Iberostar’s Daniela Pranjic on guest experience & sustainability in the resort industry

daniela pranjic

We talked with Daniela Pranjic about her role, guest experience, and sustainability in the resort industry.

Iberostar Hotels & Resorts is a leading hotel chain committed to developing a responsible tourism model, focused on caring for both people and the environment.Iberostar has more than 100 four- and five-star properties in the most popular vacation destinations in Europe, Africa and America. These include beachfront, city, and heritage hotels, as well as a Grand category, offering the highest level of luxury and excellence. 

Families, couples, and friends can enjoy all-inclusive holidays at hotels in Tenerife, on the Costa del Sol, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica or Brazil. Or immerse themselves in history and culture in cities and destinations like Madrid, Barcelona, Lima, and Montenegro.

Daniela Pranjic is Iberostar’s Regional Spa Director, managing spa operations across six properties within 11 resorts in Mexico and involved in upcoming openings in Aruba and the Dominican Republic. 

She studied economics and business before her family moved from Croatia to Austria and she started her first job in the hotel and tourism industry in the Food & Beverage (F&B) department at a hotel. She later decided, during a vacation in the Dominican Republic, to relocate there and, shortly after, achieved that dream by securing a position as a Guest Service Manager.

“My career in the Caribbean involved roles in guest services, managing weddings, conducting site inspections, eventually leading to a hotel manager position, first in a hotel with 51 rooms, then as the opening manager for a hotel with 267 rooms. Seeking new challenges and learning opportunities, I transitioned to a Spa Manager role, focusing on spa opening, branding, and traveling.

“Later, I expanded my horizons as a Regional Guest Experience Manager, overseeing various aspects of guest experiences at an all-inclusive resort, including daily and nightly activities, in-room experiences, special events, and spa services. After a decade with Melia Hotels and Resorts, I transitioned to Royalton Resorts (Blue Diamond) as the Corporate Spa Director. In this capacity, I was responsible for opening spas in multiple destinations, revamping spa menus, selecting products, developing standard operating procedures (SOPs) and manuals, training staff, and formulating budgets and sales strategies.”

Five years ago, she joined Iberostar as the Corporate Spa Director for Mexico.

We talked with Daniela Pranjic about her role, guest experience, and sustainability in the resort industry.

Can you please talk about your role at Iberostar and what it entails?

My responsibilities include overseeing the operations of six spas across Mexico. My role entails the preparation of annual budgets for all spas, strategizing for sales growth, developing standards and protocols, ensuring their implementation in daily operations, creation of new services, and enhancing guest experiences. I am responsible for designing spa menus, selecting the finest products for our guests, and ensuring continuous training and welfare for our staff. I am also involved in the development and opening of new Iberostar properties, with upcoming projects in Aruba and the Dominican Republic.

What makes the best guest experience?

Creating the ultimate guest wellness experience in a hotel or resort, especially within an all-inclusive setting, demands exceptional offerings that stand out. I believe the key to exceeding guest expectations lies in providing unique, locally-inspired products and experiences. Continuously training staff, ensuring our services are inclusive and accessible to all guests, staying on top of industry developments, and incorporating them into our offerings allows us to deliver the best wellness experiences. We recently conducted a training for cancer care therapies and saw how, in just one treatment, we can positively impact a client’s daily life by relieving pain and improving range of movement and sleep quality. 

How does Iberostar integrate the principles of sustainability and environmental responsibility into its spa and wellness offerings? 

Iberostar seamlessly incorporates sustainability and environmental responsibility into its spa and wellness services. For example, for over three years, all our hotels and spas have been free of single-use plastics. And our Wave of Change initiative is a pioneering responsible tourism movement towards a circular economy to promote the responsible consumption of seafood, improving coastal health, and protecting our coral reefs. A critical part of that project is not using or selling any products containing micro plastic or oxybenzone.

Our objectives are to achieve zero waste and 100% responsible seafood consumption by 2025, and become carbon neutral by 2030. Plus, we aim to have all ecosystems surrounding Iberostar properties improving in ecological health alongside profitable tourism by 2030. Our Wave of Change initiative is set to become a key factor for 60% of guests choosing Iberostar by 2025. 

For a deeper dive into our commitment and initiatives, visit our website at www.waveofchange.com. 

Do you find yourself using technology more at work in recent years?

Yes we do, especially during and after the Covid. We are a paperless company, so we are using more digital options in our spa operations. This includes using the hotel app for spa reservations, online bookings and check in, and digital guest intake forms.

Can you discuss any challenges Iberostar faces in the wellness tourism sector and how the company is addressing them?

As a sustainable company our main challenge was offering the best possible service and guest experience in our all inclusive resorts and staying sustainable in that process. This hard work involves many departments in Mexico and across the border focused on achieving the same main goal.  

We analyze our consumption levels – have you ever thought about the origins of your products? Consider the vast amount of resources needed to produce the multitude of things we have in our lives. We’ve grown accustomed to a system that takes from the environment to produce goods with short lifespans, only to be ultimately thrown away when their use runs out. Those are some questions we ask ourselves as a company. We take, consume and waste more than our planet can support. 

One proposed solution is working towards a circular economy. Circular economies focus on the retention of value in the material cycle through reusing and recycling material such as plastic to prevent their release into the environment. Again you can read more about his here: www.waveofchange.com   

What are you most excited about for the spa, wellness, and hospitality industry this year?

The training that we have planned for our staff for this year, to see our new spa uniforms coming out by mid of the year, our first spa meeting for Ibesostar America in May, to be able to meet my colleagues and share our experiences, and the opening of Iberostar in Aruba to see our  new baby coming!


Spa Executive is published by Book4Time, the leader in guest management, revenue and mobile solutions for the most exclusive spas, hotels, and resorts around the globe. Learn more at book4time.com.

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