Together with tourism, the hotel real estate sector, which was already in a positive phase before this long health emergency, is also starting to grow

The investments real estate worldwide in twelve months have more than doubled compared to 2020, reaching almost seventy billion euros. A market that maintains interest in historic destinations but is looking for new territories and even secondary destinations as well as new formats.

A trend confirmed also in Italy with a 2021 turnover of 2.5 billion euros which is expected to increase in 2022 to 3.1 billion.

This is what emerges from the data of the 2022 Report presented on 8 July in Milan during the Hospitality Forum 2022 organized by Castello SGR and Scenari Immobiliari.

Hospitality: what changes

The hospitality sector in Italy remains, for national and international hotel chains, a reference market both for the specific characteristics of the territory and for the investments made by the national government with the allocation of 2.4 billion euros (PNRR), with the aim of supporting the sector by promoting sustainable development and its digitization.

The pandemic has in fact shown the fragility of a system mainly managed by small national groups, of a domestic nature, with a loss of 15% of brands and a growth, in favor of international structures, of 26% .

As for the location, the preference is confirmed for destinations known at cultural and business level and the areas coastal.

The 'secondary' locations and the 'new travelers'

Instead, interest is growing in locations defined as 'secondary' - provincial cities, lesser-known territories - which are however responding well to the interests of travelers, increasingly looking for new destinations in the name of quality, comfort and well-being.

Giampiero Schiavo, managing director of Castello SGR confirmed that "The greater commitment of all market players will be placed in further strengthening the deseasonalization of tourist flows and in making attractive not only the big cities and the most famous places but all the Italian regions so that a virtuous circle is established for this market".

On the subject also Francesca Zirnstein, general manager of Scenari Immobiliari, at the opening of the Hospitality Forum explained that: "The most versatile aspects of the market will come precisely from the 'new travelers': smart workers, frequent tourists, seasonally adjusted hikers.

A widespread increase in overnight stays, record occupancy rates for certain periods of the year, the development of the 'bleisure' segment which sees the concomitance of business and leisure travel, the multiplication of opportunities for short holidays to make up for part of the lost time are the elements that will boost the sector."

"But we must not forget", concluded Zirnstein, "the fragile aspects of the recovery deriving from any new waves of contagions, increased inflation, cost of energy and increase in accommodation prices, lack of manpower, the strength in the restart of tourism at fairs and meetings.

The challenges are therefore numerous but this epochal transition is the occasion to reform the sectors that have shown that they need a new structure."

Formats change

A well-established trend is leading the hospitality sector to appropriate spaces in the past intended for residences and offices.

This type of hybridization has evolved into condhotel, tourist facilities that transform part of the hotel rooms into apartments that are purchased by private individuals. The owner can use the apartment as his own residence, use it only periodically by taking advantage of the hotel services, or obtain an income from it by entrusting it to hotel management.

A model that has found diffusion in the United States and that in Italy will see a first application in the next opening of the Palma Mysuite group in Milan, inside the World Join Center skyscraper in Portello area. Four floors of the tower, mainly for office use, will be transformed to create about thirty luxury accommodations.

No less interesting is the serviced apartment model. The product consists of fully furnished apartments leased for short and medium term periods, and which have the offer of hotel services such as daily cleaning of the premises, replacement of linen, concierge, room service on call. In fact, this solution allows you to have, at a low cost, all the benefits of a complete hotel service and at the same time enjoy the privacy of a private residence.

Wellness and medical

Wellness Tourism identifies itself as a separate wellness sector, based on applications that do not always use the therapeutic properties of thermal waters and which, consequently, allow entrepreneurs to choose the location of their business by freeing themselves from the sources.

The thermal tourism is therefore evolving into health and wellness tourism, thus making it accessible to a wider segment of the population, up to the medical one where the care of the Spa is it replaces a period in a clinic or hospital for therapies and interventions, not just aesthetic ones. This type of stay is viewed with great interest as a driving force for a seasonally adjusted and quality presence.

The destinations that remain primary

The 2022 Report on the Hotel Real Estate Market confirms the investments focused on properties of historical and artistic value, which have become or will become in the near future, subject to redevelopment and rebranding for the purpose to increase the quality of the spaces and services.

In 2021, more than 130 interventions were registered in Italy, including new openings, renovations, redevelopments and management changes. The regions with the highest number of investments are Lazio and Lombardy, with 21 and 19 completed projects respectively. Most of the Lazio operations concern the city of Rome, mainly opening of four and five-star structures, with only one luxury five-star hotel.

In Lombardy the most popular destinations are the city of Milan (11 interventions) and some places on Lake Garda. Next in the ranking, Tuscany, Cortina D'Ampezzo - already involved in the operations of the 2026 Winter Olympics -, Sicily, Puglia and Trentino Alto Adige.

Outdoor and Sport

The Report confirms that the leisure travel sector in some Italian destinations could return to 2019 levels as early as 2022; the seaside and mountain resorts, which offer many open spaces and are rich in natural attractions and outdoor routes, have a greater accommodation capacity Some cities. The health emergency then transformed non-hotel facilities such as campsites (the phenomenon of Glamping is well known) into less conventional holiday destinations.

Another sector that is growing and making new destinations attractive is that of tourism sports. Trips to see a championship or a match, to practice a sport, to participate in a race and cycle tourism, are increasingly frequent and are changing the offer of many accommodation facilities, making entire territories interesting for investors and not just individuals. destinations. For the Lombardy region, the Winter Olympics 2026 are an opportunity to renovate many facilities and define new vocations, including sports, for many destinations and not only in the mountains.

In Rome the Ryder Cup 2023 - the world championship of Golf - will attract important tourist flows allowing our country to present its hotel offer also connected to the golf sector.

Italy, land of luxury

An important niche for Italy is that of luxury: we are the first destination for high-end international travelers, especially for the food and wine, art offer and culture. In particular, Italy is traditionally considered the ideal destination for clients and wealthier families from overseas. The main destinations include Milan, Rome, Amalfi, Cortina d'Ampezzo and Madonna di Campiglio.

Many of the investments are concentrated in this sector. The transactions in 2021 and in the first months of 2022 confirm the interest of investors, including foreign ones, for structures and places of excellence: the operations involved approximately 76 three, four and five-star accommodation facilities.