Italy: Difficult Times Require Creative Solutions
Our World | On 25, Jul 2013
Over the past few weeks we have been publishing a series of ‘ad hoc’ articles for Our World by ‘movers and shakers’ from companies based outside of the UK. We asked for their professional opinions on how the continued world recession is affecting them (and more importantly perhaps, how they are overcoming obstacles). It has proved interesting reading to see how they have been facing up to, and overcoming, difficult trading conditions in order to thrive.
The latest guest blogger in this series is Riccardo Vannetti, the Managing Director of AlliedPRA Italy, with his take on this topic – Chris Clarke.
“Warning, these are 2013 rates and they may rise in 2014”
How many times do you see your DMC adding this into the spreadsheet, afraid to commit to next year’s pricing in fear of driving margins down. Maybe this was the case some years ago, but in times like this, I tell my team to highlight it in pink neon, bold, italics, underline at will! Of course, with an extra line saying: “Actually they might go down!”.
In a world that continuously raises its stakes, this is the first time that I have seen prices dropping and suppliers so much more eager to negotiate with their preferred partners. Transfers, hotels, staff: every supplier is keen to demonstrate a competitive advantage. With Italy’s current economic climate, the country has a desire to keep your business here and demonstrate its added value. It’s quite a change for a country which has had a perception for being uncompetitive compared to the rest of Europe.
Rich in art, cuisine, history, fashion and culture; beautiful coastlines and beaches, mountains and priceless ancient monuments: this is Italy. Italy contains
the most more World Heritage Sites than any other country in the world and tourism is one of Italy’s fastest growing and most profitable industrial sectors. It has an estimated revenue of €136.1 billion, roughly 10% of the GDP, a sector which employs about 12% of the workforce.
You can imagine then, how the financial crisis has such a negative impact on our economy as a whole, but especially on the DMCs in Italy who handle mostly domestic business. Those who have the capability and understanding of the international inbound business will fair better.
The key is to continue to show the client flexibility, a creative flair with restricted budgets and continue to demonstrate good value for money. We continue to negotiate well with suppliers locally and when a client may not be able to afford a Ferrari tour around Chianti, then maybe vintage cars around the city or even driven vespa tours will equally excite them. A pizza-making challenge in a local restaurant might suit better than another exclusive venue with off-site catering.
By working with trusted and long term suppliers we can find new ways to deliver a creative programme whilst keeping the culture of the destination alive. Having a great experience in Italy is all about knowing the country and knowing that often you have to go off the beaten tracks to experience true bliss.
This is where we shine: we know where Italians go and who runs those places: this way we make sure that it is through us that our clients get the best out of Italy, crisis or not. If you think that a weekend in Milan to see the legendary football derby AC Milan – Internazionale with VIP seating would send your budget through the roof, please, ask us for details! You will be pleasantly surprised.
One last thing: food. Sadly, many Italian restaurateurs see tourists as ripe crop that needs to be harvested. We work with a large selection of restaurants we trust, we pick the ones we would take our families to, those with a good service and generous servings and we trust their delivery and quality. Our wonderful food does the rest.