So, following on from the post about business planning and keeping the dream alive, all sorts of discussions have been taking place, and the main impact has been on the size and extent of The Italian Dream…
Where the original idea was a modest guest house and self-catering destination with cookery school in Puglia, perhaps unsurprisingly, this wouldn’t bring enough of a return for an investor. So, we had to dream bigger… When you’re handling someone else’s money, they want quicker and/or bigger returns, which means a bigger investment – bigger than we could ever imagine… and this requires an even bigger vision.
Fortunately, our investor likes us! And even though we’ve not run a hotel before, our investor believes in our skill sets and passion to make a far bigger project happen…
So, we’re now looking at Tuscany again; we’re looking at a completely different market; and we’re looking at a completely different type of property and offering.
Tuscany is a ‘fail-safe’ destination. Where ‘nobody was ever fired for buying Dell’, you wouldn’t be wrong to buy a property in Tuscany! It is the most appealing region for tourism in Italy; it is the core of history and culture within the country, with easy access to Rome, the Lakes, foodie regions including Umbria and Emilia Romania, and you could even do an overnight trip to Venezia, if you wanted to! For an international market, too, Tuscany is high up on everyone’s lists – Americans, Canadians, Chinese, Russians… Where the Brits, Germans, Dutch and Scandinavians are striving for off the beaten track and something new and unspoilt, the wider international visitor has some catching up to do in Europe, so Tuscany still sits at the top of holiday lists.
The gift horse still holds cachet…
Tuscany still holds the cachet in Italy for tourism and visitor figures. I have never denied this. I truly love Tuscany – my favourite city being Siena. My original idea was just to deliver something a little bit new, that the tourism market could react to and to get into a market at the start of its ascendancy, rather than ride a wave that’s already formed. Never one to shy away from a challenge and with a career that started in travel and tourism marketing, I do have a passion for this!
But who am I to look a gift horse in the mouth?! That plan was when I was funding it myself; not relying on bigger pots of (someone else’s) money. My commercial brain kicked in to recognise an opportunity, clutch at a potential trend and help make Puglia a destination people reach for.
But now, potentially, Italy is my oyster… So why wouldn’t I want to make this happen in Tuscany, if I can?
Here’s a taster of the properties we’re looking at for this incredible project.