Sincerely, BLLA

The Artisans: Luis Gallotti & Lisandro Leon Liguori

The BLLA Team sits down with Luis Gallotti & Lisandro Leon Liguori, Co-Founders & Principals at AKEN Hotels & Resorts, as they delve into...

The BLLA Team sits down with Luis Gallotti & Lisandro Leon Liguori, Co-Founders & Principals at AKEN Hotels & Resorts, as they delve into their experiences as boutique hoteliers.

BLLA: What is your company’s mission statement?

LG: “Since its conception, AKEN Hotels & Resorts mission statement is well-defined in 3 core values:

1. Elevate and reveal the authenticity of every Independent Upper Upscale & Luxury project, including Experiences & Residences.

2. Create an exciting work environment and culture to attract more passionate individuals to join the hospitality industry. 

3. Drive sustainability and promote social responsibility by “promoting happiness” in every room night sold in any of our hotels.

BLLA: How did you enter the hospitality industry?

LG: “When I graduated from my Hospitality Management Degree in Argentina, I was selected to participate in the Manager In Training program at The Ritz-Carlton Naples, Florida. From there, I was fortunate enough to work in several countries, including Cayman Island, Chile, Costa Rica, and USA, moving up the ranks in the best hotel companies in the world, including Ritz-Carlton & Four Seasons.

LL: “I have always liked Hospitality because I love travelling and learning languages. I began to study Tourism in Europe and, since I liked it so much, I went ahead and completed two Masters degrees focused entirely on the Hotel industry, an MBA with a specialization on International Hospitality and another in Revenue Management and Hotel Marketing. Then, I started working as a consultant for mainly hotel and tourism companies in Strategy, Marketing and Leadership.

BLLA: What does “boutique” mean to you?

LL: “There is no better driver for experimental travel than Boutique. Each boutique hotel is completely unique, with its own authentic story, from service to personalization to design to setting and more. Working in the boutique segment, my experiences with passionate owners gives me an opportunity to help them find success. It is particularly rewarding in boutique, because it’s completely tailored to each individual project. That allows for total personalization, whether working to increase profitability margins or deepen the guest and employee experience.

BLLA: How are you an artisan?

LG: “Before we start any of our projects, we take a good amount of time to identify the reasons why someone would want to stay there. We foresee the success of each project by identifying and designing ahead of time their value propositions, marketing strategies, etc. 

We designed a solid brand statement for each of our projects, including their storytelling and describing in detail not only how beautiful the place will look, but also how we want to make our guests feel when staying at any of our properties. Restorative Travel is a powerful thing nowadays. 

Lastly, we leave room for our owners to be part of this project, contributing to their our DNA and making them feel emotionally connected to the project.

BLLA: Why do you celebrate the path of independence?

LL: “AKEN Hotels & Resorts was created with a clear vision in mind: Become the best luxury independent hotel operator in the world. Being independent not only allows you the freedom to innovate and try new things, but also the flexibility to adapt to any market situation.

BLLA: What advice would you give to first-time hoteliers?

LG: “This is a passionate industry, you must love what you do day in day out. Compared to other industries, this one offers an equal opportunity to meet your financial needs, but also creates an incredible emotional contribution to your life. Seeing people succeed professionally, creating lifetime memories for guests, and delivering topnotch product and service is something that goes beyond any other reward.

BLLA: What would you say to hotel lenders & investors reading this?

LG: “Before you look into the financial aspect of any projects or even generating a ROI, you must identify 3 main criterias: 1) The true business purpose of the project (no negotiable) ; 2) Define very clearly you differentiator strategy ; 3) How this projects will contribute sustainably and consciously to the global society and environment. Most projects are successful once there is enough evidence of the outcome to achieve.

BLLA: What is next for you?

LL: “Bring our company to IPO.

AMEK Group is a member of BLLA.

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