SpotLight on Filipe Santiago

Filipe Santiago

Filipe Santiago

Managing Partner - BlueShift

Lisbon, Portugal
For Filipe contact details, please email

Filipe Santiago

1. Describe your business in two paragraphs.  
BlueShift is a pool of some of the best hospitality talent in Portugal. Most of our activity is operating hotels and restaurants and developing consulting projects. Our projects go from hotel concept development to feasibility studies and operational optimization. We have a disruptive “blue ocean” mindset, which means looking at markets and processes with an open mind. We try to create unique market spaces for our clients, that set them apart from competition and generate exceptional returns.

2. What are your company's Unique Selling Points (USPs) in Portugal ?
Our 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.

3. What achievement/success story(ies) are you most proud of?
We are proud of the track record we left on so many projects. In one case, we re-opened an insolvent hotel in only 45 days (normally takes 6 months) and obtained record levels of performance after three months of operation. On another assignment, we boosted EBITDA sevenfold in three years, while at the same time bringing all client satisfaction indicators from the bottom to the top of the international ranking of the franchise brand. A third example was the development of a very disruptive hotel concept, with one of the most valuable Portuguese consumer brands, where we succeeded in materializing the DNA of a non-hospitality brand into an experience that is absolutely unique, even at an international level.

4. What are your business current challenges and in the 2/3 years to come?
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.

5. What do you think makes Portugal an attractive destination to conduct your business? 
In tourism, Portugal offers a unique set of sustainable competitive advantages that can only give you confidence: from the weather to cultural heritage, from natural beauty to the friendliness of the people. And, most of all, the concentration, in such a small territory, of so much diversity of experiences. You can visit Lisbon or Porto in the morning, and stretch under the Sun on a nearby beach in the afternoon. How many European cities offer you that?

6. What sectors do you think will thrive in Portugal in the coming years and why?
Tourism is definitely one of the industries with the most potential. But I also believe that Portugal has conditions to attract technology-driven businesses, where the experience of the location is so important to attract top talent. Having hosted the Web Summit for three years, and now locking it for the coming ten, is a clear sign of how attractive Portugal is becoming.

7. What is the best business advice you have ever received?
Never throw the towel on the floor when you know you’re right.

8. How do you think the IPBN can help you achieve your objectives and what do you expect from your IPBN membership
Irish investors are well known for their vision and assertiveness. There has been some Irish investment in Portuguese tourism, but there is still a lot of untapped potential. This network gives us the opportunity to be closer to potential investors in Ireland, and maybe support them on looking at Portugal as the great opportunity it is.

9. Favourite destinations in Portugal and why?
So hard to pick one. Lisbon for the vibrant cosmopolitanism, Douro for the unique vineyards, Algarve for the beaches, Alentejo for the bucolic ambiance, Azores for the landscape… and so on, and so on.

10. Favourite destinations in Ireland and why?
Sadly, I have only been to Dublin, which I and my family found lovely. But we do have plans for a road trip throughout the Irish coast and countryside.

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