PORTUGAL - Tourism
General Manager, Corinthia Lisbon
César Silva has considerable experience in hospitality, having undertaken leadership roles over the last 14 years in some of the best hotels in Lisbon, Portugal. He also worked as a Hotel Manager in a Portuguese chain of Hotels & Resorts from Visabeira group in Mozambique. On his return to Portugal he was appointed as General Manager at Terceira Mar Hotel from Bensaúde group in the Azores Islands. He is currently General Manager at Corinthia Lisbon.
César Silva, General Manager of Corinthia Lisbon, talks to TBY about the hotel, Lisbon, and much more.
Can you give us an overview of the Corinthia brand and an introduction to the hotel in Lisbon?
Corinthia Hotels is a growing family of uplifting, luxury destinations. Founded in Malta in 1962 by the Pisani family, the company has grown over the years into a multinational investor, developer, and operator of hotels and real estate. There are now nine elegant properties worldwide, with several more landmark hotels opening soon. From city-center hotels to coastal resorts, each one is connected by a strong Corinthia philosophy. Inspired by its Mediterranean, family-run heritage, the brand is dedicated to providing uplifting moments, unforgettable experiences, and exquisite service. Corinthia Hotels portfolio includes award-winning hotels in cities such as London, Budapest, Lisbon, and the Island of Malta. Current developments underway in various stages of design and construction include landmark, trophy hotels in Rome, New York, Brussels, Bucharest, Doha, and a new resort in Malta. Brimming with Portuguese spirit, Corinthia Lisbon is the perfect reflection of the vibrant city in which it is based. The soul of the hotel is found in its warmth of service, matched by the elegance of 518 rooms and suites. An appetite for discovery runs through everything from panoramic views of the nearby Águas Livres Aqueduct and Monsanto Natural Park, through to the hotel’s own culinary delight, Erva, a restaurant with an open-minded, authentic, and honest cuisine approach. The sublime spa and gym offer an immersive interlude and refreshing contrast to dynamic Lisbon life.
What does the hotel focus on to deliver an exceptional experience to business travelers?
We endeavor to uplift the lives of our guests, visiting us with business motivation business or simply leisure travel, through meticulous attention to detail and flawless execution of each request. Our personal touch ensures that we truly understand the needs and concerns of each guest and provide experiences that consistently meet and exceed expectations. Ours guests enjoy a seamless experience in the hands of our professional and caring team, who are on-hand at all times. We understand the importance of precise efficiency and sharp technology, as we provide the perfect, undisturbed meeting space. The recently refurbished rooms offer intelligent design and technology plays a key part, with thoughtful touches such as US, European plug sockets and USB ports conveniently located next to the bed (and incorporated into tables in the suites). For our guests who want to truly connect with the city’s energy we offer a completely upgraded hotel experience.
What are the fundamentals of your leadership as General Manager?
I try to instill our team members with extraordinary energy and dedication in an environment where creativity and innovation are encouraged. I constantly set ambitious goals and high-performance standards that I motivate people to deliver. Developing high-performance managers and building a strong organization are two of my critical jobs as a general manager. At Corinthia Lisbon we have a hands-on approach, dedication, and passion about hospitality that I supervise closely to spot challenges and opportunities at an early stage to move the organization forward. This is a perfect combination to drive the team aiming to place the Corinthia Lisbon as the best luxury five-star hotel in Lisbon in terms of quality, customer care, and business achievements.
How has Corinthia established itself as a place of reference for executive-level networking events?
We pride ourselves on being a hotel where great things happen. A creative hub for landmark conferences and events. We are aware that organizing an event is an investment and we understand what it takes to stage manage the perfect occasion. Our smooth, seamless production is the result of practiced efficiency, we provide a dedicated and accomplished event manager who is on-hand to assist at every step, and to share insider tips on how to build up and deliver the perfect event. A milestone birthday. A phenomenal party. A landmark conference with our diversity of elegant event spaces, dedicated team, and constant determination for nothing less than excellence. Corinthia Lisbon is also the perfect venue for those seeking to organize an environmentally friendly conference, having won several accolades such are Western Europe Region Energy Project 2013, outstanding energy efficient hotel project from the Association of Engineers in Washington DC, Environmental Sustainability Project of 2015 from the Portuguese Association of Hospitality and Restaurants (AHRESP), and Europe’s Luxury Green Hotel 2015 from World Luxury Hotel Awards.
What strengths derive from belonging to the Global Hotel Alliance (GHA)? How is this aligned with Corinthia’s vision of expanding its global reach?
GHA represents a collection of 35 brands with over 500 hotels in 85 countries serving 11 million members and Corinthia Hotels are not only one of 35 member brands, but also a shareholder in the company. Global Hotel Alliance (GHA) brings together a unique collection of independent hospitality brands with GHA DISCOVERY, a multi-brand loyalty programme leveraging a shared technology platform. Through membership in GHA, brands expand their global reach, drive incremental revenue, and reduce dependence on third-party channels, all while maintaining management independence and individual positioning. Launched in 2010, the award-winning GHA DISCOVERY programme is the world’s largest loyalty programme for independent hotel and generates approximately USD2 billion in revenue and more than USD8 million room nights annually. Members enjoy VIP recognition, thoughtful benefits, and generous rewards at home or away. Recently the program has evolved to include an additional tier and flexible paths to upgrade through nights/stays, including eligible purchases or number of brands stayed, making it easier and faster for members to reach elite status. Unlike more traditional programmes, GHA DISCOVERY does not ask members to count points toward their next upgrade. Instead, members earn and spend DISCOVERY Dollars (D$), an exclusive rewards currency. They also enjoy members-only experiences curated by each hotel and have access to properties close to home, without a stay, through member-only local offers.
To what do you attribute Portugal’s international reputation for excellence in hospitality?
Portugal is a beautiful country with pristine natural wonders that attract millions of tourists each year. The Portuguese warm hospitality and the fact that we are the third safest country in the world (Global Peace Index 2019) consolidates Portugal as a popular destination for business meetings or for leisure. Portugal is also recognized as one of the countries where its people have more easiness in understanding other languages. Very receptive to other cultures, Portugal has developed several programs directed to facilitate the integration of all those that want to live in Portugal, such as the National Center for Immigrant Support, an institution established on seven principles: equality, hospitality, citizenship, co-responsibility, participation, interculturality, and consensus. Lisbon stages several large international events such as the Web Summit and receives many renowned musicians during their world tours. Furthermore, multiple world celebrities have chosen the Portuguese capital to live in: Madonna, Marcello Antony, Monica Bellucci, Isabelle Adjani, Christian Louboutin, Nick Youngquest, and Luma Grothe, among others. Lisbon has won a few accolades from the World Travel Awards (WTA), which have helped position the city in the minds of the travel industry professionals and the public in general. Those include: Best European Destination City five years in a row; Best City Break Destination; and Best Cruise Ship Port a couple of years ago. Every year, multiple Portuguese hotels receive prizes bestowed by the WTA, as a testimony of the comfort and luxuries available to those that visit the country; there are 26 Michelin-star rated restaurants serving good Portuguese cuisine, so appreciated by tourists and locals alike. All these elements are part of the Portuguese hospitality and welcoming culture, so cherished by those that seek Portugal to live in or as a touristic destination. The Secretary of State for Tourism of Portugal wants to position Portugal as one of the most competitive, safe, and sustainable tourist destinations in the world, so the future is promising.
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