Interview: Pestana chairman on the benefits of the owner-operator model

Recently, Hospitality Investor caught up with Dionísio Pestana, the founder and chairman of Pestana Group.

Dionísio’s father Manuel opened what became the company’s first hotel in Madeira in 1972. Dionísio took over its operations a couple of years later and since then has been working to expand the group’s footprint. It hasn't been fast growth. Pestana has around 110 hotels spread across four brands in 16 countries.

Below is a flavour of our conversation. You can watch the whole thing by clicking on the video.

Why the owner-operator model?

The hard work is always the operational side, by doing the investment, one by one, and slowly, you [start] getting momentum.

Where are you looking to expand?

In the States, we have two hotels in New York, one in Miami, We're looking now at in Orlando, and in New Jersey.

Why partner with footballer Cristiano Ronaldo?

He understands hotels and tourism, it's part of his DNA. And he's very happy so as I say, he scores the goals, I make the beds and we've got a fantastic working relationship.

How difficult is development at the moment?

It's hard, it is hard. In Portugal, we still have a home base. And we have the local engineers, and we have the local knowledge, so it's easier. Obviously going abroad, it's harder, takes longer, and it's always a bit more expensive.