5 QUES­TIONS TO GUILHERME CAS­TRO, CEO OF SAMBA HOTEIS

Hospitality News Middle East - - NEWS - Lu­men­hos­pi­tal­ity.com

Cas­tro high­lights the Brazil­ian ho­tel man­age­ment com­pany and its de­but in the Mid­dle East with Bossa Nova in Beirut.

1. How did you as­sess the mar­ket be­fore found­ing the com­pany in Brazil? We con­ducted a thor­ough mar­ket study and came up with a solid plan that matches the great busi­ness op­por­tu­nity we have at hand. We un­der­stood the mar­ket was scream­ing for new ways to drive a ho­tel busi­ness from both the stake­hold­ers and clients’ stand point. Stake­hold­ers were dis­sat­is­fied with their part­ner­ship with in­ter­na­tional com­pa­nies, due to lack of com­mu­ni­ca­tion, high costs and un­rea­son­able fees.

2. What cat­e­gory does your ho­tel brand be­long to? We have two brands: Samba (mid­scale) and Bossa Nova (up­scale). Both are driven by the same main idea and con­cept of pro­vid­ing a high qual­ity of ser­vice. We now un­der­stand that clients are no longer look­ing at stay­ing in “nice” ho­tels, but are ex­pect­ing a unique prop­erty high­lighted by great am­bi­ence and an above stan­dard ex­pe­ri­ence.

3. How did you fi­nance your ven­ture? So far, we did it in­de­pen­dently, de­spite sev­eral part­ner­ship pro­pos­als. The com­pany has to reach a more ma­ture level be­fore launch­ing such part­ner­ships. How­ever, we drive great joint ven­tures with sev­eral ho­tels where we share part of the in­vest­ment, but not in the main com­pany.

4. Why did you de­cide to open the first Bossa Nova ho­tel in Beirut? As a his­to­rian, I re­ally en­joy Mid­dle Eastern cul­ture, es­pe­cially the Le­banese cul­ture, since its pres­ence is largely felt in Brazil. The Bossa Nova brand sounds both ex­otic and fa­mil­iar to the Le­banese mar­ket, con­sid­er­ing this as a strong sell­ing point for pen­e­trat­ing the Mid­dle East. From a cor­po­rate per­spec­tive, Le­banon is the sec­ond coun­try in the Mastercard In­dex ex­pen­di­tures in Mid­dle East/africa, due to the fact that many in­ter­na­tional com­pa­nies have cho­sen to have their Mid­dle East of­fices in Beirut. The Bossa Nova Beirut Ho­tel is lo­cated in the Sin el Fil dis­trict and will be a bou­tique ho­tel, fo­cus­ing mainly on the up­scale cor­po­rate sec­tor. Daily rates will range be­tween USD 90 and 150.

5. Why did you take the leap into own­er­ship? When I per­ceived that com­pet­i­tive­ness was not the most im­por­tant part of the com­pany I was work­ing for. I had a con­sis­tent 16-year ca­reer at Hil­ton, work­ing in dif­fer­ent ho­tels and cor­po­rate of­fices. I needed to take my ca­reer in an­other di­rec­tion. I con­sider my­self a per­son who has an en­trepreneur­ship soul, with a need to be chal­lenged rather than re­main com­fort­able hold­ing on to a big ti­tle. In just three short years, we have man­aged to grow the chain, are cur­rently run­ning six ho­tels and ex­pand­ing to 10 ho­tels by the end of this year. Two of them were taken over from in­ter­na­tional brands, such as Ac­cor.

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