The general political situation, particularly in the Mediterranean area, which has favoured the stabler countries (headed by Spain and Greece – surprise! – and then Italy), a favourable climate condition, Expo 2015, the perceived general improvement of the economy, now confirmed by the increase in the GDP and employment, the coming Jubilee: all these circumstances have made this summer tourist season the best in a long time, so much so that even the need for qualified human resources has grown; the advertisements we received have grown by 60% compared with the previous year.
How are hotels organising themselves to respond to this change, which we hope is a real turn-around?
In August I went to Nuremberg and stayed at the Hampton by Hilton. Like several others, the US company is diversifying its products, to the point that I counted as many as 13 lines managed by them; as if it were not enough, they have now activated a new line, in consideration that Hampton is positioning itself upwards, vacating a lower-level niche.
The hotel, located in the central area of the town, offers complete services, ranging from the coffee-maker to the ironing kit in the room (very American), from wi-fi to breakfast included in the price, from the internet station in the lobby to the by now indispensable air conditioning system.
I reserved a room at Hampton in Berlin for the next ITB ( March 2016) at the cost of EUR 200 per night, but, in different periods, it is possible to pay less than EUR 100 for two people in a B&B.
The developments in the industry, with large worldwide companies seeking to cover all market segments, should necessarily stimulate reflection on the part of traditional hotels, which are the large majority in our country.
This type of offer (such as Hampton’s, but there are many similar examples) is definitely attractive for travellers, and projects of this kind are only prevented from spreading in Italy and colonising our hospitality market by the administrative and bureaucratic difficulties existing in our country when setting up and managing businesses. For the moment, it is above all luxury companies that come to the large cities (most recently Mandarin Oriental), but if the several times announced reform of the public administration should come true, I think there would be no more obstacles to development.
In order to hold out against the coming competition, it is necessary that hotels – sometimes a little over-aged - leave aside the attitude of “this is the way we have always done” and try to ensure that their hotels turn into “unique experiences”, independently of the categories in which they operate, by identifying the criticalities in the new format proposals (often, for example, the personnel’s lack of competence), investing in restructuring projects and, in essence, becoming more dynamic, showing proof of the creativity that supposedly is our characteristic feature.
LASCIA UN COMMENTO