Airam Lorenzo is the Director of Operations, Food and Beverage at Palma Convention Centre.
He was involved in the opening of the Palma Convention Centre, contributing all his experience in F&B, and is now responsible for operations in the Convention Centre, supervising all its activities and coordinating all departments to ensure the success of every event and maximum customer satisfaction
How are Food and Beverage services managed at the Convention Centre?
Unlike other Convention Centres, we have our own Food and Beverage team focused on catering to our customers’ needs and providing a personalised service following the philosophy of the Meliá brand.
We do our best to find out the needs of our customers so that we can adapt our services and food and drinks options. The involvement of the Food and Beverage department in the negotiation of the event together with the sales department is really important as we can help design the food and beverage service that best meets our customers’ needs. Nowadays we have to know more about the customers’ strategy, their objectives, the type of people that will be attending, etc. It’s really important that we have a comprehensive view of the event a long time before it is actually held.
What are the main benefits of having an in-house Food and Beverage service rather than an external service?
Because we don’t depend on any third parties, we are much more flexible than other venues in adapting to customer needs. Having our own team, trained in-house, allows us to react quicker and always offer the highest levels of quality, regardless of the size of each event. Although the cuisine, decoration and technical capacity have a big impact, the human factor and quality service are what people remember most. We always remember that outstanding waiter or cook who was so helpful and approachable. For me, our team is fundamental. It’s the basis of the whole experience.
How do you develop the catering proposal?
We base our work on 3 key factors: innovation, quality and empathy.
Innovation is vital in a constantly changing world and we have to be at the cutting edge of development, from culinary techniques to presentation style, at the same time always emphasising our awareness and respect for the environment.
Quality is our most important objective, and undoubtedly the basis for success in our work. If we do not strive for perfection, we will never achieve success.
Empathy with our customers allows us to put ourselves in their place and understand the objectives of their event. We provide hospitality and make sure we always answer "yes" or provide valid options.
What do modern customers demand?
Customers are looking for something different and unique, unrepeatable experiences, something local and authentic. They want their events to make a lasting impression on participants and the community, and all with the least possible environmental impact.
The search for "wow" factors and effective communication are two of their biggest demands. Customers awareness about environmental issues has led to specific actions such as the elimination of plastic, in which we were pioneers, and also offering sustainable products from local suppliers, if possible.
Which of the Meliá services would you highlight?
Our facilities are designed to meet the needs of a large number of different types of customers, meaning that the wide variety and combination of services, set-ups, furniture and facilities allows us to offer something which is beyond the reach of competitors.
We are committed to a circular economy, to shared responsibility, to waste management, to recycling, and to the purchase of local products. One of our big objectives is to introduce our customers to local cuisine.
We use 100% recycled materials for our meetings as part of our “Eco Meet” brand concept. This year we started work on creating a 100% circular economy process with the local TIRME recycling plant. The TIRME team collects all the organic waste we generate and convert it into compost which is then supplied to our local “Agromallorca” farms. The farms then supply us with all our local fruit and vegetables.
Describe the Food and Beverage team at the Palma Convention Centre
For me, the team I work with is essential. It is the basis of all our operations. If we want to do things well, we have to really put a lot of passion into our work. It’s not a matter of simply serving, but more of creating an entire experience.
At the Palma Convention Centre we have teams that are experts in event organisation which are complemented by the rest of the Meliá hotel team. This allows us the luxury of having highly qualified people both in the event room and in the kitchens, all of whom are very much aware of the Meliá brand quality and service standards. The objective is to transfer the Meliá excellence in hotel food and beverage services to the Convention Centre.
TaPalma is the tapas & cocktails route in Palma, and this year it will be held from November 25 to 29. In addition, on November 23, two days before the gastronomic route, TaPalma will celebrate the tapas contest at the Palau de Congressos de Palma, for the third year.
Bureau Veritas, a market leader in inspection, certification and testing, has completed the certification of the Meliá Hotels International “Stay Safe with Meliá” programme of preventative measures to combat COVID-19 and has also confirmed a level of compliance of 100% in company hotels.
The spread of the Covid-19 pandemic and the need to reduce the pressure on the public health system in the Balearic Islands led to the Meliá Palma Bay Hotel and Palma Convention Centre being converted into hospitals in late March under the management of the Son Llàtzer University Hospital.