Selina is a hospitality company that provides guests with beautiful places to stay, travel, and work abroad. Their mission is to connect people and create lifelong friendships. In many ways, Selina is very similar to SPEAK and this is why in September Selina Porto became a partner of our community.  

To get to know our partner better, we had an interview with Fernanda, a location and destination manager of Selina Navis, a coworking space. She moved to Portugal from Brazil and has been with Selina for almost two years. 

How do you differentiate from any other hotel chains?

We don’t sell just rooms or a place to stay. We also sell experiences. So when people book a dorm or a room, they’re not just looking for a place to sleep, they are looking for a place to connect to get to know people, and to discover the city with these people. This is the most important part of Selina. 

What is the work culture at Selina like?

The core business of Selina is to make connections. This means that we want people to meet and get to know others and to make friends which could be good for the future of the guest. And this connection is important for our employees too. We want the staff to feel motivated, happy and to make friends, so the guests feel comfortable.

What does Selina in Portugal do differently in comparison to other locations?

The brand in Selina is so strong that our goal is to make our guests feel the same feeling either in Portugal or in Mexico or any location in the world.  We have a lot of standards to follow but the pattern is the same.  Each location has its own concept, for example, Porto is more about literature, poetry, politics while Peniche is completely focused on the sea, beaches, and surfing. The idea is that the same guest that is happy in Porto should be happy in Peniche or Lisbon. 

How did the ongoing pandemic affect your workflow?

What we noticed is that in these past few months a new trend has arisen and that is remote work. And with that, a new profile of guests has appeared, which are the digital nomads. These are people that are travelling and working remotely all over the world. So, Selina saw this as a chance to target this kind of audience and to provide them with a different experience. We provided a package deal in which a guest could stay for a longer time, for example, a month. And in this month, they could stay here, work here and still visit other Selina properties around the world. 

 Could you tell me more about the cultural impact programs?

We like to support our local and small businesses and also local communities. Our goal is to try to connect locals with ex-pats and nomads. We have many people in our coworking spaces, especially Portuguese people and on the other side, we have digital nomads. We want them to make friends, to have connections and get the work done. 

How did you connect people with this program?

Selina helped me a lot when I first moved from Brazil. It gave me a lot of new connections and new friends, and they made me part of the community. I’ve met friends from other countries, which I visit very often, and this is what I like most about the work, doing the job and having fun. 

Lastly, what are the plans for Selina in the future? 

We are restarting our program, especially our activities. We want to have activities every day for our guests to connect even if it’s with the locals here and to help them meet each other. For now, our keyword is consistency. We will start by having cultural events, art workshops, wellness activities, yoga, meditation. I think all these activities are a part of making our guests inspired.

Don't stop here! If you want to learn more about Selina visit their website here. And if you are curious about more community stories you might also like "Leiria: Redes na Quinta – O caminho para integração social" (in Portuguese).

Author: Ariana Žderić

Ariana is a community marketing intern at SPEAK. She is from Croatia and she is now living in Porto. She loves to travel, especially to warm countries. She also loves to cook, but she likes eating more. Chips is her one true love.

Author: Jessica Milsom

Jess is a marketer at SPEAK. She is from England, Shanghai, The Netherlands, Taiwan, and now Portugal. But actually, don’t ask her where she is from, it’s a long story. She is a good listener, an open-minded communicator, and a fruitful debater. And her favourite pastime is watching k-pop music videos with a warm cup of tea.

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