Interview with Manuel Vidal-Quadras: “I think drunk tourism is not what Barcelona is looking for”

Today we interview Manuel Vidal-Quadras, real estate and restaurant entrepreneur. After spending a few years in financial consulting for IT startup acquisition he decides to ride the tourist growth wave in Barcelona in order to give the travelers lodging and gastronomical solutions. He now owns 1840 Apartments and Manolete&Friends.

Call2WHi Manuel, you have a broad experience in the real estate industry and now you are taking first steps into the restaurant business. How did this happen? 

Manuel Vidal-Quadras: I had some properties available in Porxos del Port (close to the Port of Barcelona), which is an area with a very bright future but not yet a “prime” zone and I think it will take up to 3 years to get there. I love the idea of improving parts of the city and I didn’t find anyone as enthusiastic about this project as I am. So I decided to form a team capable of opening and managing restaurants.

Call2W: What do you think about the protests in Barcelona caused by the drunk tourism? How did you see the concept of holiday flat change over the past few years?

Manuel Vidal-Quadras: I think that the drunk tourism, the low-quality tourism is not what we are looking for in Barcelona and it has to be monitored. In my opinion the holiday flat offering has to be controlled better than the way it is now. In Ciutat Vella (Barcelona old town) there are about 700 licenses for holiday flats and I assume there must be around 5000 holidays flats in total. I think the number of licenses needs to increase, especially when it comes to entire buildings, in order to satisfy this demand. The ilegal holiday flats need to shut down.  The City Council is chasing the ilegals but this does not solve the demand problem: the tourists want to stay in Ciutat Vella and they need offering, 700 is just not enough.

Call2WYou also have experience in technology. The number of IT start-ups is growing in Barcelona. What business models do you think would have more chances to succeed?

Manuel Vidal-Ouadras: It is very difficult to know…rather than business models, I would like to talk about teams of people with chances to succeed.  I think that if good professionals form a team and try to solve a problem or give solution to a need, it is highly probable that this business succeeds. There are excelent professionals in Barcelona and they need to team up . There are so many opportunities out there.

Call2WHow do you think these start-ups can benefit from a BYOD  (Bring Your Own Device) policy? Should they implement it?

Manuel Vidal-Quadras: In my business we use BYOD and it is fantastic. For me the greatest advantage is being able to avoid the long-term contracts of the big mobile operators and the penalties applied when you reduce the number of devices. I’ve had several expensive situations with the big operators due to these types of contract, I think nowadays growth flexibility and the ability to change things fast is very important and BYOD provides you with this flexibility.

Call2WWhat are the 3 apps that you value most from a business perspective?

Manuel Vidal-Quadras: Gmail, Evernote, Rememberthemilk…the three are an absolute must for me.

Call2WWhere did you hear about Call2World? What services caught your attention?

Manuel Vidal-Quadras: I was really impressed by the novelty and the way your company operates. You are looking for a way to move away from the way big mobile operators work. I think many customers have had issues with them that aren’t solved. Now we use BYOD and also your phone case for roaming. They are great!

Call2WFinally, what changes would you like to see in the telecommunications industry? 

Manuel Vidal-Quadras: I would like to see customers being treated better than the way they are now. The customer service of the three main phone operators in Spain insist a lot when it comes to selling but not so much or not at all when it comes to solving issues.

This post is also available in: Spanish