Ovation Portugal DMC had the pleasure to meet Luís Filipe Garcia, Sales Director at Iberostar Lisboa. Luís played a key role in the recent opening of the Lisbon’s 5-star hotel, Iberostar‘s first hotel in Portugal. In line with the company’s plans to increase its presence in the world’s leading tourist capitals, Iberostar’s urban portfolio already includes a number of superb hotels, among them, the Iberostar 70 Park Avenue, in New York, the Iberostar Grand Hotel Budapest, the Iberostar Las Letras Gran Vía in Madrid, the Iberostar Paseo de Gracia in Barcelona, and the Iberostar Grand Hotel Mencey in Santa Cruz de Tenerife. The new hotel in Lisbon offers a 5-star experience with city center luxury and exclusivity. We can’t wait to discover more about Luís’ background and the challenges he faced to bring this new hotel to success!
Describe yourself in three words.
Honest, objective and definitely a fighter
What is your professional background?
Everything started in 2001 at Air Luxor, a private air company, as a Reservations & Ticket Agent where I’ve been until May 2004. Afterwards, I’ve worked as a Customer Service & Helpdesk Executive at Travelport Portugal. From 2005 to 2007, I´ve begun my experience as Travel Agent at Novas Ideias agency and afterwards invited to develop PepeTravel.com.pt project as Portugal Manager with Pólis Viagens and Globália during 2 years and from 2009 to 2010 as Project Manager at Viaje.pt also with Pólis, Globália and PubliPartner, a company part of Media Capital Group. From April 2010 to July 2017 I have learnt and widen my experience in the hotel industry starting as a Sales Executive and moving step by step up to the position of Business Development Manager at the Tivoli Hotels & Resorts. After the acquisition of the chain by MINOR Hotel Group in 2016, I was invited to manage the Corporate segment as a Global Sales Manager of MINOR to all city hotels of the group. Last August I was offered to become the Sales Director of the new Iberostar Lisboa, the first hotel of the brand in Portugal.
How did you get into the business/the role you’re in today?
If I may, I´ll use the “travel cliché” when I say that by loving to travel, to meet other cultures, to connect with people and especially to be able to represent not only my brand but also my country, has helped a lot to get where I am today in the industry, and in the position I have.
And now…walk us through your “typical” day!
It is difficult to have a typical day, especially with an hotel 9 months old, having to do a bit of everything until is all set. Every week I plan how to promote not only to the local partners, corporate accounts and travel agencies, but also international ones. My day starts with checking the segment figures, the pick ups, how the other competitors are preparing actions with partners, performing sales calls, mainly to build awareness about Iberostar Lisboa.
Did you have any mentors or people who deeply influenced your career?
I think that a bit of each person that I had the pleasure to work with, have helped me to define my way of being and my commitment to the role in hands in each area of business.
What are the challenges faced by professionals from your industry today?
The constant changes of trends, it constantly pushes us to find a new “wow” factor, that thing that is a differentiating us from others and that will help to be the preferred option.
What is the best thing about working for Iberostar?
The constant learning from my colleagues from all departments as well as the opening of my first hotel which has been a great learning opportunity.
What are the best attributes of your country?
The best attribute of Portugal is being able to offer a bit of everything: from sunny beaches up to the snowy mountains, to sail in our rivers or sea, our amazing villages and cities from the top at Viana do Castelo, moving through Coimbra, Santarém, Alentejo and Algarve. Without forgetting our beautiful and breathtaking islands of Madeira and Azores and their amazing colours, definitely our extraordinary gastronomy and awarded wines.
What is your favourite destination in your country?
Without any question our Southwest Alentejo and Vicentine Coast
Proudest moments in your career to date?
To have grown step by step since 2001 up to where I´m now and the role I currently play at the Iberostar Lisboa. This makes me definitely proud, always after being a father of 2 amazing and lovely kids.
New York, São Paulo and Hong Kong
What did you want to become when you were a kid?
A Formula 1 racer like Ayrton Senna. I used to spend hours seated on the sofa imagining I was driving a race car. My mother was always tired of hearing my “changing shifts”!
What do you think about when you’re alone in your car?
The things I can’t forget to do when I get home or to the office.
Barry White, Parov Stelar, Queen and a lot others
Thank you so much Luís for giving us a little bit of your time, we wish you all the success at Iberostar Lisboa!