Angie Clavijo: The Innovation Interview

Angie Clavijo Begazo, General Manager of the Sumaq Machu Picchu Hotel in Aguas Calientes, Peru shares her thoughts and insights on how technology and innovation is impacting the hotel business.

Prior to joining her family’s business, Angie studied Portuguese, Italian, English, French and German languages to better understand and communicate with her guests. She furthered her studies at by studying gastronomy at Le Cordon Bleu Perú.

The Sumaq Machu Picchu Hotel opened on August 29, 2007 and is owned and operated by the Clavijo Begazo family. Today the hotel is the only Five-Star Hotel in town of Machu Picchu.

How do you define innovation and what does it mean to you?

Innovation means changing the way we are conducting business creatively and with processes or technologies in accordance with our guest’s needs.

What industry needs to embrace innovation and take more risks?

I think all the industries need to embrace cutting edge technology so that we can quicken the pace of our processes.

What is the best piece of advice that you have been given and received?

To utilize internet media to properly promote our hotel. Its been amazing for us to witness how many people use the internet to search for new destinations locations to experience new cultures.

What is your greatest achievement and why?

Our greatest achievement has been to be acknowledged as the best hotel 2 years in a row on Tripadvisor for Machu Picchu and the associated excellence certificate that we were awarded. To be granted this wonderful recognition from our guests is a great achievement.

Newspapers and Books: Digital or Physical?

Digital as it is the most environmentally sound option and helps us to conserve our planet’s vital resources. We are very proud to be a partner of The Rainforest Alliance.

What impact does social media and TripAdvisor have on your business?

It has a great impact on our business. As a result of excellent social media reviews, as those listed on TripAdvisor, we have been fortunate to connect with new guests and to expand our existing client base.

Do you feel that internet should be free to guests? There seems to be a shift happening with this amenity in several hotels as consumers prefer to have this fee built into the cost of the room rate.

We definitely feel that it should be a free amenity for our guests and it is complimentary at our hotel.

Any plans to offer mobile check in? Or do you feel that this will depersonalize the guest experience?

I do not feel that it depersonalizes the guest’s experience because we always have someone who contacts the guest when the reservation is made and greets them upon arrival.

What new technologies have exhibited the greatest impact on your business and best enhance your guest’s experience?

The internet has been a great promotional tool for our hotel as it allows guests to become familiar with our property, Macchu Picchu, and to be able to see beautiful photos of the hotel.

When we visited the hotel in August 2009 we were very impressed with your family’s incredible attention to detail and customer service. How are you able to maintain this high degree of service year after year?

We are in touch of every detail of the service that we provide to our guests. We are constantly speaking with our guests regarding their experiences and welcome their suggestions. In addition, we  frequent the property often so that our valued employees are always in touch with us to ensure the best customer service possible.