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My hobbling neurone

Di Emilio De Risi, 24 novembre 2016

The year 2016 has been characterised by large movements in the hotel industry, but – more than Marriot’s famous acquisition of Starwood – it was Accor’s entry in the capital of German company 25hours that stimulated a response from my one and hobbling neurone. 25hours is a group of seven hotels, five of which in Germany, not a mega-acquisition. It is a small group which, however, is expected to close the year with sales of 67 million Euro and an average occupancy of 83%.
I have kept an eye on this brand for quite some time, and a few months ago, during a trip to Hamburg, I visited a hotel of this group in the innovative district of Hafencity.
The modern rooms characterised by a touch of industrial design, inspired by Hamburg’s harbour area and interpreting its spirit, evoke a pleasant sense of familiarity. I must admit that the atmosphere I breathed at the 25hours hotel in Hamburg was in fact pleasant: welcoming, trendy, though not haughty. The construction itself appeared to me very solid and well-engineered.
The hotel belongs in the slightly mysterious and often evanescent segment of lifestyle hotels, which many seek to tap into, but not all understand. It is not easy to position oneself in this market, which is often made more of fashion than of substance, balancing between design, multiculturalism and budget (not so much budget in this case, because the average rate is 130 – 135 Euro).
Accor’s acquisition of 30% of 25hours’ capital is a present-day manner to absorb specific know-how, just as happens in the technological companies of Silicon Valley, and the French group has shown not to share the conceit of some hotel moguls, who are always certain they can handle any segment of hospitality.
At the end of this reflection, my hobbling neurone sparks up a question: how come that Italy, whose hotel industry is characterised by numberless small clusters of independent hotels, has not yet been able to express a unitary and innovative brand that can be attractive on the international market? If one does exist, please let me know! I will be happy to go and make their acquaintance.

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