Miguel Ximenez, Vivamarinha hotel: If planners could allow for longer time frames and provide schedules on a regular basis, they could more efficiently reduce costs and minimize the risk of mistakes.

Miguel Ximenez is a Sales Executive at Vivamarinha Hotel & Suites. He is responsible for the corporate market accounts in Spain, Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg and he gave us an insight on the challenges faced by hotels in today’s market. He thinks that only strategic partnerships, positive reviews, along with ‘word of mouth’ and referrals can enable one to steadily grow in the MICE sector.

 

How did the story of Vivamarinha Hotel start and where is the business heading now?

Vivamarinha Hotel & Suites is a 5 Star Hotel located in Cascais, just 20 minutes from Lisbon, a 30 minutes drive from Lisbon International Airport. Surrounded by gorgeous locations like Sintra, Estoril, the Guincho Beach, the marina, the race track, we have the perfect place with great access, in the heart of Cascais – a beautiful historic city attracting tourists since 1970. In the past years we had to adapt and develop new processes to satisfy the market. Since the Leisure/Cultural market is stable during high season, we decided to further develop the MICE segment and created the prerequisites for Vivamarinha Hotel & Suites to become one of the main venues for big meetings and events all year round. This project started in 2007, and currently we have a solid position as a quality hotel that provides excellent service. This approach is what allowed us to grow in the MICE market in regions like Belgium, Netherlands and France during the past years.

What makes Vivamarinha hotel suitable for meetings and events?

A main decision factor is the easy accessibility from main European capitals and locations like Africa, Brasil and UAE, that have direct daily flights with economic and fair rates, as well as our convenient location just a few km away from Lisbon International Airport.  Vivamarinha Hotel & Suites is definitely a unique property with an exuberant green pine tree area, which is a typical vegetation of the area. Besides our lovely outdoor areas, we also differentiate ourselves by offering extremely comfortable rooms and providing very personal and client oriented services. Through our devotion and extremely high quality services, we have managed to secure strategic partnerships with happy corporate clients. These positive reviews, along with word of mouth and referrals, have enabled us to expand our business relations and steadily grow in the MICE sector.

What kind of guests do you have in your hotel?

Portugal is an all-round destination. As for corporate meetings and incentives we host clients all year round. We do have regular corporate clients that hold their meetings during the high season, so we have to be prepared to also provide a private atmosphere in those cases, which is definitely possible in Vivamarinha hotel. Besides the MICE segment, high seasons for Leisure and Cultural are from June to August and Golf tourism from March to May, and September to November. Everyone loves and considers Portugal´s weather as one of the main deciding factors when visiting the country; the sunny days in the region are now more than 220, resulting in the extension of the different periods and contributing to a less seasonable business.

How do you think your hotel can stand out in a crowded market?

We like to consider ourselves as an extremely flexible team, that offers high quality products at a competitive and fair price.

How does technology help you when hosting events in your hotel?

Technology allows us to more efficiently manage our internal processes and provide more accurate services, while reducing time and costs. Azavista is a good example of how we will be receiving business and communicating with planners in the near future.

What best practices does your hotel follow when responding to eRFPs?

When responding to RFPs we make our best effort to communicate clearly and address the client’s needs as best as possible. In order to provide a more accurate proposal, we contact the client/partner directly so that we can identify the key critical factors that are important for the success of the event, along with regular follow ups. We consider that personal contact is still an imperative tool.

Give one piece of advice regarding supplier management for events.

In my perspective event planners need to be more clear when presenting their needs. If they provide us with the right information and have defined their objectives, as well the critical factors for the event’s success, it allows us to have a more clear direction on how we should proceed.

If you could ask event planners to stop doing something, what would it be?

Working on such tight deadlines. If planners could allow for longer time frames and provide schedules on a regular basis, they could more efficiently reduce costs and minimize the risk of mistakes.

What are the biggest challenges you are facing in the market currently?

Portugal´s demand as a MICE and Leisure destination has significantly increased and this has resulted in an avalanche of offers. The law is too flexible and anyone who has residential house or a hostel can rent it, even when the standards are not clear. Everything is mixed and this is not fair for the hotels that make a lot of investments to meet high standards. There is an increasing number of new hostels, residential rooms and other types of accommodation and this is influencing our revenues and creates a disproportion between demand and supply.