After seeing our students in the classroom, taken from business cases and lectures, it’s quite impressive to find one of them on television. Yet here is Giuseppe Autorino, Alumnus of the Executive MBA, celebrating the victory of the Neapolitan episode of “4 Hotel” on the small screen.
Giuseppe is not a new name on the pages of #Spiritoleader. The most attentive readers, in fact, will remember him for Artrooms, the e-commerce of works of art born right on the counters of the MIP.
But from the art trade to the management of a hotel, the step is not so short… or maybe not?
Curious to know more about this “chair change”, we contacted him for an interview.
It has already been 5 years since you finished the EMBA. What has happened since then?
Since the last time we talked about it, Artrooms has undergone many evolutions. After all, it is normal for startups to have ups and downs. Now, after a standby phase, we will present a new business model, more linked to events in the world of art than to e-commerce. In fact, in Italy, the marketing of works of art online is still struggling to catch on.
It was my experience in the field that taught me so much as an entrepreneur. Even after considerable design and analysis efforts, it is the market test that makes the difference. Through a Lean approach, especially when there are few funds available, you understand which is the right path to follow. A path that, however, is difficult: you need tenacity, to face the defeats and continue to see the opportunities.
Is there a link between the Artrooms experience and your hotel?
Obviously, I tried to put this experience in the art world to good use in other areas, especially in the hotel. The two projects almost overlapped.
In fact, the products – united by the innovative nature of the offer – are more similar than you think.
When I took over the small family hotel, I wanted to create something new, with a particular value. I decided to focus on a luxury audience and to create a “boutique” hotel, a brand new concept in the city. It was no small challenge, especially because Naples is not Venice or Milan, but rather a destination for those who want to see the beauty of the surroundings.
In addition, small structures are often associated with the concept of Bed & Breakfast, a category from which I wanted to depart.
To differentiate me, I decided to win over my customers with innovative services, such as being able to offer its guests the opportunity to admire always different works of art. Among other things, we also focus on the world of tailoring and wine.
After all, even if the structure is small, offering the services of a large hotel is not that complicated. The important thing is to be able to create partnerships and relationships, to initiate the logic of exchange. This is a cost-sharing logic, which otherwise could make a small hotel suffer.
You have touched on an interesting point: the network. For those who have attended an MBA this is often one of the strengths of the experience. Is that the same for you?
Even after years, I have kept intact the relationships I created during the EMBA. I must admit, what attracts me the most are the football events organized by Alumni but these occasions are also excellent to strengthen the network. And then in these cases, I immediately take the opportunity to pass by and greet those professors who have played an important role for me.
Finally, given that I continue to carry out strategic consultancy activities for a national research body in the leather sector, it is important to maintain a strong link with the ecosystem of the Politecnico, for me, it remains a point reference.
Consultant, startupper and hotel manager: how do you reconcile everything?
Thanks to a skill that we learned to develop also during the master: delegate. I admit it’s not easy, but I like to intervene only when necessary. In these cases, I try to make my staff understand where they went wrong, I see the reprimand as a small lesson on how not to repeat the error. The projects, and now I see them happy.
Along with the importance of delegating, are there any other tips that you would give to future entrepreneurs?
To never stop improving. It’s one of the lessons I took home from participating in “4 hotels”. When an error was pointed out to me, I immediately took the opportunity to find the right solution, so knowing how to listen and question oneself, especially being curious about what surrounds you.
Another idea I want to give is to focus on tourism, food & wine and culture. It is a competitive asset that should not be underestimated: we have an invaluable asset and we should exploit it.
I hope it will soon become a dominant sector.