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Expanding Horizons: the growth of the Ficcanterri family's Icon Group

By Monday, 06 May 2024 08:00
  • Sponsored
Federico Ficcanterri Icon’s president Federico Ficcanterri

Icon srl was founded in January 2019 and, together with Antico Podere San Francesco, Borgo Verde, Park Hotel Marinetta, The Sense Experience Resort and Hotel Botticelli (acquired in May 2022), is the sixth company in the Ficcanterri family's group. Currently undergoing a generational transition, three out of five of the younger generation are now working in the company in various operational management roles. The current general manager, Ciro Verrocchi, was appointed in 2023.

“The Icon Collection project was launched before the pandemic which turned out to be a very complex and difficult period for everyone”, says Icon’s president Federico Ficcanterri.  “During those months I worked closely with my collaborators to ensure the continuity of our course, to try to foresee developments and to act accordingly. Fortunately for us, our core business is in seaside resorts, so the pandemic shock had a less traumatic effect on us than it did on those colleagues of ours who run city properties.”

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Hotel Botticelli 

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Hotel Botticelli

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The reorganization and promotion of the Group’s four properties is going full steam ahead.  After opening The Sense in 2020 the focus is now on the Antico Podere San Francesco, which will be repositioned in the relais segment with additional rooms, a swimming pool for adults, a SPA and a restaurant. Then there is the rebranding, in terms of both positioning and architecture, of the Hotel Botticelli, with the aim of making it a benchmark hotel in the 5-star luxury boutique segment in Florence. And, last but not least, the Park Hotel Marinetta’s renovation and rebranding will involve an initial stage of expansion and restyling of the rooms, followed by a complete redefinition of the restaurant, swimming pools, SPA and park. The new positioning will be 5-star, while the property will still be oriented towards families.

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Antico Podere San Francesco

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Antico Podere San Francesco

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"We believe that the best way to meet the demand is to carefully study the purchasing habits of our potential guests and the reviews guests leave us. This way we can constantly optimize our tourist offer on the one hand, and our product on the other. The guest is at the centre of everything. Listening to our guests is primary in our product optimization strategies, as it allows us to tailor the travel experience specifically for them, to anticipate their needs, and to impress them with “special effects.” 

The Icon Group has identified a series of actions to promote responsible tourism, including purchasing local products or producing them locally, water-saving systems, the use of compostable products such as crockery and cutlery for composting food waste from the kitchen and other F&B departments, the enhancement of local services and activities, and attention to recycling. In 2023 the We Plant project was launched for the protection of the environment. in compliance with point 15 of the UN's Goal 2030.

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Park Hotel Marinetta

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Park Hotel Marinetta

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Park Hotel Marinetta

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“In the pine forest in Marina di Bibbona, in cooperation with the municipality and the Tuscany Region, in-house guests planted more than 30 trees and shrubs.”  

The entrepreneurial idea behind the Sense Experience Resort was to create a 4-star full-service resort that would replicate the business and organizational model of the already consolidated Park Hotel Marinetta in Marina di Bibbona, a medium to high-level family product.

“But then we decided it was appropriate to integrate the initial strategic approach with some additional factors aimed at the luxury segment, the development of the Maremma as a tourist destination, and the possibility of cannibalization between the Group's properties.” 

The Sense Experience Resort and the Park Hotel Marinetta both work with the high-end MICE segment and the main markets are Germany, Switzerland and Italy as well as Asian markets and Australia. The Sense joined Preferred Hotels & Resort, an important partner to consolidate its presence mainly on the US market.

Eatè fine dining Restaurant - The Sense Experience ResortEatè fine dining Restaurant - The Sense Experience Resort

“Catering mainly to the luxury segment, the philosophy of the Sense Resort is based on experiencing nature with all five senses and providing personalized experiential stays that reflect and interact with the territory.” 

At The Sense Experience Resort guest takes a sensory journey, a totally immersive experience, that can provide unforgettable sensations.

“One of our unique features is our helichrysum essence, which grows wild in our park, and is offered to all our guests upon arrival as a welcome gift. We are constantly working on the in-room experience, to allow guests to choose and customize their comfort, and clearly the food and wine experience is central. We call our concierges Experience Specialists, which means they are personalized consultants of emotions who know all about our area, and they tell our guests all about it together with details of our Experience Collection, which includes more than 60 experiences for unique stays.”

 

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Borgo Verde

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Borgo Verde

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Down the years the Group has selected and worked with over 50 experience providers to create the Experience Collection, which includes a wide variety of activities from biking, trekking and boating to kite surfing, wind surfing and stand-up paddle, golf and Wine & Dine as well as cultural activities and experiences.

“The boat and the bike experiences are among the most popular with our guests.”

Federico Ficcanterri says the greatest value a company dedicated to hospitality can have is its human capital, and that it is only through the enhancement of this capital that great results can be achieved.

“The passion we put into our work is not only conveyed to our guests, but also to our employees whom we call “in-house guests.” Today we are reaping the first fruits of our hard work over the last eight to ten years.  Clearly we are always looking to the future, and we are constantly on the lookout for new properties to expand our portfolio. We would like to invest in Milan.”

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