Travel and Hospitality Entrepreneur Guilherme Paulus Reflects on His Career

Travel industry entrepreneur and Brazilian hotelier Guilherme Paulus is President of Board of Advisors for CVC Brasil & GJP Hotels and Resorts. Paulus recently reflected on his career and shared the lessons he learned along the way.

Guilherme Paulus began his career as an intern at IBM. As a young man, he transitioned into entrepreneurship as a result of a conversation with Carlos Vicente Cerchiari, who wanted to start a tourist agency. The two men agreed that Paulus, who lacked capital, would do the work to get the travel agency started while Cerchiari would invest his funds. The partnership went well and it soon became clear that Paulus was a gifted businessperson. After four years, Paulus decided to go out on his own.

In 1995 Guilherme Paulus opened his first hotel. Today GJP Hotels and Resorts has more than 20 properties and over 5,000 employees. Staying close to day-to-day business operations is Paulus’ method of staying productive as an entrepreneur. He said that it’s easy for a leader to become distant from daily operations. Guilherme Paulus spends at least two days each week visiting his properties. That gives him the opportunity to speak with customers and employees, to see what’s occurring, and to see what needs to change.

One of the ways that Guilherme Paulus said that he grows his business is by focusing on more than one market. For example, when he saw that other travel operators focused on the vast international market, CVC expanded by going after domestic travelers.

When asked what advice he would give his younger self, Paulus stressed the importance of seeking advice, which he said young people tend to ignore. Paulus also had several lessons for those who want to be successful in business.

• Start something. Paulus believes that many would-be entrepreneurs never take the first step.

• Be close enough to your business that you can observe changes in the behavior and consumption of your clients.

• Love what you do.

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