I had the pleasure to interview a very nice man, Andrea Franchini. He is now based in New York and he is working at Hotel Americano, a boutique hotel in Chelsea from Grupo Habita, famous for its Bar Americano,its amazing design, for its magic rooftop pool and not only!
Here are my 10 questions to Andrea Franchini!
1. As you are working in a boutique hotel, what is your idea of “glamour and luxurious”?
I work for a Mexican hospitality group, Grupo Habita, whose founders developed a chain of design hotels in Mexico and the US. I live in New York and Hotel Americano is my base. Our hotel is design driven and it is an “under the radar” destination. Hotel Americano was developed in West Chelsea, the gallery district, when literally nothing was around. It quickly became a destination for the art and fashion community because of its distance from the crowded and more glamorous places in NYC and because our hotel, restaurants and bars became a sort of artsy club without the need of a membership. So to answer your question we offer an experience different from what comes to mind when most people think of glamour and luxury. We deliver a unique and cultural experience.
- Why do you choose hospitality sector?
I didn’t choose it. My career brought me here by coincidence. You know were you start, you don’t know where you end.
- Which are the principal aspects in a hospitality career?
Definitely the pleasure of hosting people and understanding your guest’s needs in advance. Of course “vision”. And hard work, work, work.
- Is it different from the career of other sectors?
It truly is. It is a lifestyle.
- What about your professional records? How did you get there?
After managing night clubs for many years in Rome and other fancy destinations like Capri, Porto Cervo and Cortina, I founded the marketing and advertising agency “Selected Adv” in 2007 along with 2 classmates (we were still students at Luiss Guido Carli in Rome!). We developed a unique network amongst the top 10 Italian universities which hired us as the exclusive agency to sell marketing and advertising campaigns within their premises. The business turned out to be quite successful as it matched the needs of students (services and fun activities), corporations (brand and sales activations) and colleges (fund-raising). Every actor involved was getting something out of this business model.
- What are your main daily activities as a director of events and brand development?
I was recently promoted to a more involved role which expands my responsibilities to all the new hotel openings in the US, the next ones being Chicago and Los Angeles. I supervise all the special events, partnerships and opportunities to develop our brand and business. We do so leveraging from the deep connections that Hotel Americano has built during the past years within the art, fashion and design industries.
- Shows, exhibitions, parties. What are the main events in your hotel?
We partner with many art fairs like Frieze and The Armory Show in NY and Zona Maco in Mexico City, as well as with many exhibitors coming to New York during Design Week. Many art galleries, fashion brands, and museums host their after show parties and dinners here at Hotel Americano. Of course this fun energy spills out to the other public areas of the hotel and provide our hotel guests with a whole experience. “Lobby Socializing” is very important.
- What are the best promotion channels for a Hotel, and why?
We only advertise the hotel in a select few publications like Interview Magazine, Artforum, Surface Magazine, Cultured Magazine, Apartmento, Wallpaper. We have a series of very cool ad pages which include our logo and one object. Other than that, it is through events and partnerships that the hotel promotes itself. The organic word of mouth and buzz is the most powerful tool to promote a boutique hotel. Social media of course is another channel we use for promotion.
- Which are, in your opinion, future trends to focus in the tourism market?
I believe nowadays it is all about delivering the right experience to your guests.
- As an Italian, how do you feel and live in the US?
New York is still the capital of the world. Each person you meet as something interesting to share with you. You learn something everyday.
I love my country but unfortunately I see things getting worse year by year. I partially disagree with those pointing fingers against our politicians. They are Italians as well. It is a much deeper issue: it’s a cultural and generational problem. Italy owns its heritage and the country has one of the most impressive landscapes. Unfortunately tourism operators can’t do that much when infrastructure is lacking and bureaucracy represents a barrier to attract and develop business. Within this negative background I see pleasant exceptions like Milan. The Expo helped the city to change its shape. Arts and culture attracted clusters of international brands, designers, artists, students and professionals. Change ultimately comes from creative minds.