Customers will be ‘ambassadors’ to companies and their trademarks, sharing their memorable experiences.




With a professional background, Helena Ferreira, a graduate of the Catholic University of Management, has taken on many responsibilities and projects in companies such as Arthur Andersen, Allianz, Brás & Brás, Entreposto and Sagres Seguros, to take over the leadership of the Hotel of Sado Business & Nature, and has recently been awarded the Luxury Modern Hotel of the Year Award by the English Luxury Travel Guide.


Passionate about People and Services, she is active in the community in a wide range of areas – from Humanitarian Associations to Sports Clubs, Business Groups, Students, and the British Luso Chamber of Commerce, always with the motto of ‘Leading Is Serving’ (Robin Sharma).



We thank you for the opportunity and the challenge of putting current issues in the especially volatile world in which we live, we suggest that we begin our conversation with your current challenges.

What are the main challenges of your current responsibility?


People are our main challenge! Our Team, our Clients, as well as Suppliers and Partners. We are in an industry made of People to People. And the awareness that People are the most important is fundamental to the success of our activity.


It is essential to ensure the team’s involvement and motivation so that we take the greatest potential from each one, making the most of their strengths and not unnecessarily struggling with weaknesses.


The DISC profile, for example, has been a fundamental instrument in the perception of the real potential of each member of the team. As fantastic and best located as our hotel is, you feel the culture of your organization, so our focus must be on the most valuable asset of our organization, which is Human Capital.


Therefore, it is important that our suppliers and partners realize that our positioning also guarantees this commitment on their side.


Assuming this, I believe that we are able to differentiate ourselves in a market that is increasingly competitive. It is imperative to work as a team and to foster strong partnerships so that, focused on the needs and motivations of our clients, we extend our value offer and surprise them. The basis of our business is our People-oriented customer service.


In your industry, what big current trends would you highlight?


Tourism has globalized, democratized, broadened the origins of demand and increased the range of tourist destinations with very different characteristics between them, which has had the consequence of expanding of the motivations and interests of the consumers, increasing the complexity of the organization tourism supply and intensification of competition.


On the other hand, technological changes – the dismantling of the rigid borders between the various countries and the massification of air transport – are confronting new destinations and cultures and widening the range of products offered in a market where traditional actors (hotel chains, operators, transporters) are constantly reorganizing to ensure the success of their operations while the new players (financial institutions, telecommunications and information) reposition themselves to ensure greater participation in the activity of greater dynamism and global dimension.


Visitors are also progressively changing, with the major highlight being the widening of trends that began in the 1990s: progressive loss of the traditional 4 S’s (sun, sand, sea and sex) for the new 4 S’s (sophistication, specialization, segmentation, satisfaction) giving rise to the 3 L’s (lore, landscape, leisure), as a result of the importance that is attributed to traditions, landscapes, rest, health and welfare.


We can say that tourism is becoming more mature and an activity that, along with the importance given to economic aspects, has to pay more attention to non-material values: human values, strengthening of culture, preservation and appreciation of the natural heritage. That has been our concern.



We certainly recognize the current challenges faced by companies in the areas of Business Analytics (BA) and Business Intelligence (BI), which is also the core business of REBIS in the market and one of the main concerns of CEOs worldwide.

In the context of BA and BI, what is the relationship of your company with the data and the critical information for the business?


Looking at our reality and previous professional experiences, we apply these concepts with the large objective of giving us support at the level of strategic decision making.


If, on the one hand, through BA we obtain a set of statistical data about our business, our performance – as well as our competition, which allow us to make comparisons and make decisions based on market behavior and trends- with BI we define our strategic plan, fed with the data obtained by BA.


Our relationship with these tools is fundamental, and our unit is part of a sample of numerous platforms for collecting statistical data.


The reports generated are crucial for evaluating our positioning in terms of pricing, performance and notoriety in relation to the competition and our background.


Internally we also tried to systematize performance data at various levels, namely with the definition of KPI’s and their evaluation, occupancy rates, REVPAR, ARR, GOPPAR, comparing them with homologous periods and with our Market Share.


 What implications will such trends have on business and people?


Tourist demand trends result from the combination of psycho-sociological, economic and cultural factors that influence tourists’ behavior, preferences and habits.


The evolution operated over the last decades shows a deep interrelationship between the way of life and the trends of tourist demand, from the dominant ways of life in the fifties and sixties, characterized by the consumerism that gave rise to mass holidays based in the “sun and sea,” to the still present decade in which people are becoming more demanding in the satisfaction of their desires and that has given rise to a tourist demand more concerned with personal balance, physical activities and the environment.


In my opinion, the following decades will have the most influence on attitudes and behavior of tourism demand: the environment, differentiation, consolidation of the value system and broadening the profile of the consumer at all socio-economic levels.


The new trends imply new holiday habits, with a decrease in the level of fidelity to the destination, increase of the short trips and reduction of the time of the main vacations, alteration of travel acquisition habits, an increase in individual travel, using technological platforms and applications, change of consumption habits, combination of the sun and sea with play activities, personalized service, concern with the environment and the knowledge of people, traditions and customs.


I believe that we will work for tourists with more experience, more education, more culture and more independence and with clients who view the culture and environment of destinations as the basis of their experiences


As a result, marketing will have to target individuals with different travel needs and interests, and destinations will have to prepare to receive customers with new habits and preferences, needing to be able to adapt constantly and quickly.


Keeping in mind this profound change in consumer profile and being aware of the new market trends – from the increasing appreciation of the “sharing” economy to the proliferation of competing services – our differentiation is anticipated, because we are creative in offering new needs, as well as the essential capacity to adapt to the new consumption requirements.


It is vital to be very attentive to the market, which is boiling and where everything is relative.


The relationship between business and customers continues to be a critical business challenge, from people to people and organizations to individuals.

In general, what is the distinctive factor that highlights the relationship of companies with their clients?



I emphasize the level of proximity that we seek to establish with the customer, through the personalization of their experience in the Hotel, since we want the customer to feel unique and  recognized as being the centerpiece of our business.


It is important that you feel that everything revolves around you. Which is, in fact, true! Because we are conscious that the global market in which we operate is made up of consumers who demand customization, quality and price, it is our priority that the products and services we offer to our customers meet the ever-demanding social and regulatory constraints, such as quality, safety and/or environmental standards.


In turn, the requirement of customization has led us to respond to increasingly specific market segments, such as those targeted at customers with special needs due to food and/or allergic restrictions, as well as customers with reduced mobility.




“The only way to survive in this economy is by differentiation, through constant and continuous innovation, with the goal of improving products, processes, services, networks and reputation.”





To you, innovation is…


More than defining what innovation is, I consider it relevant to demonstrate why it is important to innovate – and to highlight how we have done it at HOTEL DO SADO BUSINESS & NATURE.


In 2001, this unit appeared in the market as Estalagem do Sado and, since its inception, it has sought to positively and innovatively mark the way of receiving and welcoming, defining a hotel-centered concept of the client and the systematic adaptation of its processes to the needs of customers effectively.


Later, and due to the normative changes regarding the tourist developments, the promoters chose to reclassify and re-qualify the unit, transforming it into the current four-star hotel.


As a result of consistent work and customer focus, our Hotel has been gaining market recognition over the last few years and has been awarded a number of awards such as Best Hotel Concept for events in 2014 and Luxury Modern Hotel of The Year 2016, Luxury Eco Friendly Hotel of the year 2018, as well as certifications, namely ECARF Allergy friendly.


Incidentally, the first in Portugal to obtain this certification, and in addition, the Hotel that appears as First Classified on TripAdvisor in the region of Setúbal.


These various recognitions are the result of innovation! Innovation that comes from the desire to achieve more and better, ensuring that the process of change is continuous, facing the constant challenges of the market where the hotel is present and competes daily.


The economy is quickly becoming a global market characterized by fierce competition, growing consumer demands and the need for value-added products and services – and adaptation is vital!


These changes in the nature of innovation pose new challenges, and our commitment lies in the requalification and systematic and permanent improvement in the product that we put at the disposal of the client – with innovative options that meet and exceed the expectations of those who visit us.


Fortunately, we are located in a privileged area, surrounded by unparalleled natural and cultural wealth, which gives us a great competitive advantage.


Innovation cannot be adaptation, but rather anticipation.



And, in the future…

In 2030, how will companies be?


In my opinion, in 2030 we will have highly technological companies, with a focus on the processes in which the autonomy of access to products and services by the client will be very high.


On the other hand, this paradigm will imply that as the intangible issues of the company/client relationship gain ground, a differentiating factor the companies will bet on is the quality of the service and the involvement of the clients in their organizations, with win-win relations, increasingly promoting their notoriety through their own clients, namely “educating” them and encouraging them to comment on their experiences.