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Annual Technology Rock Stars Juan Carlos Karisma Hotels

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March 14, 2023
Technology Leaders
Fran Worrall

2023 Technology Rock Stars:

Juan Carlos Carrillo is chief information officer at Karisma Hotels & Resorts, owner and operator of award-winning properties in Mexico, Jamaica, Colombia, the Dominican Republic and Montenegro. His responsibilities include overseeing strategic planning, IT budgeting, digital transformation, infrastructure, networking, custom programming and future innovations. After serving as IT manager at Camino Real Hotels, he joined Karisma in 2007 as IT manager of one of its largest properties and was promoted to CIO three years ago. He serves on the board of directors of Cancun & Riviera Maya IT Professionals and helped
form a new HFTP chapter in Mexico.

Within a few years after Carrillo joined Karisma, the company began to grow, and technology demands were changing. “We had about 17 hotels at the time and needed a more robust PMS,” he said. After reviewing a number of solutions, the company selected the Sihot PMS from German company Gubse, a product particularly well suited to the many all-inclusive properties at Karisma.

“The all-inclusive model is very different from others,” he explained. “It’s the model of working with a wholesaler. Instead of creating new contracts each time we open a hotel, we use wholesalers who already have established the contracts.” But as the company began to expand outside of Mexico and operate a mix of property types, it became more challenging to connect all the dots. “Implementing invoicing, procurement, sales and distribution in various countries was a problem.”

Additionally, as the company grew, it wanted to move its property management system to the cloud. Last year, Carrillo was tasked once again with finding and implementing a new solution. After months of research, he recommended the Opera Cloud PMS from Oracle. “I especially appreciate the open API model and its ability to connect with so many other solutions,” he said. Karisma will go live with the solution in May at the new Margaritaville Island Reserve Riviera Maya. Other hotels will follow over the next 18 months.

Carrillo also recently introduced an NFC wristband system that shows guest IDs when scanned. The wristbands, which are mailed to guests after they make reservations, function as room keys and enable cashless payment. Also embedded in the bracelets are any special dietary requirements. The wristbands are synced to Karisma’s loyalty program so that guests can earn points. The solution is implemented at the company’s Margaritaville resorts and at its new Nickelodeon property in Riviera Maya, where the bracelet is used for day visitors at the water park as well as for hotel guests.

Carrillo also has addressed in-room technology with interactive TV that is integrated with the property management system. A web application called ‘Guest Assistant’ provides concierge contacts, enables guests to book restaurant and spa reservations, and sells several non-packaged products, such as special dinners.

One of his key projects for 2023 will be implementing a Zero Trust security model. “Innovations, particularly ones that involve a large number of Wi-Fi access points, add to your cybersecurity needs,” Carrillo concluded. “We’re committed to investing in technology that protects guests and minimizes threats.”


  • Family: Married with 14-year-old twin boys and a family cat.
  • Hobbies: Billiards. “I’m a professional three-cushion billiards player, which is played with three balls on a table with no pockets. It’s very popular in Mexico and Europe.”
  • Go-To Periodical or Website: Hotel Technology News. “It keeps me updated on the latest industry developments.”
  • Book: The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari by Robin S. Sharma. “It’s a fable about how to live with courage and joy and create a life of balance.”
  • Music: Rock & roll. “Aerosmith, Van Halen and Red Hot Chili Peppers are a few of my favorites.”
  • Travel Destination: Las Vegas. “There are so many extraordinary shows. It’s amazing.
  • Advice to Young People: "It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice.”
  • Dinner With: Nikola Tesla, the inventor known for his contributions to the design of the modern electricity supply system. "He was so full of ideas and potential. Over dinner, my only words would be, 'Tell me whatever you want, and promise to share it with others.'"



GUESTS WILL INCREASINGLY DEMAND TAILOR-MADE STAYS. “Younger generations, in particular, want to vacation their own way,” HE SAID. “There will be a cost, but it won’t matter. Travelers will want their hotel stays to be customized.”

VIRTUAL REALITY WILL BE USED FOR PROPERTY TOURS. “Virtual reality glasses and 3-D maps will give guests a taste of properties before they book. Nice pictures and videos won’t be enough.”
SECURITY WILL CONTINUE TO EVOLVE. “Connectivity in the future will be based on certificates from smart devices. Passwords no longer will be required.”

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