Impressions and conclusions of the Torremolinos Innova 2030 Urban Agenda Conference

Events 16/09/2022

Paraty Tech at the Innova 2030 Urban Agenda Conference

Last Friday, September 9, the Urban Agenda Innova 2030 Conference was held in Torremolinos. It is an agenda in which the town sets specific goals to achieve the objective of becoming a more sustainable, fair, intelligent and balanced city by the year 2030.

Our CEO & Co-Founder, Gina Matheis, participated in the second round table organized for the occasion, together with Javier Hernández, Executive Vice President of Aehcos (Association of Hotel Entrepreneurs of the Costa del Sol), to talk about Tourism, Commerce and Digitalization , moderated by Ignacio Lillo, editor of Diario Sur .

During the morning, there was extensive talk about digitization in the tourism sector, focusing on the city of Torremolinos, emphasizing a key fact: the role of the tourism sector , a pioneer in its digital transformation through the incorporation of technological platforms.

"Digitization should help solve needs in an easy and useful way" , are the words of Gina Matheis, who insisted on the importance of promoting initiatives that favor the application of digitization techniques in the city's commerce sector.
Everyone knows that the pandemic has unexpectedly and abruptly accelerated the digitization processes. Nowadays, we do any management with the mobile. A reality that forces us to promote the use of digital supports in the tourism sector, being clear that their contribution is decisive for the increase in direct hotel sales.

For his part, Javier stressed the need for the hotel sector and the destination to work together to sell more and offer more and better information.
On the other hand, Gina recalled the importance of always having the hotel's official website ready, a channel of growing importance due to the distrust that the closure of various agencies has generated in the tour operation in recent months. The traveler, in the event of any incident with the reservation, can contact the hotel directly and resolve it, which translates into a great opportunity in terms of loyalty.

Ignacio Illo, moderator of the table, asked what was the current degree of digitization of the Costa del Sol , to which Gina responded by recalling how well prepared the hotels on the coast are thanks to the use of a complete technological mix: pms, booking engines, chat bots, etc. Nevertheless, he highlighted that there is always room for improvement and that work is being done actively in this area:

“It is about technology optimizing processes, so in hotels people will dedicate themselves to people”
Gina Matheis

Regarding the overcrowding of the city, Javier commented on the problem that coexistence between the resident and the tourist staying in holiday apartments constitutes. Today, with digitization, it is even easier to migrate an apartment to the vacation rental format and get it booked. Therefore, new proposals should be put forward to regulate this situation and promote a peaceful and sustainable coexistence between the different parties. He also highlighted the need to work together with Urban Planning to alleviate the overcrowding of destinations.

Gina Matheis gave some ideas on how to combat the consequences of overcrowding with simple actions: warning of traffic to avoid traffic jams, reporting queues at a certain monument/experience, even offering a lower price during "dead" hours are some examples. In addition to promoting other types of tourism , such as sports, cultural or gastronomic and attracting travelers outside the summer season of sun and sand. In this sense, it was emphasized that Torremolinos has much more to offer than just sun and sand and that this offer could contribute to the seasonality of the destination, thus avoiding overcrowding from June to September.

“The hotel floor of Torremolinos is reformed, passing the majority of the hotels to be 4*”
Gina Matheis

Both Javier and Gina agreed that the heart of the Costal del Sol can attract higher quality tourism. With a well-kept hotel base and most of the establishments renovated, Torremolinos can afford not to lower prices and not be tempted to attract budget tourism.

The CEO of Paraty Tech also recalled that before lowering the price of the establishment due to the lack of reservations, the reason must be carefully studied, understanding the demand and the cause of not reaching the objectives. Lowering prices is easy, but unfortunately, this step will lead us to attract a tourist profile that the city is not interested in. Javier added that the municipality and the hotel must be on the same page in order to improve the attractiveness and general perception of the Torremolinos destination.

“Talk more about the cost of the impact of the real tourism activity than about the number of overnight stays”
Javier Hernandez

Traditional markets will change the perception of destinations and improve the visitor's profile.
Another topic addressed was the possible digital divide that may exist in the municipality. In this sense, Gina Matheis stressed the need for the City Council to promote training in technology. Paraty Tech develops user-friendly tools, but it is true that even if they are intuitive, training must be increased so that users have at least a basic starting level.

Also, it must be taught that the digital environment is a trustworthy environment , as Javier commented, so that these people feel safe when using the different tools.

Finally, they spoke of the uncertainty that seems to reign in the face of autumn and, although they stated that due to factors such as inflation, the war between Ukraine and Russia, or the Breixit situation, we will experience this time of year with more anxiety than usual Gina recalled that national tourism is giving very good results and that current trends indicate a predominance of last-minute reservations in the international market.

They ended by talking about next year and expressing their optimism, predicting a probable increase in reserves in Spanish territory due to the foreign context.
Thus concluded a morning of presentations in which ideas, improvements and projects were shared to continue making Torremolinos a tourist destination of 10 .