Company: Catalonia Brussels
Person interviewed: Marc Musquera
Position: General Manager

In which area of Brussels is the hotel located? Which customer profiles are the most attractive to the group on a regular basis?

Catalonia Brussels is located on the border of the Saint Gilles and Ixelles districts, right in the heart of the Art Nouveau district and a five-minute walk from the Place Châtelain, well known for its bars and restaurants.

Our client mix, under normal conditions, is varied: from tourist groups at weekends to corporate clients, embassy clients and members of the European Parliament during the week. What all our clients highlight most is the tranquility of the area in which we are located, the cultural and gastronomic offer available around the hotel and the good communication with the rest of the city (metro, tram and even on foot).

During the Covid crisis, has the hotel remained open? What are the reasons behind this decision? What measures did the hotel take to make guests feel safe while offering them a memorable experience?

The hotel was “only” closed from the end of March until the beginning of May 2020 and fortunately was not closed again at any time during the COVID-19 crisis. Our chain decided to open as soon as possible, despite the uncertainty, mainly to be able to continue welcoming our business clients and the European Parliament, as they requested us to do so. Although it is true that in terms of sales and occupancy this has been a very complicated period for the entire sector, Catalonia decided to keep the hotel running as part of a sincere commitment to our customers and our entire team.

At Catalonia Hotels & Resorts we work with very demanding standards of cleanliness and hygiene. In addition, we reviewed our processes, extending the frequency and implementing disinfection measures that covered the new health and safety circumstances of the moment. These processes are applied in all areas of the hotel to ensure the safety of our guests and staff. These measures have been taken in accordance with the recommendations of health and hygiene experts, local health authorities and the World Health Organisation.

Some services, especially catering, have been affected by legal restrictions, but despite the limitations we have offered a complete and satisfactory experience to all our customers, with attention to detail as always.

Has this crisis changed any aspect of the hotel’s identity?

The only change that the hotel has undergone is due to the type of client that is currently staying at the hotel. The tourist client has almost completely disappeared and we have focused on the corporate segment.

Each type of customer has its own characteristics, so we have not changed our identity, but rather we have adapted to the new reality. We are a hotel establishment and the customer and their satisfaction are always at the centre of our efforts. Moreover, Catalonia has always stood out for its genuine service attitude, so we have continued to do what we do best: treat our customers very well and try to generate memorable experiences.

Before the COVID-19 crisis, many workers commuted to Brussels from Tuesday to Thursday. How do you think the pandemic will change this way of working?

For me this is one of the big unknowns post-COVID for an urban hotel like ours. The classic business client who travelled and stayed 2-3 nights a week has been teleworking during the crisis and the question is to know if they will go back to travelling as they did before the crisis or if they will have adopted this new way of working remotely for good.

What are the benefits of the Chamber membership for the company?

The Chamber of Commerce is a referent for any Spanish companies wishing to enter the Belgian or Luxembourg market. Thanks to our membership, we have been able to meet and collaborate with several Spanish companies and suppliers with whom we have established a fluid business relationship.

Also of great interest are the seminars, talks and breakfasts that the Chamber organises to bring Spanish companies into contact with each other, with the participation of the main players in the different economic sectors.