Pro­fi­ta­bi­li­ty and in­deb­ted­ness are issues to keep an eye on

seeITALY - - Banche - Lau­ra Do­mi­ni­ci

For fu­tu­re ex­pan­sion, Lu­ca Mon­ti (UBI) be­lie­ves it is useful to fo­cus on di­gi­tal re­pu­ta­tion and “ban­ka­bi­li­ty” of in­vest­men­ts

A healthy tur­no­ver over the la­st two years, wi­th in­te­re­sting gro­w­th pro­spec­ts and gro­w­th dy­na­mic of 2% a year for the 2015-2016 pe­riod. The UBI Ban­ca pic­tu­re of the tou­ri­sm sec­tor leaves room for ho­pe. “The sec­tor of ac­com­mo­da­tion ser­vi­ces has

ta­ken ad­van­ta­ge of a sta­ble tur­no­ver, de­spi­te the ad­ver­se con­text of the eco­no­mic re­ces­sion”, See Ita­ly is told by Lu­ca Mon­ti, head of pri­va­te & cor­po­ra­te and in­vest­ment ban­king at UBI Ban­ca. A trend that has al­lo­wed the sec­tor to join the ave­ra­ge of the twen­ty-eight to­tal areas ana­ly­sed (see ta­ble be­low). Ac­cor­ding to this ma­na­ger ho­we­ver, the sec­tor will ha­ve to con­ti­nue to fa­ce the fol­lo­wing cri­ti­cal poin­ts: “The pro­fi­ta­bi­li­ty pro­fi­le”, com­men­ts Mon­ti, “be­cau­se in terms of ROA (re­turn on to­tal as­se­ts), the sec­tor sho­ws a re­la­ti­ve­ly low pro­fi­ta­bi­li­ty of 1.9% (ave­ra­ge for 2012-2014), be­low the ave­ra­ge of the goods areas ana­ly­sed. And then it mu­st con­trol its in­deb­ted­ness pro­fi­le. This aspect”, he em­pha­si­ses, “was sho­wn by the ra­tio of fi­nan­cial deb­ts wi­th net as­se­ts. The sec­tor re­ports a hi­gh le­vel of fi­nan­cial le­ve­ra­ge in­dex, stan­ding at 143.0% (ave­ra­ge for 2012-2014), hi­gher than the ave­ra­ge of the goods areas ana­ly­sed”. In re­ply to the que­stion about whi­ch chal­len­ges Ita­lian ho­te­liers will ha­ve to fa­ce in the short-me­dium term, Mon­ti picks out four areas for ac­tion. The fir­st is a ho­tel’s di­gi­tal re­pu­ta­tion: “One ac­ce­le­ra­tion fac­tor of the chan­ges in com­pe­ti­ti­ve as­se­ts is re­pre­sen­ted by de­ve­lo­p­ment of on­li­ne boo­kings, whi­ch is fa­vou­ring tho­se ope­ra­tors who ha­ve mo­st boo­sted their web mar­ke­ting“, ex­plains Mon­ti. A very im­por­tant aspect is, in par­ti­cu­lar, re­pre­sen­ted by your di­gi­tal re­pu­ta­tion on the so­cial net­works”. Ac­cor­ding to a sur­vey car­ried out by the PhoCu­sW­right si­te, 77% of tra­vel­lers con­sult Tri­pAd­vi­sor be­fo­re ma­king a ho­tel boo­king. Fur­ther­mo­re, ac­cor­ding to a sur­vey by Tri­pAd­vi­sor itself, 93% of peo­ple think re- views are im­por­tant when choo­sing a ho­tel and 53% would ne­ver book a ho­tel that had no re­views by others. A se­cond aspect re­gards com­pe­ti­tion bet­ween ope­ra­tors, whi­ch li­mi­ts pro­fi­ta­bi­li­ty: “In a sec­tor al­rea­dy cha­rac­te­ri­sed by poor pro­fi­ta­bi­li­ty, com­pe­ti­tion bet­ween ope­ra­tors is gro­wing due to tou­rists’ lo­wer spen­ding po­wer and is fo­cu­sed on pri­ce and spe­cial of­fers that fur­ther li­mit pro­fi­ta­bi­li­ty in the sec­tor. What’s mo­re, com­pe­ti­tion for ho­tel ope­ra­tors now al­so co­mes from non-ho­tels, wi­th pri­va­te ho­mes in fir­st pla­ce”. The third fo­cus is on in­vest­men­ts to be ma­de. “The struc­tu­re of ho­tel fa­ci­li­ties in Ita­ly is po­la­ri­sed", com­men­ts the ma­na­ger, “wi­th, on the one hand, the big fo­rei­gn ho­tel chains and on the other a plu­ra­li­ty of small Ita­lian ope­ra­tors, of­ten fa­mi­ly run or wi­th a lo­cal ra­dius of ac­tion. Ho­we­ver, over the pa­st few years we ha­ve seen a gra­dual pro­cess of re­fur­bish­ment in Ita­lian ho­tels, wi­th a gra­dual in­crea­se in the qua­li­ty of ser­vi­ces of­fe­red and ave­ra­ge si­ze of the players. One of the fac­tors that hin­der de­ve­lo­p­ment of big ho­tel chains wi­th Ita­lian ca­pi­tal is re­pre­sen­ted by the hea­vy real esta­te in­vest­ment nee­ded; the sec­tor is cha­rac­te­ri­sed in fact by a re­la­ti­ve­ly low ROA, pre­ci­se­ly due to the hi­gh ra­tio of fi­xed as­se­ts com­pa­red to tur­no­ver (229.5% the ave­ra­ge for 2012-2014). The four­th issue is the “ban­ka­bi­li­ty" of in­vest­men­ts. “Dia­lo­gue wi­th the ban­king sy­stem is dif­fi­cult. It is the­re­fo­re fun­da­men­tal that ope­ra­tors re­cei­ve as­si­stan­ce wi­th pre­pa­ring do­cu­men­ts, espe­cial­ly pro­spec­ti­ve bu­si­ness plans, to al­low for bet­ter dia­lo­gue wi­th the en­ti­re ban­king sy­stem”.

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