Forte Village is located on the southern coast of Sardinia, Italy, and recently played host to the World Travel Awards European Gala Ceremony 2015.
At the time of the awards Phil Blizzard met up with Lorenzo for an interview and in that conversation asked him what it meant for him and his team to the host the event.
Lorenzo Giannuzzi: It’s a very special, very prestigious; we are very honoured that our resort was chosen for such important event.
It’s a great opportunity to show the resort in its best light because we just come up from a major renovation this year.
Phil Blizzard: Now, you’re able to showcase resort to key people from all sectors of the travel and tourism industry across Europe, aviation, hotels, to operators a whole lot. So it’s an important opportunity?
LG: It’s a very important opportunity because Sardinia, unfortunately, does not yet get the exposure that it deserves.
It’s a very incredible island.
I mean, it has climate that is mild and it can be all year around open and just for tourists.
Fantastic facilities of golf, it has the best beach and the best sea probably in the world.
But the visibility is not there so I think this is a great opportunity.
PB: Opportunity for greater exposure. And talking of the island, I drove across the island because I flew into all the way up in the north so I saw a fair bit on the drive down and we had a wonderful tour around the capital city this morning. So we’ve seen a certain amount.
LG: You are now in what I consider the best part of Sardinia which is the south-west, which is where the best beaches are located and not just because Forte Village is here but the old surroundings are really incredibly beautiful.
PB: Forte Village is very much a family resort but you have a lot of MICE events which we’ll talk about a bit later on - but in terms of the family activities what are you key source markets?
LG: Well, our source market basically are European, majority is European and we have some Middle East.
Italian, of course, is also good part of our business.
It’s not necessarily true that it is only family because the resort is so widespread that we also have a very good component of couples because as you go around the resort, you see that there are so many opportunities for everybody just to find possibility to do what they want.
There is the spa; there is incredible selection of gourmet restaurants.
You have 21 restaurants to choose from.
PB: I know, I was going to say. Most resorts will have one hotel. You haven’t got one, you haven’t got two, you’ve got more, you’ve got more than five or six. How any have you got in total?
LG: We got eight hotels. We also got, as I said, 21 restaurants, we have also got the Sport Academy.
PB: In terms of the restaurants, you’ve got international names. You got Italian chefs with their signature restaurants; you got Gordon Ramsay from UK?
LG: We have a lot of visiting chefs, some of the most famous French chef, American, European, they come and cook for our guests.
PB: One highly visible aspect is the Sporting Academy with Chelsea FC, their summer school. I mean, that’s an impressive set up. Basketball is there and also my favourite sport, cycle racing.
LG: Yes, cycle racing with some of the big star, Mario Cipollini which is a very famous Italian athlete comes here often to do his bike academy.
Also boxing and next year we’ll do also fencing.
So we really want to create all the activity with the best names, the most reputable from Pat Cash for tennis to the coach of Italian soccer team.
PB: And this is valuable for people, families and I suppose professionals, who want out of season fitness and training sessions as well.
LG: Exactly, because also in our spa which is another excellence we offer, we also have a section now where we do fitness and training with specialized coaches and also you can better your physical condition.
PB: Very exciting. So when it comes to MICE events, I saw an impressive fleet of Maserati cars by the front entrance. What is the range of events you host for the MICE sector?
LG: This varies from say a top board of director meeting with just ten people to a product launch with 10,000 people coming here.
Often we have events with 1,000 people every day for a month.
PB: That’s big business, so what percentage of your revenue would you say comes from MICE events and activities?
LG: From MICE, 25 per cent and what is very good also that they allow us to open off season because as I was mentioning in the beginning, one of the best kept secrets of Sardinia is the climate.
Because the climate is absolutely no equal in Europe, there is no area as mild as climate as here.
PB: So your main season begins at Easter, which is variable in April, through to which month?
LG: Well, we close the resort at the mid of November. And we open in March. But the main season is from June, July, August and half of September.
PB: Okay. You’ve told us about the number of the hotels - how many keys, how many rooms have you got then?
LG: Well, in total we have 745 rooms which means that the resort can host 1,500 clients.
The staff is 1,200 staff and so we have another hotel for them because most of our staff living in.
PB: You need a bike to get around because it’s so big and it’s like a small village.
I’m not really talking to the general manager; I’m talking to the mayor of the village here.
LG: We have very strict rules as we really try to create a condition for everybody to enjoy the resort at its best.
But obviously there is a lot of things happening here, the sort of night entertainment, shopping. So it’s as you say, like a small city.
PB: You even have a small town square with the shops and entertainment. So, mayor - I mean, general manager, thanks very much for talking to us.
LG: It’s a great pleasure. Thank you.
Forte Village has been recognised as the World’s Leading Resort by the World Travel Awards since 1998.
Take a look here for more information.