Name: Raul Cuadrado
Campus: Les Roches Marbella
Degree: BBA International Hotel Management, 2004
Current Position: Director of Sales & Marketing, Hotel Hesperia Madrid
Not long after Raúl Cuadrado graduated from Les Roches in 2004, he landed a job in which he had to learn to be a jack of all trades. He was offered a spot on a team to launch Hard Rock Hotels in Spain, and he was intrigued by the offer: “It was a joint venture with [hotel brand] Melia, and the idea was very modern, very fashionable — it was closely related to the world of music and celebrities.” Raúl decided to come on board.
However, the plan soon changed. Instead, Melia made plans to open a new brand, ME by Melia, in Madrid. “Melia wanted to launch ME by Melia in just a month and a half. Today there are ME by Melia locations around the world, but that was the first one.” With such a short time frame, Raúl had to learn the ropes fast. “It was a hotel opening, and I had to work on everything from general management to sales. We were only seven or eight people on the team.”
Work kept him busy around the clock, but Raúl was also excited to be immersed in so many different aspects of the hotel business in a hip environment. “ME by Melia is all about lifestyle marketing, design and emotion. The Madrid hotel was opened as a joint venture with a US food and beverage lounge bar owned by Cindy Crawford’s husband, and George Clooney was a good friend of his, so he came to the hotel. There’s a very cool rooftop terrace where celebrities often go.”
As international sales manager at ME by Melia, Raúl absorbed a lot about the hotel world, but after around five years at ME, the time came for him to move on. Raúl wanted to grow and develop his career, so he went for a position at Hotel Hesperia Madrid, where he is now director of sales and marketing. “I love sales,” Raúl says, “You travel, you meet new people. I love traveling to create more brand awareness of Hesperia Madrid and our new brand NH Collection hotels.”
Just before giving an interview with Les Roches, Raúl had gone to Hong Kong to promote Madrid as a tourism destination with a delegation of hotel representatives from the Spanish capital. Together with Spanish department store El Corté Inglés, the hotel representatives held a VIP event at the Grand Hyatt Hong Kong to highlight Madrid as a destination for luxury shopping and five-star hotels. The event drew tourism professionals, local media and celebrities.
Traveling to promote his brand is just one of the aspects Raúl enjoys while working in sales and marketing. “You don’t realize how important sales and marketing is for a hotel,” he says. “The leaders of sales and marketing are the ones working with the general manager to decide on a business strategy. You work on an action plan.” Raúl also stressed the need for teamwork and good communication among employees: “You need good people who understand you and who are proactive. I work with a lot of departments — with the revenue manager, marketing and communication, social media and sales.”
Raúl is passionate about what he does, but he knows it’s hard work that got him to where he is today. To recent Les Roches grads, he says you have to “work, work and work — our industry is very hard and very demanding. Teamwork is important, and you have to be very open and flexible. If you really love hotels and traveling, the industry helps you travel to different countries and learn from different categories — it makes you stronger and more professional.”