IPBN Tourism Conference: Panel 2 Speakers

How to Tackle and Create Disruption in the Hospitality Sector

More and more we are noticing that the tourism sector in Portugal is in a state of transformation to keep up with the new era of tourism that is awakening. In the midst of these changes, the Ireland Portugal Business Network (IPBN) is delighted to host an important conversation among experts in the hospitality sector for our second panel discussion, moderated by former Chair of the IPBN Aoife Healy, entitled How to Tackle and Create Disruption in the Hospitality Sector to better understand the current state of the sector and what evolution is ahead for the future.

Our expert panelists in hospitality management include Mark Fenelon, CEO of Clink Hostels. A qualified, dynamic Senior Executive, with extensive experience in business development and operations, Mark has a demonstrable record of success in generating and managing growth in high growth businesses. As a Chartered Accountant, with a BBLS degree and Post Graduate qualification in Computer Science, he has worked in Operational and Finance roles across Asia, the US, Mexico, and Europe where he developed strong strategic analysis skills, wide-ranging organizational perspectives, and a results-driven approach that have enabled him to generate considerable success for the company.

Clink Hostels manages a network of privately owned backpacker hostels located in Europe's best-loved cities currently operating across London and Amsterdam with three locations and a clear strategy for further expansion to Lisbon and Dublin, a plan that is in motion now. These hostels are set in amazing buildings and are fantastically located in vibrant neighborhoods. All Clink Hostels have impressive communal spaces which encourage interaction between guests, staff, and the local community. According to Mark, "We firmly believe in fostering the social aspect of travel, and aim for Clink Hostels to act as a forum for ideas and experiences."

Filipe Santiago, Senior Partner and Managing Director of Consulting at BlueShift, will be joining the second panel as well. Filipe is a C-level executive and consultant with a solid track record of performance delivery and extensive experience in strategy, turnaround management, and organizational change in hotels and resorts. BlueShift is a complete, integrated solution for investors and operators in the hospitality industry, from investment appraisal and investor procurement to operations, asset management, and exit. Led by a group of highly-skilled professionals with vast experience and a solid track record, it is structured into five divisions - White Label Management, Consulting, Capital, Talent, and Design.

In an interview with the IPBN, Filipe said, “Blue Shift’s value proposition is based on four pillars: First, we are hospitality specialists, with a known track-record; second, we offer an end-to-end solution, from investment analysis, through operation to exit; third, we have a disruptive blue ocean mindset; and finally, we create close partnerships with our clients." He also noted that "The Portuguese hospitality market does not have a tradition of hiring premium-priced high quality management or consulting services. We have been pretty much building the market, and gaining momentum, as the results show that it is worthwhile going for the most insightful consultants or the highest-performing managers, not the cheapest."

Sofia Borda de Água de Almeida, Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Tourism and Hospitality (FTH), Universidade Europeia will be the third panelist. Sofia holds a PhD in Tourism from the Institute of Geography and Spatial Planning (IGOT) at the Universidade de Lisboa, and a degree in Business Communication. She worked for fifteen years as a Marketing Director at the hotel marketing consortium, ARTEH® Hotels & Resorts, an independent hotel chain with international representation. Since 2002 performs training functions in the areas of Hospitality, Marketing, Digital Marketing, and Training of Trainers.

Throughout her professional career, she was responsible for the marketing department of Gente & Viagens Magazine. Sofia was part of the team that created and developed the Tourism Observatory, an organization under the supervision of the Ministry of Economy, created with the aim of systematizing and disseminating the statistics of tourist activity in Portugal. Currently, she is Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Tourism and Hospitality (FTH), Universidade Europeia. Her collaboration with this University began in 2009 (ISLA) as a lecturer in the areas of Tourism, Hotel Marketing, and Digital Marketing. Her research focuses on the areas of hotel management, networks, coopetition, hotel marketing consortia, tourism marketing, hotel branding, and digital marketing. Sofia is also, a research member of the Centre for Geographical Studies, IGOT, Universidade de Lisboa.

A special thank you to IPBN partners Turismo de PortugalVisit Portugal Ireland, and the host of the conference, the Universidade Europeia, for our forthcoming Tourism Conference in Lisbon on Thursday, September 29 from 9h to 13h, with the support of our official media partner TNews, a digital media outlet covering tourism for professionals. The conference will be held in Lisbon at the Campus da Quinta do Bom Nome inside the Universidade Europeia.

Registration is open here. We hope to see you there whether you are an IPBN member or not.