.  

The UK was always a strong international feeder.  Over the last several years, visitation from Eastern Europe has really grown along with Brazil for South America.  In addition, increased airlift for the Middle East such a Qatar Airways allows the destination to continue to broader its reach to new customers.

What is the key to a hotel’s success?

AP: In my opinion, it is the people, it’s the staff that make a hotel a success.  Assuring a properly renovated, clean, and maintained hotel, it’s the staff that travelers will remember.  At the Shelborne Hotel, we are blessed with a group that truly embraces the meaning of hospitality and in our case, Wyndham Hotels “Count On Me” service spirit.  While we receive positive comments on our facility, the truly passionate comments are always driven by the actions of our team members.

READ MORE: Miami’s Most Wanted Amenities

What other trends are impacting the hotel world?

AP:  Millennials will continue to be a faster growing segment of the trend population.  The way hotels market to, communicate with, and serve this growing segment is a key to success over the next several years.  In addition, we must all continue to find the best uses for technology and how it can allow hotel and hotel brands to further strengthen their relationships with customers. 

Amaury Piedra, who has nearly 20 years of luxury hospitality experience, has held managerial positions at AAA Four Diamond-rated lifestyle hotels, convention hotels of more than 1,000 rooms and multi-unit oceanfront resorts throughout the U.S. and the Caribbean. He joined the Shelborne Wyndham Grand in 2015, following General Manager roles for Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort & Spa, Sheraton Fort Lauderdale Beach Hotel, and W South Beach. 

 An iconic Miami landmark, Shelborne Wyndham Grand was transformed into South Beach’s newest luxury lifestyle resort.

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