Pestana Hotel Group uses modern technology to grow and transform luxury

Based in Portugal, the Pestana Hotel Group began in 1972 as a family business with a single hotel on the Portuguese island of Madeira. It grew over time into an international brand with 87 hotels in 15 countries and a reputation for unique accommodations. Each hotel is a destination in its own right, from the elegant Pestana Palace Lisboa – located in a restored, 19th century palace in Lisbon, Portugal – to the contemporary Pestana Miami South Beach, a sleek, Art Deco affair in Florida.

“Each hotel has a story, a heart, a soul,” says Dionísio Pestana, owner and chairman of the Pestana Hotel Group, which was started by his father. The company is now one of the largest international tourism and leisure groups in Europe and the largest in Portugal. “We want you to feel at home.”

The company has digitally transformed with Microsoft technology for efficient growth, smooth operations and excellent customer experiences, whether guests are staying in historic buildings, learning about local culture or enjoying Pestana’s new CR7 hotels designed for millennials in partnership with Portuguese soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo.

Pestana has three pillars for its transformation: Foundational efficiency, online commercial improvements and personalized customer experiences.

“In 2004, we had a chain of completely separated hotels,” says João Machado, Pestana Hotel Group’s chief information officer. “We decided to implement a single front-office system and a single back-office [system] to help us scale and grow.”

As more customers shop and share online, Pestana also made significant investments in its website, leading to a 20 percent increase in sales year over year, says Machado. To transform customer experiences with more personalized services and offerings, Pestana uses Microsoft cloud technologies to gain actionable insights and patterns from its large volumes of data.

“Different customers value different attributes, so we can upsell, cross-sell or just tailor the experience,” says Luis Monteiro, Pestana Hotel Group’s chief digital officer. “Machine-learning, AI [artificial intelligence], design-thinking and persona-driven product design are absolutely fundamental to our future. Microsoft represents technology and transformation, and has been our partners throughout this journey.”

For Dionísio Pestana, the future and journey aren’t just about his business, but his family.

“I have four children and my wish and hope is that they will carry on the family vision to their next generation as well,” he says.