Portugal is where our clients want to visit says Hyatt regional vice president

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“Portugal is a country our hotel group wants to be in” says Nuno Galvão Pinto, Regional Vice-President Acquisitions and Developments. 

Speaking to Essential Business on the sidelines of the Essentia Live #1 Conference “Global Brands, Tourist Destinations and the Real Estate Market” which ran in Lisbon on Thursday, Galvão Pinto said that Portugal has “huge potential”. 

“We’ve been looking at this market for quite some time, and we go to markets where the clients want to be. Portugal is one of those locations. It’s really on the map now and matured. It’s a very authentic and experiencial destination market in terms of culture, gastronomy, history and nature” he says.

“When we look at Lisbon, it has a huge fashion and art scene, great shopping facilities, amazing food and night life, friendly people, great climate, it’s safe and this is what our clients want. So we are bringing that to them not to mention the fact that we have a huge reputation in China” adds Galvão Pinto. 

Says Galvão Pinto, “When we look at the trends globally, its all about experiencial tourism and hotel products and Hyatt offers a very unique hotel experience with a very special set of hotel brands. 

Hyatt now has 750 hotels around the world, but is relatively small in Europe with 50 hotels at present. Portugal is on our map and we will be announcing something soon,” says Galvão Pinto who was a keynote speaker at the Essentia Live #1 Conference.

“When we look at our World of Hyatt members, who collect points globally and in Europe, and we ask where do they want to go and take their families on holiday, Portugal is one of those destinations. The Americans now know Portugal and we have a huge American client base. Asian tourists too are travelling more and using our hotels and are showing an increased interest in coming to Portugal and Europe in general.”

Nuno Galvão Pinto believes that the increased air routes to and from the United States and Portugal are certainly helping immensely with carriers such as TAP, American Airlines and United Airlines having all opened up new destinations and increased services

“It’s also the fact that there is an increasing Chinese community that is travelling. They first started travelling within their country, then they started to have the means of travelling outside China and where do they go? It’s those destinations that offer the European cultural, gastronomic and shopping experience,” he opines.

Asked why Hyatt didn’t penetrate the Portuguese market before, Nuno Galvão Pinto explains, “We are the smaller of the big players — the so-called Big 5, and it was a combination of different strategies. We were very late on the franchising bandwagon which is a big way of structuring deals in Europe. There’s very few real management contracts; instead, lots of leasing contracts in Portugal, so you have to do franchising.” 

Historically, Hyatt also has smaller development teams. “We are signing a lot of deals now and getting traction in Europe and we’ve successfully tested that in London and now want to get into the big cities on the European continent and Portugal is a country we want to be,” concludes Nuno Galvão Pinto.