After a difficult two years, as for the whole hotel industry, ao Hostels relaunches on Italy and is preparing for the opening in Florence, scheduled for the second quarter of 2023: a structure from 140 rooms for a total of 500 beds, spread over an area of about 4 thousand square meters, which will follow the two properties in Venice Mestre inaugurated in 2017 and 2019. But it doesn’t stop there: because the German company of latest generation hostels, with its hybrid hospitality format, aims to expand further in our Peninsula. “At the moment we have a negotiation already at an advanced stage in Genoa – explained the CEO and founder of the company during an online conference, Oliver Winter -. Ma we are also looking with interest in Milan, Rome and Verona“.
The expansion strategy is flexible and is based both on direct acquisitions with autonomous development of projects and on rents. Indeed, the marketing director revealed, Phillip Winter, after the difficulties linked to the outbreak of the pandemic, the group is increasingly shifting its focus on rentals, in order to protect the bottom line accounts from potential market volatility: “In Rome, in particular, we are looking at two interesting projects and in both cases it would be the management of third party structures”.
The business model should also be underlined, which now, after product and offer diversification intended to face the challenges of the pandemic, is substantially composed of 30% of groups (especially school groups), 10% of workers, 20 % -25% of families, as well as a remaining 35% -40% of couples. An important role, for ao Hostels, is therefore certainly played by the world of traditional distribution, especially that of operators specialized in school holidays: “Before Covid they certainly represented the main source of our business, accounting for about 40% of our total revenues – said the senior sales manager Italy, Annalia Bassi -. They were mainly operators from Romagna who organized school trips to institutes from all over Italy. A market that we now have every intention of recovering, without of course giving up that part of new demand, made above all of the corporate and institutional market, which we have managed to attract in the last two years “.
The company currently boasts about forty facilities in nine different European countries, the majority of which located in Germany and including the last opening in Edinburgh last July. In addition to Florence, The inaugurations of Heidelberg and Barcelona are also expected in the near future. The latter will mark ao Hostels’ entry into the Spanish market.