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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Alfredo Tavares: “When we see a room [num hotel em Lisboa] at 100 euros, we are selling cheap, because everything is better” – Economy

“When we see a room [num hotel em Lisboa] at 100 euros, I think we are selling the room cheaply, because the materials are better, because the service is better, because in fact everything is better [do que no estrangeiro]”, defended Alfredo Tavares, in an interview with the Lusa agency, regarding the inauguration of the fourth hotel of the TBH group, Dos Reis, in Lisbon.

The most recent hotel resulted from an investment of 16 million euros, for the conversion of a Pombaline building, on Avenida Almirante Reis, into a four-star hotel with 54 rooms.

“If you go to ‘Booking’

which is now the barometer of everything, […] there will be no city […] with hotels with better ratings than Lisbon. At the same time, there will be no city with hotels with a lower price/quality”, stressed the person in charge who joined the TBH group six months ago.

Thus, the person in charge considered that mid-range hotels in Lisbon, where the TBH are included, should not sell cheaper, at least, than the others, where “the service is not better, the quality is not better, but they are much more expensive”.

According to data from the National Institute of Statistics (INE), published in February, the average income per available room (RevPAR) in the country reached, in 2022, 56.2 euros, increasing 72.5% compared to the previous year, with increases of 74 .8% in hotels, 81.6% in local accommodation and 18.8% in rural and residential tourism.

For Alfredo Tavares, this rise is due not only to inflation, but also to increased demand.

“What do hoteliers realize? That they can sell more expensive than what they sold and that, if they don’t lower the price, they will end up selling anyway”, he pointed out. “After all, we can sell at prices that we deserve to sell, because people still buy”, he stressed.

“It’s not enough to raise prices, we have to raise wages”

According to the person in charge, the group also felt the effects of the lack of labor in the sector, mainly due to the departure of professionals to other areas during the pandemic.

“We also have [os hoteleiros] to raise wages – and well – it’s not enough to raise prices, we have to raise wages. Us [TBH] we cannot save on wages, nor do we want to save on wages,” he said.

In this sense, in order to face the increase in operating costs, the group’s strategy is to “save” on the cost of booking, using fewer and fewer intermediaries.

“Hotels should think about not depending so much on the ‘online’, try to reduce as much as possible what are the intermediaries of the hotels that we have to sell. […] I think that sometimes there is no strategy – now there is a little more – but, if there is a strategy, that is what makes the price go up”, he pointed out.

The group, which opened its first hotel in Lisbon 10 years ago and since then has opened a new establishment every two and a half years, currently has the United States of America (USA) as its main market, which has been increasing its representativeness in the tourists who visit Portugal, especially in Lisbon.

“We feel that non-Europeans are coming more and our biggest market at the moment is the North American, there is no doubt. They are the ones who pay the most and are the ones who book the most in advance”, pointed out the general director.

Asked about the issue of local accommodation, within the scope of the restrictive measures being advocated by the Government, Alfredo Tavares considered that, although “good for business”, it should obey the same rules as hotels, which does not happen.

“To open a hotel, there are a series of rules – and well, there is nothing against it – from the association of firefighters, security, a series of things that are mandatory, alarm systems, fire systems, in short, nobody opens a hotel without this to be tested. In local accommodation this does not happen, so the rules are not the same, but the customers are the same ”, he pointed out.

The Dos Reis hotel was inaugurated on the 7th of March, in a ceremony that was attended by the mayor of Lisbon, Carlos Moedas, and, according to the director general, it already has an occupancy rate of around 80%. .

The TBH group has four boutique hotels in Lisbon, two on Avenida Almirante Reis, one on Praça da Figueira and one on Rua da Madalena, the result of an investment of around 50 million euros in the last decade, and is currently considering expanding its activity to other cities, such as, for example, Porto.

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