Over the past couple of months, we have been presenting you with the different people making up Group. This time we will be catching up with Javier Errejon, Managing Director at Von der Heyden Group.
Javier is a man of many talents, and you can see simply by talking to him that he really appreciates life in general. Apart from his extensive professional achievements, he is very grateful for his health and believes in remaining healthy to achieve whatever his mind and heart desire.
Javier, who is Spanish but also bilingual in French, attended French school when he was young and managed to get his bachelaureate in French. He went on to study in a very well-known university in Madrid, Spain, and is till this day constantly looking for ways to improve his personal achievements through studying and learning.
At ICADE in Madrid, which he is also a Professor at, he studied law and business administration and went on to also get his executive MBA between 2000 and 2001 in the well known business School IESE. He remembers the number of courses he has done in the past and points out the last online course he did in Artificial Intelligence and a Degree in Mathematics.
I am interested in an array of topics and love to study and learn. With my kids now a bit older, and even though I have a very demanding job, I try to find the time to explore topics which excite me.
Touching up on his role in the Group, he says that the main aim of Von der Heyden Group was to create companies which do not only own assets, but also have operational and management branches and bring to the Group recurrent cash flow. Javier, which is a shareholder in IBB Group said that it is important for him personally to continue investing to achieve success.
The Von der Heyden Group constantly looks for different sources of income and other business lines which bring in more profit and recurrent cash flow and balance the cyclical results of the Real Estate development arm.
Potential in the Group
He goes on to explain how the IBB Hotel and Cugó Gran Collection have potential and the Group is currently working on developing the Cugó Gran brand by pursuing the purchase of assets in different locations, in Italy and Costa Rica amongst others.
Mentioning Covid-19, and how it impacted business, he goes on to explain that the pandemic gave the company more insight into the market. “We understood that the focus needs to be on the five-star luxury segment.”
Why? Because at the end of the day this segment is the least which suffers during a crisis. He remembers the hotels which struggled during the pandemic, mainly the three-star segment with a low average room rate and explained how these hotels have a fixed cost structure and was difficult to manage during the crisis. He describes that during Covid-19 these hotels needed high occupancy or a high average rate in order to make a profit. And this is what pushed the Group to explore further into the five star luxury market for high end clients, which is also complementary to other business in the Group.
What does the future hold?
Asking Javier about the future of the company, he says that there are big ambitions for the next five to ten years. He sees the company obtaining an average of two to three hotels per year in the five-star segment. The IBB Hotel and Cugó Gran Collection currently have a total of 8 hotels, with a couple more in the pipeline. An increase in the hotels would mean a beautiful story for the brand and eventually the dream could become a reality – the company would go public and have equity in the Maltese Stock Exchange.
He also touches upon an important value of the Group – People! People are a priority at IBB Hotel Collection and as a company, we truly value our employees. They are always put on top and as Tiana Vella, our Director of Human Resources elaborated in her interview, Javier agrees that taking care of the people in the company is top priority. Javier touches again upon the pandemic, and how it led for many to change their career path.
“Many people left the hospitality industry during Covid-19 and finding good people is really not that easy.”
Javier explains that the best employees in the company simply love the hospitality sector and were somehow born to work in it – it’s in their DNA, in his own words. And this is what makes the Group shine – people who are committed and who in return show guests appreciation and offer them the personalisation the luxury guests are after.
Without being fully committed and really very happy it’s difficult to give the best service, he continues.
The Group gives people ground to grow, making them the best possible and happy and committed with the brand and with their role. It makes sure that every single employee is taken care of and makes them feel pleased as they grow withing the company. In fact, the IBB Hotel Collection is considered as a family, and although it sounds like a cliché, it is a reality.
Samuel Santos, Director of IBB Hotel and Cugó Gran Collection touches upon this detail and explains how the company always puts people at the centre. IBB Hotel Collection firmly believes that if an employee works happily, the result of that work increases exponentially, and success is guaranteed. Listening and understanding what employees need, makes it easier to meet the demands of guests, and in this way, to succeed in business.
Javier also mentions how in this day and age, the level of people with more and more affordability is growing and he explains that there will always be a client for the five-star luxury segment. People are interested in enjoying themselves and to get an experience, he said.
It is all about giving – a nice property, a beautiful view, a great and personalised service. And this is what makes the difference, and what makes the Cugó Gran brand shine, he says. He again touches on the point that in order for the delivery of the service to be the best, there need to be people at the frontline who gives their best and all.
Customer experience is big on the agendas of companies in the hospitality industry – and it is of course important for us as well.
The Cugó Gran wants to become a brand which symbolises consistency. Be it a farmhouse in the Alps, or a villa by the sea, the brand will always offer the same service with personalisation for the guest.
Family and health are very important
Apart from studying and teaching in business school, during his free time Javier loves to be around his family – his wife, two kids and his dog and his friends. Javier says that we need to celebrate life as much as we can, because at the end of the day, life can get complicated.
He also advocates a healthy lifestyle and loves to do different kind of sports including running, padel, golf and skiing.
“Being healthy is everything. Without good health you cannot do anything,” he emphasises.
He also loves to travel together with his wife, something which he feels lucky he can do and provides him with a lot of interesting insight on the world, the people, culture and food in general.