AHL Insider:

Andrea Franchini

Director of Events and Brand Development, Hotel Americano

  • WHAT DO YOU DO AND HOW DID YOU GET HERE?

    I'm the Director of Events and Brand Development at Hotel Americano. I have been founding and running my own businesses since I was very young. After I sold my stake in a previous venture, I decided to change direction and work for a hospitality group. I felt like this was the right environment to excel and learn more. The combination of learning by doing and learning by others results in a faster growth.

  • WAS HOSPITALITY SOMETHING YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO DO? WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU WERE GROWING UP?

    Not really! I majored in business management and marketing at university and in 2007 founded a marketing and advertising company with two other classmates. In 2010 I ventured into the restaurant industry. I finally began working in hospitality when I started my current position in 2013. I knew I needed to reinvent myself every so often because I need new challenges. I get easily bored of consuetudes so I need to get involved in new projects and always develop new business avenues. I'm lucky to work in this industry. This is one of the few industries that allows you to engage on a daily basis with beautiful minds working in art, fashion, design, media and real estate.

  • WHAT’S THE BIGGEST CHANGE YOU'VE SEEN IN THE INDUSTRY OVER THE PAST FIVE TO TEN YEARS?

    The technology component. In the beginning, we made reservations by phone. Then we started taking them over email and now we use an application downloaded on your mobile. Internet has also changed the rules in the hospitality industry. The power of social media is a big game changer, especially in New York.

  • WHO OR WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST INSPIRATION IN THE INDUSTRY TODAY?

    I have more than one inspiration. I would say Ian Schrager because of his lobby socializing concept, Danny Meyer because of his enlightened hospitality mission and Carlos Couturier and Moises Micha because of their vision. When Hotel Americano opened in West Chelsea it wasn't the safest area. Nowadays the most famous galleries, fashion brands, and creative agencies have their headquarters here. Zaha Hadid just designed her first building in New York right across the street from the hotel and a few blocks up Related is developing the massive Hudson Yards project. In 2011 Hotel Americano was the far edge of West Chelsea, in 2015 it will be in the middle of a new upscale, gentrified neighborhood.

  • IF YOU HAD THE DAY OFF TODAY, WHERE WOULD YOU BE?

    On my rooftop reading Artforum or Surface Magazine with my iPad opened on AHL's homepage, ideally getting a tan. Or, checking out new gallery openings...

  • DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE HOTEL IN THE WORLD?

    Like movies, I believe you can't have just one favorite. I love Bulgari Hotel in Milan, the London Edition, Hotel Costes in Paris, Masseria San Domenico in Puglia, Gramercy Park and The Mercer in New York, resorts like The Majhili in Lamu or Lion in The Sun in Malindi (Kenya). The hotels that have a sentimental feeling for me are Cala di Volpe in Porto Cervo (Sardinia), Quisisana in Capri and Il Pellicano in Porto Ercole. I grew up spending my summers in those destinations and all of them are magical places to me.

  • DO YOU HAVE A CAREER ANECDOTE YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE?

    Recently we ran The Armory Show's VIP Lounge; a fully operating restaurant, to go counter and champagne bar. Two days before the opening there was nothing - no water lines or even flooring at Pier 92. One hour before the VIP and press preview, we were still assembling the kitchen and setting up the lounge. I still don't know how we were able to turn a raw space into a successful, temporary establishment.

  • WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE MINI BAR ITEM?

    It's very rare I like something in the mini bar, actually. I think we should rethink this amenity. I'd rather order room service. Overall, I just prefer to order something at the lobby bar and experience the hotel.

  • IF YOU COULD HOST A PARTY FOR ANYONE, DEAD OR ALIVE, WHO WOULD IT BE
    AND WHY?

    Am I allowed to dream? Well, if I could use a time machine, I would travel back to the 70s and host a party, closing off "La Piazzetta" in Capri. I would invite friends from all over the world including Brigitte Bardot, Guntr Sachs, Jackie O' and Gianni Agnelli, of course.

  • WHAT'S THE NEXT BIG IDEA IN HOSPITALITY, WHAT ARE WE MISSING?

    Change the mini bar experience! I'm joking… I believe the culture component will become a necessity soon. There are already a lot of hotels working hard and planning very interesting cultural programs. Lobbies have been re-designed as a place to socialize. Now it's time to add cultural content and entertain our guests.

  • WHAT WILL YOU BE DOING 10 YEARS FROM NOW?

    You know where you start, you don't know where you end...