Francesco Mascaro, Mediocredito: “Business networks and loyalty programmes are the winning cards”
The Gruppo Intesa Sanpaolo business financing agency doubled the amount of funding allocated to tourism companies in 2015
“Even during the most difficult years, the Gruppo Intesa Sanpaolo has never not supported the sector”. Speaking is Francesco Mascaro, Mediocredito Italiano tourism specialist, before announcing that “in 2015, we granted more than double the financing of recent years to tourism companies, proof that recovery is ongoing and real”. The manager refers to a big rise in requests, “a sign of increased confidence in sector businesspeople and greater interest by foreign operators". Mediocredito Italiano is the Gruppo Intesa Sanpaolo business financing agency that supports company investments and growth paths, a benchmark in Italy for specialist financing and leasing. It is first in Italy for factoring and fourth internationally. Through its Tourism desk, the institute supervises every project in the sector, with special attention to continual updates on progress and market trends, also in order to understand its characteristic needs and, as a consequence, structure the most suitable products. “The desk”, emphasises Mascaro, “carries out its analysis using specific evaluation tools created in-house for the sector, which allow for quantitative and qualitative assessment of the investments. To put it extremely briefly, we integrate economic-financial assessment of the initiative, based on typical sector variables (e.g. TOC, ADR, RevPAR), with qualitative assessment based on the particular characteristics of the hotel structure (location, quality and size of the structure) and its management (manager skills, affiliation or otherwise with international brands)”. A procedure that enables accurate examination from a financial, technical-industrial and quality point of view, dra-
wing up an assessment focused on sustainability of the credit requests. “Then, through the specific travel factoring tool”, adds the manger, “we offer tour operators, hotel chains, plane companies and travel agencies, a transparent, centralised payment system, with a single contact, promoting a reduction in our clientele’s admin costs and ensuring suppliers with the financial flow of credit made to the travel agency, which in turn benefits from the free credit and supply process”. We finance projects for development, acquisition, refurbishing, expansion, new initiati- ves and new business models. “We do not exclude anything usually, we analyse each individual project, assessing the right involvement of the applicant, the reliability of the basic assumptions and the model of facility offered”, continues Mascaro. The duration of the financing and the repayment methods, “are in line with the financial flows typical of tourism companies and with the duration of management contracts, also considering the overall financial structure of the project (risk capital and debt capital). We do not exclude operations that require a duration of up to twenty years and with tailor-made repayment plans”. “We do not want to replace the entrepreneur, that would be too ambitious”, comments Mascaro, “but I do allow myself, in any case, to make a couple of suggestions to identify moves to put in place in the short term. We must hope”, he explains, “that hoteliers manage to reduce the weight of OTAs, through greater client loyalty and greater web visibility, as well as considering aggregative processes through various solutions such as hotel chain loyalty programmes or the setting up of business networks, even if only to share promotion of their local area”. On the digital front, Mediocredito Italiano is studying a system that will provide clients with “the evaluation tools adopted for our credit analysis, with a view to allowing them to make preliminary general feasibility checks of the operation, in this way raising their awareness of the aspects prioritised by the bank’s analysis”.