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The Bluserena Group closed its first year with record-breaking results, says CEO, Marcello Cicalò.  

Restylings and on the lookout for new properties

The 12% increase over 2022 was €90 million, and profitability was also excellent. “We are aiming for a further 10% growth in 2024." This year, Bluserena also plans to complete the restyling of five resorts in Calabria, Sicily, and Sardinia which underwent initial renovations for €55 million in 2023. There are no new entries in the pipeline, “but we are working on a series of projects throughout Italy: sea, mountains, and lakes. We are open to both new acquisitions and management or rental contracts."

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Full all-inclusive for Is Serenas in Sardinia

The big news this year is the full all-inclusive formula, in Is Serenas in Badesi in Sardinia: a further step in the process of repositioning the property in the upscale and upper-upscale segments of the group’s portfolio. “Our portfolio also includes two 5-star properties, but it is still early to talk about luxury – adds Cicalò - Although it is a future objective. As is the relaunch of the Apulian Ethra Reserve property which has enormous potential, and which we have entrusted this year to a new general manager. Pedro Vazquez is a Spanish professional with considerable international experience. He will guide the relaunch of the resort with a series of innovations that we will soon be revealing.”   

Published in Hospitality

Italy's market is on hold, restrained by high interest rates and the difficulty in planning greenfield operations or renovations, mainly due to CapEx values that have increased significantly.  

This is the picture of Italian hotel real estate from the latest report produced by the consulting firm Thrends, based on data collected on its hoteltransactions.it platform.

The numbers speak for themselves: in 2023 the total value of transactions in the hospitality industry in Italy fell to €1.27 billion, for an average price per room of €146 thousand. The difference compared to the previous two years, in terms of volume, is stark: -38% over 2022 and -57% compared to pre-Covid 2019. The total number of transactions also fell, from 161 in 2022 to 118 last year.

However there remains the apparent contradiction of a sector whose fundamentals continue to remain strong, thus attracting investors focused on value-add initiatives and asset repositioning, particularly in leisure and urban destinations. "Although interest in the sector has remained very high, we could say 2023 was a time for reflection. At least for institutional investors, who have simply slowed down the pace," says Thrends' managing director Giorgio Ribaudo. "Looking ahead to 2024, we expect a first half with still very modest volumes, and then a gradual acceleration with, at the end the year, a peak of transactions.

Massimiliano SartiMassimiliano Sarti
Journalist

Published in Editorial

TH Resorts has opened Borca di Cadore-Park Hotel Des Dolomites. "We are talking about a 60-room hotel in a fascinating natural setting in a prestigious strategic location, given its proximity to Cortina.  We will be expanding it and positioning it in the upscale segment with a view to the next Olympics,- says TH Resorts sales and marketing director Stefano Maria Simei. -And this summer, we will close a couple of new acquisitions.”

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This has been a record year for the company's snow and art cities offer, while beach properties held well, "despite some unforeseen difficulties in August," admits Simei. "We are satisfied with the 30% increase in volumes for the 2022-2023 financial year. And for the current winter season, we are registering a further growth of almost 20% in the snow segment on a like-for-like basis, while the art cities posted plus 25% from November to January.” "For the coming summer figures are comforting and confirm the tendency for advance bookings from the domestic market.”

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Published in Hospitality

The challenging economic landscape, intensified by ongoing global conflicts complicated life for 62% of hospitality providers in 2023. This was confirmed by the new Nomisma Tourism Observatory, conducted on behalf of Unicredit, which examined the primary obstacles facing the sector, and delved into the strategic responses adopted by Italy’s key hospitality industry players to tackle these challenges. 

Operations were particularly affected by rising energy costs (37%) and the general hike in prices caused by inflation (15%). For four out of ten properties rising interest rates and the shrinking domestic demand impacted negatively on the operational complexity experienced over the last year. Staffing issues were also relevant with 14% finding it difficult to hire resources, an increase of six percentage points over 2022.

Environmental sustainability has become a fundamental strategic driver for enhance attractiveness and responding to the new demands of the market. With nearly 80% of operators sharing this conviction and taking steps in this direction, 72% of those interviewed have invested in separate waste collection, water purification, and the reduction of waste and pollutants, 70% have taken action to reduce food waste, 66% to save water and 51% energy.

One in four operators chose to focus on renovating and modernizing their facilities, while 23% expressed interest in investing in renewable energy production facilities. Some 10% expressed a desire to invest in new equipment and 8% in digital marketing activities and tools. Only 18% do not plan to make investments in the near future. Against this, 41% expect an increase in list prices due, on the one hand, to higher operating costs, and on the other to the revision and/or the expansion of the services offered to customers.

"The observatory reveals the myriad challenges and the opportunities confronting operators in Italy, - explains Unicredit's deputy head for Italy, Remo Taricani. - Global and cross-sectoral concerns, such as the digital transition and sustainability, wield a tangible influence and can significantly determine the success or failure of an endeavour. 

Massimiliano SartiMassimiliano Sarti
Journalist

Published in Editorial

The Palazzo dei Fiori serviced apartments by Room Mate recently opened in Venice.

16 apartments close to the Grand Canal 

In a 16th-century building is just a few steps from the Grand Canal, between Piazza San Marco and the Accademia Bridge,  and this is the Spanish company’s debut property in Venice. On four floors and three mezzanines, it houses 16 apartments for a total of 33 bedrooms. Owned by the Generali Group, the new development is the result of a €5 million restyling over 26 months.

mini KIKE SARASOLA and TERESA SAPEY“We want to combine modern and ancient”  

"It is a true dream come true ,- says Kike Sarasola, president and founder of Room Mate. -We wanted to create a new different blend of hospitality in Venice, combining modern and ancient in a building rich in history, charm, and mystery. It was the home of a Doge, Nicolò da Ponte, who used to host his lovers here in the many alcoves, two of which are in our 16 apartments".

Upscale and upper-upscale positioning

The property, which is registering growing bookings, will have an upscale and upper-upscale positioning with rates that (given the variety of rooms) range from €400 to €2,000 plus. If the average stay in Room Mate hotels is around 2.7 days, it is plausible that Palazzo dei Fiori is set to record longer stays.

Published in Hospitality

Inflation is weighing on the Italian winter season, which is risking a drop in overall tourist spending. According to the most recent data processed by the Demoskopika research institute, the coming months should in fact see a drop in arrivals: just over 23.2 million and almost 72 million overnight stays. A slump of 6.1% and 0.4% respectively compared to the same period last year, which had 25 million arrivals and just under 72.2 million overnight stays. There will also be repercussions on tourist spending which is expected to be cut by more than €1.3 billion. 

There are numerous reasons for this, including price trends, with tourism inflation estimated to show a tendential growth of 1.8%, for an inflationary differential equal to one percent more than the change in the general index calculated by ISTAT at 0.8%. Yet inbound tourism is substantially stable compared to last season with +0.5% arrivals and -0.6% overnight stays. The problem is that over 60% of international visitors are concentrated in just a few regions, with Veneto and Lazio at the top of the pile.

"One of the things that must be done to avoid a backslide,- suggests Demoskopika president Raffaele Rio, - is a more adequate and strategic distribution of visitors over the entire country, increasing the level of internationalization and reducing overtourism.”

So while it is true that Italy has a fair balance between Italian (51.4%) and foreign (48.6%) arrivals, the majority of international tourists head mainly to only six of Italy’s 20 regions: Veneto (64.3%), Lazio (62.1%), Trentino Alto Adige (55.7%), Tuscany (54.2%), Lombardy (54%) and Friuli Venezia Giulia (52.5%).

Massimiliano SartiMassimiliano Sarti
Journalist

Published in Editorial

For the first time in Italy, and in the Marche region, a group of US agents discovered the unexpected in Senigallia.

The food, the sea, the cities, the people…this is a great destination!

Jim Cloonan 1Jim Cloonan
And they are discovering a destination they didn’t expect. The occasion is the fam trip and workshop now taking place in Senigallia and organized by the Travelshow Marketing Group, in collaboration with the city's municipality and American Bellavista Mediterranean Tours. "We organize events of this kind all over the world, but this is our first time in Italy,- says Travelshow Marketing president, Jim Cloonan. -We are here to introduce agents to the city of Senigallia and its region. It is an alternative to the classical destinations only because there is no major airport nearby. You have to land in Bologna or Rome and then take the train or some other fantastic means of transport! Everyone is really enthusiastic: the food, the sea, the cities, the people…this is a great destination!”

“The Marche enriches and provides emotions”

The event has been strongly supported by the local administration, which aims to boost what the destination has to offer on an international level. “We are also committed to showing the world a different Senigallia, one that is not just sea and beaches - says mayor Massimo Olivetti,  -The idea is to interact with the Marche which is a region that enriches and provides emotions. We have wonderful natural attractions and there is our history, which needs to be reassessed and rediscovered. Then there is the professionalism of our operators at every level. Suffice it to say that we have two starred chefs in the city, and our industry players are always ready to improve what they have to offer, by making investments and constantly boosting their levels of service.”

Published in MICE & Events

From the fascinating itineraries of the 18th-century Grand Tour to the present day, Hotel Scapolatiello in Cava de’ Terreni, which lies in a beautiful green valley above the Amalfi Coast, has preserved the traditions of the family that down the generations has contributed to its enhancement.  

The hotel, located in the old medieval village of Cava de' Tirreni and just 10 minutes by car from the motorway exit, was built in 1821 not far from the Benedictine Abbey that dates back to 1011. Guests are won over by its delicious cuisine, family atmosphere, and a landscape so relaxing and fascinating that it has attracted travellers and artists since the 1800s. Today at the property’s helm the father and son team Cesare and Giuseppe Scapolatiello are the fifth and sixth generations of the family, and with true passion and deep commitment they continue to write the history of this wonderful establishment. 

Cesare and Giuseppe ScapolatielloCesare and Giuseppe Scapolatiello

The hotel's strategic position makes it possible to easily visit Pompeii and Herculaneum, to admire the tradition of Vietri’s ceramics, to relax in the sun of Amalfi, or to discover the nature and the many trails of the Monti Lattari Park, all this while enjoying the tranquility and relaxation of a unique structure with many services. Set in a park of over 4,000 sqm with panoramic terraces directly overlooking the Lattari Mountains, the nearby Benedictine Abbey of Cava de' Tirreni, is a place where history and serenity come together in harmony, a medieval village where time seems to stand still and which is just waiting to be explored.

Hotel Scapolatiello is also located on the legendary Alta Via dei Lattari trail, which is almost 90 kilometres long and crosses the Lattari Mountains from Cava de’ Tirreni to Punta Campanella, the headland that looks across the Medieterrean waters to the island of Capri. This first section of the trail leads to the Sanctuary of the Madonna Avvocata sopra Maiori located at an altitude of almost 1,000 metres asl and overlooking the Amalfi Coast. This is a wonderful experience for both experienced trekkers and for professional team building. In addition, Hotel Scapolatiello immerses its guests in an ambience of peace and harmony with yoga at sunset, embraced by the magic of the centuries-old park while the hotel’s genuine Mediterranean cuisine is an introduction to the best of traditional Italian flavours.    

Published in Hospitality

The performance of luxury hospitality in Italy is consolidating. While waiting to know this year's numbers, Giorgio Ribaudo, managing director of the consulting firm Thrends, recently presented a preview of the now traditional report on Italy's high-end hotels’ performance. And the numbers by sector are, as always, more than flattering. If the overall hotel turnover in 2022 was around €22 billion, the 5-star segment was able to generate as much as 28.5% of this, equal to €6.3 billion, despite the fact that luxury hotels in Italy have just 4.1% of rooms, for a total of 668 properties and 44,768 keys. But if the weight of the high-end segment on the overall turnover of Italy’s hôtellerie clearly lies in the high room rates, current operating margins are also interesting, averaging 22.9% for 5-star hotels. 


Driving the sector's performance, as always, were the international markets, with 73% of the total, just below the 74% of the pre-Covid 2019 year. The main foreign markets were the US (26%), followed by Germany (16%), the UK (10%), Switzerland and Lichtenstein (7%), and France (6%). In terms of location most Italian luxury hotels are in Tuscany, followed by Latium, Campania, Veneto and Lombardy. The ranking by city is unsurprisingly dominated by the so-called Big 4 with Rome in pole position for the number of 5-star rooms, followed by Milan, Venice and Florence. Thrends estimates that at least two 5-star hotels will open in Italy every month this year with 23 total openings on the drawing board, followed by 45 in 2024 and 29 in 2025. Once again Rome is in the hot seat with 14 hotels in the pipeline between now and 2027, followed by Milan with six, and Venice, Arzachena in Sardinia and Cortina d'Ampezzo with three each.

Massimiliano SartiMassimiliano Sarti
Journalist

Published in Editorial

Together with the Londra Palace Venezie and the Umbrian Borgo dei Conti, The Place Florence, owned by the Babini family, has joined the new The Hospitality Experience brand.

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“Expert travellers are looking for authenticity rather than marble walls”

“I have always been a proponent of tailored hospitality, based on human relationships, made up of people with heart and soul, who welcome guests as if they were in their own home,- says Claudio Meli, general manager of The Place Florence.  -Redesigned exclusively with the collaboration of Tuscan artisans, I think we have managed to overcome the extremely difficult challenge facing many major international brands today, which is that expert travellers are looking for authenticity rather than marble walls, Jacuzzi tubs (a must in 5-star hotels twenty years ago) and opulence. They want to stay for the added value which is the human factor, that sense of place they find here when our concierge welcomes them as if they were at a Florentine friend’s home. The same applies to our restaurant The Kitchen & The Bar, where our chef Asso, uses only local organic products, for his genuine, traditional menu.”

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Surprising customers who are used to having almost everything

“I always say. that in a hotel you have to feel at home - actually it must be better than a home and make guests feel at ease. And here you get that very special, genuine and pampering service that we all crave when we are on holiday. Guests of The Place hotels also find that doors normally closed to the public open for them. Apart from the private opening of a museum, there are simple experiences that are unthinkable for most visitors. For example, we take our guests to visit artisan ateliers that we support through our foundation The Place of Wonders, where even today, thanks to made-to-measure craftsmanship, artisans produce creations that are admired the world over.”  



Published in Hospitality
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