RIU Hotels & Resorts and TUI: A safety concern for German travelers?

RIU Hotels & Resorts and TUI: A safety concern for German travelers?

RIU Hotels & Resorts just bought 10 million Euros in the form of 1.1 million shares in TUI AG, holding now a stake of 3.56%. TUI Group is headquartered in Hannover, Germany. It is the largest leisure, travel, and tourism company in the world and owns travel agencies, hotels, airlines, cruise ships, and retail stores.

Is this bad news for travelers? It just might be. RIU is into mass tourism. The hotel group seems to have money to invest in companies like TUI, but is this money missing when it comes to providing safe and up-to-standard accommodation?

RIU Hotels & Resorts is a Spanish hotel chain founded by the Riu family as a small holiday firm in 1953. It was founded in Mallorca, Spain, and is currently 49% owned by TUI and run by the third generation of the family. The company’s business is focused on the holiday hotel sector, and over 70% of its establishments offer an all-inclusive service.

With the opening of its first city hotel in 2010, RIU extended its range of products with its own line of city hotels called Riu Plaza. RIU Hotels & Resorts has 105 hotels in 19 countries and employs 27,813 people. In 2014, the hotel chain hosted a total of 4 million guests.

Does it mean TUI is no longer concerned about safety? It may very well be the case.

A recent mystery shopping report by eTN on one of the Caribbean RIU Resorts raised alarming concerns for customer service, safety, and quality of the RIU chain.

eTN reached out to TUI but there was no response. There was a response from RIU, but a template response with no substance.

Here is the background.

Some RIU resorts are still using traditional over-sized room keys with the room number engraved on it. You see these keys on empty beach chairs, swimming pool tables, bars, simply everywhere guests are present. The size of the key makes it impossible to put them into a pocket, and the room number imprinted on them is an open invitation for anyone with bad intentions.

The same hotel was flooded with theft reports, reports of rape, and drug dealings, but RIU Corporate Communications stated to eTurboNews there was no security concern.

RIUs’ response was:


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“Our records don’t indicate that the traditional key and key chain result in more insecurity. In any case, and aiming to modernize all of our offers, all of the newly-constructed and renovated hotels (which represent the vast majority) introduce electronic key cards. This will be the case for this hotel in the near future.
“I’d also like to reiterate that we take safety and the well-being of our clients very seriously and that we are fully cooperating and coordinated with authorities. We cannot share details and figures, as we only do so with official auditors and authorized representatives, but we want to state that we fully comply with all regulations. Apart, we are carrying out other extra measures such as training for our employees.”
While many hotel groups including Marriott and Hyatt are employing a large safety and security team with hundreds of cameras monitoring every inch of their resort 24/7, RIU hotels often have no security whatsoever and are relying on local police.
GMs from competing hotels and hotel organizations are well aware of the problem at RIU resorts, and eTN talked to a former GM saying he quit his job about security concerns and the company being unwilling to invest in employing a security team.
The eTN mystery shopper stayed at a RIU resort for 3 nights and 2 nights which had no room service provided and no manager was available to speak to the guest.
When he checked in at midnight at a sold-out RIU resort, there was not one single towel in the room, and sand and dirt was in the shower. Cleaning staff was not available until 8 am.
Requests to RIU customer service were responded to with a statement that they were surprised the guest had a complaint, but no reimbursement was given due to the low room rate ($265/night).
Reading on Trip Advisor’s website indicates that alcoholic drinks in RIU’s all-inclusive resorts are so weak that after 20 rum tropical drinks, one will have a sugar rush but won’t feel the alcohol.
Food is labeled incorrectly or not labeled at all, and many guests posted that it’s simply “disgusting.”
In the meantime, Luis Riu, CEO of RIU Hotels & Resorts, declared that the purchase operation “represents a further step in the historic collaboration between the two companies and further evidence that the fourth generation of the family, just like the third, remains committed to the future of joint business with the world’s leading tourism group.”
The historic relationship between TUI and RIU dates back 50 years, having been formalized in 1977 with the creation of RIU Hotels S.A., a hotel development company with a 49% stake held by TUI and 51% by the Riu family. RIUSA II S.A. was founded in 1993 as a hotel operations company in which both firms hold a 50% stake. RIU has been a shareholder of TUI AG since 2004.

Author: Juergen T Steinmetz

Juergen Thomas Steinmetz has continuously worked in the travel and tourism industry since he was a teenager in Germany (1979), beginning as a travel agent up through today as a publisher of eTurboNews (eTN), one of the world’s most influential and most-read travel and tourism publications. He is also Chairman of ICTP. His experiences include working and collaborating with various national tourism offices and non-governmental organizations, as well as private and non-profit organizations, and in planning, implementing, and quality control of a range of travel and tourism-related activities and programs, including tourism policies and legislation. His major strengths include a vast knowledge of travel and tourism from the point of view of a successful private enterprise owner, superb networking skills, strong leadership, excellent communication skills, strong team player, attention to detail, dutiful respect for compliance in all regulated environments, and advisory skills in both political and non-political arenas with respect to tourism programs, policies, and legislation. He has a thorough knowledge of current industry practices and trends and is a computer and Internet junkie.

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