Portugal’s biggest tourist accommodation company is helping owners get new AL licenses.
If until the 15th of February, the perspectives for the tourism sector were of great expansion, on the 16th the government announced measures that will impact thousands of workplaces in Portugal. LovelyStay, the biggest tourist accommodation management company in Portugal, has received the news with a lot of preoccupation, given that the objectives for this year were to grow 40% in terms of profitability and portfolio, with the expectation of closing 2023 with a gross income of over 25 million euros.
“Today, LovelyStay has more than 80 employees and expects to hire at least 30 new talents until the end of 2023. Despite the government’s new measures, the hiring plan remains in force, at least for now, while we still don’t know how the future of the sector will be. Although we remain optimistic about our portfolio’s results and the growth of tourism in the country, we are aware of the negative impacts these measures will have in thousands of workplaces, as well as in the economic development of hundreds of municipalities, which is now stalled”, comments LovelyStay’s CEO, William Tonnard.
Besides, it’s necessary to understand that these measures seem to attack exclusively the Tourist Accommodation market, concerning companies, investors and entrepreneurs who have contributed in an unprecedented way to urban rehabilitation, and who contribute largely to the national economy. In a facile calculation, if we consider each guest spends on average 150 euros per day in Portugal – including accommodation, meals and transportation – and that LovelyStay alone has sold 433 thousand individual nights last year, in 2022 alone the company has generated over 65 million euros for the Portuguese economy, of which 18 million euros were spent on accommodation.
When overlapped with the habitational problem, the violation of the legitimate expectations of those who were invited to invest in Portugal – and always after the money was already spent – not only diminishes the trust of any serious international investor in the Portuguese market, but also seems to be an intellectualy dishonest exercise, in Tonnard’s perspective. According to INE data, only 2% of the Portuguese housing stock corresponds to ALs, and for every AL in Portugal there are seven vacant houses, with the tourist accommodation constituting a problem only in the historical centres of Lisbon and Porto, where the suspension of new licenses was already in force. Besides, the configuration of the remodelled houses makes it impossible, in the majority of cases, to reconvert it into comfortable permanent housing.
“We have to be optimistic and try to find a solution among the difficulties. We have survived the pandemic, we have reinvented ourselves and transformed into a more solid company. It’s still to early to announce new strategies, but our company has been specialising in the management of long and medium term accommodation for a while, not being limited to AL. In all case, tourist accommodation continues and will continue to be the most profitable real estate activity in Portugal, and that’s why we are helping dozens of clients fulfill the legitimate expectations of their investments, and license their properties while it is still possible”, says Tonnard.
Rural tourism has been one of LovelyStays bets since 2020, when the company started to manage properties outside the urban centres. However, considering the volume of tourists Portugal has been receiving and plans to receive in the next years, it’s important to highlight that the hotels and the existing ALs only will not be enough.
“The tourist who likes to feel at home during a trip looks naturally for a tourist accommodation. This generational change on the traveller’s profile will not change. The difference is that these travellers may stop choosing Portugal as a holiday destination, precisely because they don’t findthe structure they are looking for in the country”, reinforces Tonnard.
Aware of the needs of millions of local and international tourists who want to discover what Portugal has to offer, LovelyStay will continue waiting for clarification on the announced measures, so that the company can adjust our strategies and continue to support our clients in this unsure scenario.
LovelyStay has been acting in the Tourist Accommodation market since 2015, with a portfolio of over 850 properties of a medium-high level all around the country. With an extended portfolio of clients, the company works with investors and owners of accommodations who want to make their properties profitable, be it in great centres or in the towns and villages of the country. With offices in Lisbon, Porto and the Algarve, and a total of over 80 employees, the company has a professional and personalised service, according to the clients’ needs, offering remote, complete management services, and even consulting for the most diverse subjects, from construction to dynamic price management, from interior design to hospitality.