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Farci, InterContinental Rome: focus on the US market and more

By Friday, 01 March 2024 09:51

Simone Farci, the new general manager of the InterContinental Rome, puts the focus on the US market, and more.

Simone Farci, with long years of experience in the US, has been appointed general manager of the new InterContinental Rome Ambasciatori Palace which last May marked the return of the IHG house brand to the Eternal City. The revival of Rome’s hospitality, with many prestigious openings already underway or in the pipeline, goes hand in hand with the recovery of US demand, which literally exploded in 2023.

The importance of loyalty programmes

“The US is a very important market for Rome,- says Farci, who spent eight years at the helm of several IHG Caribbean properties. -The target clientele here is certainly a little different from Central America, but the needs of US visitors are often similar. They are accustomed to brands that rely heavily on loyalty programmes, and we at IHG are certainly a guarantee.” 

InterContinental Rome Ambasciatori Palace

“Competition will inevitably grow”

“Last June and July we recorded significant growth. Just ten minutes from our hotel there are at least thirty potential competing facilities, and they are high level.” In Rome the post-Covid period marked a turning point with no shortage of investors seeking to maximize investments. “This can usually only be done with luxury brands. In our area alone there is talk of numerous new openings such as Rosewood, Nobu and Baccarat. Competition will inevitably grow, but I believe that demand will too, proportionally.”

Management and franchising contracts are soaring

The latest Chains Monitor from Thrends shows that chain rooms have now exceeded 20% of the total. And many belong to foreign brands. "The number of owners and investors willing to link up with large groups through management and franchising contracts is soaring,” adds Farci, highlighting a relatively new trend for the Italian market. But the majors are holding their own, and IHG saw their operating margins exceed one billion dollars for the first time in its history.  

Ristorante Scarpetta NYC InterContinental Rome Ambasciatori PalaceRistorante Scarpetta NYC InterContinental Rome Ambasciatori Palace

Rome’s F&B offer has improved

The city of Rome is also playing its part: 'I lived in Rome some fifteen years ago and I find it improved in many ways.  The growth in luxury demand has shaken up the general organization of the city, which is now a destination accessible to all types of tourist. The F&B offer has improved and is no longer limited to Italian and local restaurants. Here at the Ambasciatori Palace, for example, we have an international brand, Scarpetta Nyc, always of course with an eye to the US market.” 

“In the future an important role will be played by events”

This year’s slightly earlier than usual Easter could mean an early start to the high season, which will run to August, with a strong tail end in September and October. “In the last three weeks we have recorded strong demand from Asian markets, thanks chiefly to the Chinese New Year. I believe that in the future an important role will be played by events, starting with next year's Jubilee which will benefit all Rome’s hotels, from two stars up. From this point of view, I truly believe that Rome is a unique destination.” 

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