Hotel Online  Special Report

RIU Hotels & Resorts Achieves a High Degree of Loyalty, Average for Repeat Guests is 45%
The RIU philosophy: service with heart

May 11, 2004 - Quality and personalised service constitute the keys to success of the chain,  which has translated into an average of 45% repeat guests 

The tourist phenomenon undergoes constant changes. To the appearance of new holiday destinations one must add the new concepts imposed by the market. Adapting to the changing needs of its guests is a permanent challenge for Riu Hotels.

In order to achieve this objective, the chain is governed by solid principles on which it bases its philosophy and company values, summed up in the motto service with heart:

  • Discreet, friendly service
  • Trained, attentive staff
  • Immaculate, welcoming hotels
  • Comfortable and spacious facilities
  • Extensive gardens around the hotel
  • International level cuisine
For RIU, direct, personalised contact with the guest (from the waiter to the management team, who are always present at breakfast and dinner) is essential to guarantee the high level of service.

Conscientious service is precisely the distinguishing feature of the RIU trademark. Guests are called by their surname and great effort is put into taking care of even the smallest detail to make their stay more pleasant.

For this reason, permanent staff training and teaching of languages (an indispensable medium for effective communication) are priorities for the company.

In this sense, the chain's Human Resources Development Department has produced its own manuals for the teaching of the German language (a large part of Riu's guests speak this language). In this way the employees have a means at their disposal to aid them in their dealings with the guests. 

This feeling of cordiality, of friendly, personalised treatment perceived by the guests is the result of systematic training and retraining courses.

Providing pleasant surroundings is a key factor to ensure the guest's comfort. Even as early as the sixties, when there were no laws governing urban construction, the Riu family laid out large green spaces and pleasant gardens around their new buildings. This policy is still maintained today and has become another of the distinguishing features of the RIU trademark.

In Playa de Palma, to be more precise,

The Riu San Francisco, the chain's
very first establishment, where the
family business was started up
in 1953.
Riu San Francisco

La Laud 24, Mallorca, 07600
the company created a pleasant central park of 7,000 square metres for all its guests. At the neighbouring Riu Centre (a holiday village with shops, bars, banks and a medical centre )tourists find a first class service centre at their disposal. In the field of gastronomy, the food and drink department constantly strives to offer, with its menus and buffets, an extensive variety of international and local specialities.

Moreover, holidaymakers concerned about the quality of their diet can enjoy the wide variety of salads and a varied range of wholefood products for breakfast such as yoghurt, wholemeal bread or different types of muesli.

Logically, the correct maintenance of the facilities is essential to ensure a comfortable stay for the guests. The company therefore plans the systematic renovation of its establishments through the reinvestment of part of its profits. Thus the chain always offers completely up-to-date infrastructures, equipment and services. 

The facilities respect the surrounding area of the hotel and the environment. Thus, for example, the company installed an energy system in Playa de Palma which supplies heating and water to its hotels. Its coming into operation put an end to the unpleasant chimneys.

Attending to all the guest's needs, taking care of every little detail and as far as possible giving him more than he expects, i.e. pleasantly surprising him, constitute the objectives of the service with heart proposed by the chain as the cornerstone of its company philosophy. A philosophy which places the guest's satisfaction as the main value.

This attitude to the guest has enabled the company to achieve a high degree of loyalty. The chain's average for repeat guests is 45%.

Riu Hotels: From a Small Family Business to an International Company

The company came into being in 1953 with a small hotel in Majorca, and now has 112 establishments with 15.000 employees and is present in 15 countries 

A total of 112 holiday hotels with categories ranging from three to five stars in Spain, Portugal, the Caribbean, the United States, North Africa and the eastern Mediterranean, offering globally 33.000 rooms and just over 68,000 beds,with 1.8 million customers and 15.000 employees, united by one motto: give the guest service with heart.

These figures sum up the RIU Group's ( current situation. This small family business was created in1953 in Playa de Palma (Majorca), with the purchase of the small 80-bed hotel San Francisco, and has now become the 29th biggest hotel chain in the world, specialising in sun and beach holidays, with guests mainly of central European origin but also an incipient American clientele (from the United States, Canada and Argentina) as well as Spanish guests. 

The chain had a turnover of 780 million EURO in the year 2003. This data consolidates RIU as the second largest chain in Spain in terms of turnover. 

RIU's establishments are located in the Balearic Islands (16), the Canary Islands (31), Portugal (2) Andalusia (9), Gerona (1), the Dominican Republic (8) Cuba (2), Florida (2), Mexico (9), Jamaica (2), Tunisia (11), Bulgaria (6),Cyprus (5),Greece (1), Rumania (2), Marocco ( 2), Croatia (1), Madeira (1) and Bahamas (1).

150 metres from the Riu Centre, on the beach front, is the Riu San Francisco, the chain's very first establishment, where the family business was started up in 1953 by Mr. Juan Riu and his son, Mr. Luis Riu Bertrán, both natives of the La Garrocha region of Gerona in Catalonia.

Luis Riu Bertrán was chief executive of the chain until his death, at the age of 65, on April 7th 1998.

Since then the company has been directed by the second generation, in the form of Mr. Riu Bertrán's two children: Carmen Riu Güell (a specialist in administration and finance) and Luis Riu Güell (in charge of expansion). Both born in Palma, they share the post of chief executive.

All the hotels in the chain are managed by Riusa-II, a company created in 1993 for the running of hotels, 50% of which belongs to the Riu family, with the other 50% being held by the German tour operator TUI, RIU's traditional partner and number one tour operator in Europe.

Riusa-II and some shareholder-type companies together make up the RIU Hotels & Resorts Group.

Since its creation RIU Hotels has never shared out profits. They are reinvested in full in the creation of new hotels, the renovation of those already in existence or the purchase of other establishments. Like the 11 Iberotel hotels acquired in 1993 and the 9 hotels bought from the British Belhaven chain. In this way the company has basically self-financed its growth and its current level of debt is low. 

After the creation of the family business in the 1950s, the company grew in the '60s due to the opening up of Spain to Europe and the consequent inrush of European holiday tourists to Spanish beaches.

After increasing its number of hotels in Majorca and consolidating itself as a company, in the '80s RIU expanded its activity in the Canary Islands, an archipelago which, added to the attraction of its beaches, is also a non-seasonal destination due to its mild climate, allowing hotels to remain open all year round.

Due to the importance of the turnover contributed to the chain by the Canaries, RIU established part of its head offices in Playa del Inglés in Gran Canaria, amongst them the Human Resources Department and the Staff Training Centre, devoted to the retraining of the chain's professionals.

After its solid expansion in the Canary Islands (where it is now the leader in the supply of accommodation), Riu Hotels began its internationalisation in the '90s, with the inauguration of the hotel Riu Taíno in Punta Cana (Dominican Republic). From this island, the beaches of which are amongst the most beautiful in the world, the chain has expanded to Cuba, Florida, Mexico, Jamaica, Bahamas and the Portuguese island of Madeira.

In October of 2003 19 RIU hotels ranked amongst the 100 best hotels in the world in the holiday sector, according to the votes of TUI customers, for which the TUI-Holly prizes are awarded. And furthermore four RIU hotels were amongst the top ten, with the Riu Palace Maspalomas in first place for the second time in just 10 years of its existence.

On January 30th the Riu Palace Las Americas, a luxury five-star hotel, was opened. This establishment is located in Cancun and is the chain's new flagship outside of Spain.

High quality of service and personalised treatment of guests constitute the cornerstone of RIU's philosophy, a philosophy which has allowed a modest family business with 80 beds to be turned into an international hotel chain with over 68,000 in four decades. A chain which is still expanding, exclusively in sun and beach holiday destinations, without abandoning the values on which its success is founded, and which foresees an increase in its accommodation capacity in the first years of the 21st century with new hotels in the Canary Islands, Andalusia, Rumania, Bulgaria, the Caribbean, the United States and Africa.

RIU Hotels head office has been in the Riu Centre, in Playa de Palma, since 1982: RIU Hotels, Riu Centre, calle Llaüd s/n, 07610-Playa de Palma, Majorca. Switchboard tel.: (34) 971- 74 30 30


RIU Hotels & Resorts
Phone: +34 971 74 30 30

Also See: RIU Hotels & Resorts Opens the 60 million Euros Riu Palace Las Americas in Cancun / February 2004
RIU Hotels and Resorts Opening its Largest Hotel, the 700 room ClubHotel Riu Jalisco in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico / April 2002

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