• The group will now be called "Meliá Hotels International";
• The company has overcome three years of international crisis with a strong balance sheet and an ambitious project for the future;
• The hotel company distributes 10 million euros in dividends, an increase of 28% over 2009.
The Meeting, which attracted a quorum of 82.9% of the share capital, also ratified the appointment of a new independent director, Luis María Díaz de Bustamante, approved the management by the Board of Directors and, as usual in the Annual General Meeting, empowered the Board to approve capital increases in line with the provisions of Spanish Company Law. This empowerment enables the Board to decide at any time a capital increase without any need to call an extraordinary shareholders’ meeting.
In his speech the chairman, Gabriel Escarrer, explained a proposed amendment to article 1 of the company’s bylaws which proposes a change of name from "Sol Meliá Hotels & Resorts S.A." to "Meliá Hotels International S.A.".
According to Mr. Escarrer, the objective of the amendment is to adapt the corporate brand to the company’s actual structure and diverse portfolio, and provide coherence and competitiveness to the brand architecture to support the company’s strategy for global growth and diversification.
The "Meliá Hotels International" continues to benefit from the significant value added by Meliá, the company’s most international brand, as well as the trust and reliability the brand has generated given its track record and leadership, its brand awareness and potential in various different markets.
2008-2010 Strategic Review
The company chairman took stock of the three-year period 2008-2010, during which the hotel company had to deal with the worst crisis that the tourism industry had ever experienced, demonstrating a resilience and adaptability that have allowed the company to come out of the crisis even stronger than before. "Our vision” – he remarked – “was focused on keeping the business going and short term results and making that compatible with strengthening the company for the medium and long term".
To achieve this, the company adopted strategic and tactical measures in a Contingency Plan, but the company’s main lifeline, according to its Chairman, was the international expansion through which Sol Meliá (solmelia.com) added or signed 78 new hotels during the period with 20,597 rooms.
Over the past year, the company has met market expectations and consolidated the improvement in RevPAR, thanks to rate management and the consolidation of its growth, improving net profit over the year by 31.5%.
The Chairman also stressed the significant progress made with regards to the company’s commitment to sustainability and social responsibility, such as the strategic alliance with UNICEF for the protection of children, the agreement with the Foundation ONCE to promote the employment of disabled people and the addition of sustainability objectives to the variable bonuses of employees. In this regard, he also emphasised the work done by the Institutional Office and Corporate Diplomacy on the major company commitments in social responsibility: the adhesion to the Global Compact, the renewal of membership of the FTSE4Good Ibex responsible investment index, and the imminent renewal of Biosphere Hotel Company certification.
Diversification and international expansion
The diversification of the company over the last three years has meant that Sol Meliá Ebitda generated outside Spain grew from 57 to 77%. This trend will continue to drive a growth strategy focused on the most dynamic markets through alliances with local leaders. Evidence of this has seen the opening of new destinations in 2010, such as Shanghai and Dubai, as well as the alliance with the American hotel giant Wyndham for the TRYP brand and the most recent alliance with the Chinese leader, Jin Jiang.
Growth is also being achieved through low capital intensive formulas, such as management, lease or franchise agreements, which represent 86% of the pending additions, and which has been possible due to the strength of the brands and their attractiveness to investors.
Innovation in customer relationships
The company Chairman gave a special mention to new technologies to listen to guests and earn their loyalty, such as the social networks and online reputation management which have been integrated into the company’s customer relationship management strategy. He also described developments in one of the company’s greatest assets, the mas rewards loyalty programme which, in 2010 formed an alliance with American Express to launch the "American Express mas rewards" credit card and more recently launched mas rewards corporate, a specific loyalty programme for small businesses and the self-employed.
Renovation and future
With the 55th anniversary of the company falling in 2011, Escarrer also focused his speech on the company’s plans for the future, after having overcome the recent past with flying colours. He defined a comprehensive renovation of the company in the following four areas:
• New Strategic Plan 2012-2014, which the company is already preparing;
• Renewal of the company’s internal mission, culture and corporate values;
• Organisational adaptation with reinforcement of the Asia Pacific and Real Estate business areas;
• New corporate name, approved by the General Meeting: MELIÁ HOTELS INTERNATIONAL.