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Italy is boosting more and more

21 Apr 2018

Italy is boosting more and more

Between Brexit and North Africa's crisis, Tourism Investment talked about the hotel market's prospects of the Peninsula 

Massimiliano Sarti:

Opportunities, challenges and evolution of the Italian hotel market, in terms of investments and prospects of the sector; and above all, there is the need to try to reconcile the views of institutions and operators, local and international professionals, in a unique point of view.

Tourism Investment event took place on 4th April at Meliá Milano by Pkf; it was organized in conjunction with Salone del Mobile and Bit and it was an intensive day. Tourism Investment immediately opened with a provocation by Michael Widmann: "Today's Italian government is boring and phlegmatic. Nothing happens ... ", stated the managing director of Pkf  "Good! Investors really need administrators that are able to reflect. Not characters that propose simple solutions to complex problems, only to make the electorate effective. There are already enough Brexit and Trump around ... " A sentence to be considered carefully, though it is true that the current market context could prove to be a decisive moment for the future of investment in the Peninsula. Just the UK's exit from the European Union, continued Widmann, is moving the goaldpost: with the downsizing of what was only a few months ago the main continental real estate market, investors are now trying new paths and for those who are looking for returns above 3%, the alternatives shrink. Here, then, the interest for Italy increases, and new opportunities open up. 
A point of view also shared by Giorgio Palmucci - President of Confindustria Alberghi, : "It is not merely our merit. We recall today that there are 18 million orphaned tourists in North Africa, which we have a duty to intercept. In this regard, the Strategic Tourism Plan (PST) is surely in the right direction. Because for the first time we find a hands-on tool for sharing a job with all industry stakeholders. " But fundamentally, however, it is also possible to attract international investors. Recalling the presence of Confindustria Alberghi at the last Berlin International hotel investment forum, Palmucci announced its intention to push on the organizers in order to include the theme of Italy within the panel of the first day of work: during which there is really everyone. " Walter Pecoraro also agreed on the potential of PST: "Now, however, noone can not forget to declare its contents on daily and operational issues." The president of Federalberghi Lazio then defended the national model of hospitality, often characterized by "that sense of family, which can not be considered a diminutive, as it is sometimes felt, but represents a true added value" especially in the age Contemporary of the so-called experiential tourism.

Not only that: the typical Italian theme of the family business has other benefits. For example, "lets you decide which hotel to buy during Easter lunch," noted the CEO of Planetaria Hotels, Sofia Gioia Vedani with "In that occasion, there is always a brother who disagrees, but he ends up inevitably in a minority."

However, the tricolor pattern is not always rosy, Piergiorgio Mangialardi - Allegroitalia Hotels & Condo President recalled, stated a couple of examples of excessive individualism: "We have had two management contracts in Italy. The owners were very nice, but they claimed to turn off the lights at 23.30, as soon as the last guest of the house had withdrawn from the lobby. " Despite the small difficulties that any growing reality meets along its own path, the strategy of the group headquartered at the Golden Palace Hotel in Turin is still the one that has inspired the company's activities from the beginning: looking for non-performing hotels, Especially business, to be affixed or purchased to achieve a coherent revival plan.

However, Fabrizio Gaggio of Atahotels has shed some light on the development of integration with Una, following the recent closing of the deal between the two operators. The idea, explained the general manager of the company controlled by the Unipol group, is to redirect both brands, while keeping the entities apart. At the moment, the definition of a new brand architecture, in collaboration with an important industry advisor, is going on in particular. Confirmed also the transfer of Florence's offices of Una to Milan, where the team will follow a phase of complex integration, "for two realities that have operated so far on different managerial and communicative logic." Among the future goals, Atahotels would thus aim at new openings in the primary destinations of Milan, Venice and Rome, possibly through the stipulation of long-term lease agreements. But Gaggio also hinted at the possibility of a more contemporary revision of the hotel's hotel offer model, inspired by some of the more avant-garde brands such as the British CitizenM.

The reference in this case is to new trends in common shared areas, with f & b expects mangers and libraries that become a meeting point with Internet space or an ad hoc set. But if these are local perspectives, how do they see the Italian market from abroad? "I think that the challenges of the Peninsula are not so different from those that can be found elsewhere," said Senior Operations Vice President, Best Western, Suzi Yoder. Certainly, family property is not always an advantage from the point of view of large global groups. Especially when it comes to untrained workers to work with brands, noted Timothy Walton - regional vice president West Europe. "But we are now seeing growth in the number of institutional investors involved in the industry." and this could prove to be a decisive advantage''. In terms of development in the Peninsula, leasing has been the contractual typology indicated by many of those present at the roundtable as the most suitable for the characteristics of the italian market. However, "management does not find precise regulation in national law and this radically changes the risk profile of this kind of affiliation," Walton said. A good alternative to leasing is the franchise. Although in Italy, as is often the case elsewhere, there are too many people who think they can only take the part that interests him, avoiding any burden, said Georg Schlegel, managing director Central & Eastern Europe of Choice Hotels . But again there are opportunities: in the Peninsula there would be a shortage of lifestyle, design and limited service in the Italian style. "However, we can not think of big international groups as expanding us by changing the way we think and act on local hospitality," Schlegel has admitted. Finally, Meliá International hotel group, which has developed in Italy in recent years thanks to this form of affiliation or rent, has opened the door to the management contracts. Today, in the Six Islands Peninsula, the Spanish group aims to grow further in the country, reaching 11-12 total hotels said Sara Ranghi and Palmiro Noschese, respectively global customer experience director and area manager in Italy. In addition to the already announced hotel to be realized within the Torre Galfa in Milan, the goals are now the balneal destinations (Sicily, Apulia and Campania) and then Florence, Venice, doubling the structures in Rome and again Genoa and Capri.)

460 million euros are confirmed until 2020 and that's a measure for the tax credit for the restyling of tourism facilities. An agreement with the Ministry of Development for the construction of a broadband network at national level; And another 90 million euros to promote sweet mobility. These are some of the measures recently promoted by the Italian Ministry of Tourism, which add to the approval of the Strategic Plan. This is an important document, especially since it is the first of its kind and it has been designed with the active collaboration of the department. It's just a shame that he does not have his own financial instruments, so he can become a sparked weapon. A choice that the international relations manager of Mibact, Alessandra Priante, has called "strategic". In this context, the task of the ministry would be to help those who have the funds available (such as local institutions, etc.) to harmonize their use in the direction they hoped for. Alessandra Priante then also referred to another attempt to reorganize the national hotel classification system, with a particular focus on sustainability and accessibility. More concrete, however, the intervention of Aldo Mazzocco, who finally gave some clue about the Investment Fund for Tourism. Equipped with € 100 million deposits and loans from Cassa last July, the instrument aims to facilitate the separation between real estate and hotel management by means of 'buy and lease back' transactions. The Group Real Estate Manager of Cdp (soon to be released, as he is going to assume the assignment of the real estate team of Generali, ndr) has thus revealed that a first operation would have been approved while waiting for moments to close A second. In the summer, then, you should start with seven-eight facilities, run by three to four specialized managers.

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