‘Special Touches Make the Difference in Hospitality’ – Interview with Fabrizio Piredda, GM of Civitel’s Athens Hotels
“Welcome the guest and make them feel as if they are home,” is what Fabrizio Piredda, the general manager of Civitel’s hotels in Athens, tells his team in order to explain exactly what working in the hotel business means.
Civitel Hotels & Resorts represents a collection of four individually-designed, distinctive four-star hotels – two in Athens and two on the island of Crete. Its hotels in Athens are the Civitel Olympic, a vibrant business property located few steps away from the Olympic Stadium and themed after the 2004 Athens Olympic Games; and the Civitel Attik in Maroussi, a superlative getaway for urban stays, corporate events and social gatherings, yet also for couples and families.
With over 15 years of experience in the hospitality industry under his belt, Fabrizio says that he is proud to offer his services to the Athens hospitality scene.
“We are hosts to thousands of guests every year and offer them the best value for money in Athens, one of the most historical destinations of the world,” he told GTP Headlines.
In this interview, Fabrizio explains the hospitality offerings of the Civitel Olympic and Civitel Attik hotels, which have one main aim: to offer the best experiences to visitors in the city.
“In hospitality, training, discipline and that special ‘human touch’ can make all the difference…” – Fabrizio Piredda
GTP: Fabrizio, please share some career highlights with our readers.
Fabrizio Piredda: I began my career in the hotel industry in Hospitality Management after graduating from the University of Milano-Bicocca. In the last 15 years I have held several prestigious positions, including that of director at Santikos Hotels, as well as deputy general manager at the Floriana Hotels in Egypt and finally general manager at the units of Civitel Hotels in Athens since March 2018.
GTP: How do Civitel’s properties differ from other accommodation options in Athens?
Fabrizio Piredda: It is a great pleasure for me to say that our hotels stand strong here in the beautiful city of Athens. With over 50 years of experience it makes it difficult for a guest to remain disappointed about Civitel’s hospitality. It is a proven fact that our quality hotel offering is high among preferences whenever someone takes a trip to the Greek capital for an overnight stay or meeting, either for business or pleasure.
GTP: Teamwork is the key for success. How, as general manager, do you motivate service staff?
Fabrizio Piredda: Our main motivation is to satisfy each of our guests demands and we are proud to have the best professionals on our team who have been trained to guarantee excellent service. We are hosts to thousands of guests every year and offer them the best value for money in Athens, one of the most historical destinations of the world.
In hospitality, training, discipline and that special “human touch” can make all the difference. “Welcome the guest and make them feel as if they are home” – I like to repeat this to interns and younger collaborators, to explain exactly what working in the hotel business means.
I must add that the foundation of every great team is a direction that energizes, orients, and engages its members. Teams cannot be inspired if they do not know what they are working towards and do not have explicit goals. Those goals should be challenging (modest ones don’t motivate), but not so complicated that would cause the team to become dispirited. The goals also must be consequential: People must care about achieving a goal, whether because they stand to gain extrinsic rewards, such as recognition, pay and promotions; or intrinsic rewards, such as satisfaction and a sense of meaning.
GTP: Gastronomy plays a big part in the authentic and qualitative experience of hotel guests. How would you sum up Civitel’s approach to Greek cuisine?
Fabrizio Piredda: Restaurant concepts have to be unique and new to the current market, thus creating a sense of excitement for consumers visiting the hotel and allowing it to distinguish itself from its competitors. On the other hand, the concept also has to be able to stay relevant to meet the needs of consumers in the long run.
Nowadays, restaurants must have a strong and unique identity as well as be able to provide a storyline that elevates the dining experience for customers.
When it comes to our cuisine, I think that is very versatile thanks to its variety and richness. I do not like when it gets distorted. However, a small traditional and Mediterranean influence or a touch of creativity can make it original and interesting.
Food and beverage play a big role, not only in a hotel but also it is one of the most important elements of our everyday life, so it could not be missing.
GTP: Regarding the MICE (Meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) industry, what does Civitel’s hotels in Athens have to offer?
Fabrizio Piredda: Civitel Hotels has considerably increased its MICE offer in Athens for event planners. With two hotels, 143 rooms and 12 meeting rooms, Civitel’s hotels in Athens can meet the needs of a business and leisure clientele. Civitel offers its guests two categories of hotels: the Civitel Olympic, a modern and functional urban hotel, with a perfect mix of comfort, service and in a strategic location but with affordable rates; and the Civitel Attik that is an unconventional design hotel with a unique personality.
GTP: Everyone is referring to 2018 as a record year for Greek tourism. How was the year for Civitel in Athens this year? How are bookings proceeding for the 2019 season?
Fabrizio Piredda: This year, our total revenue of the hotels in Athens reached 5 million euros. The current price management strategy and the continuous improvement of the quality of the hotels have allowed Civitel to obtain an increase in the average revenue per room (RevPAR) available equal to 3.5 percent. It is also important to underline that the increase in the RevPAR was supported by a joint strategy of growth of the average daily rate (ADR) and the level of employment.
GTP: As we approach 2019, what are your main plans?
Fabrizio Piredda: My task now is to accompany the hotels’ management in the planning for renovation works to begin. However, it is still early to unravel the details of the renovation. You see, at the moment, 60 percent of our clients are leisure and the idea is to increase the hotels’ corporate component, to make it the base around the offer of the other segments.