The Albergo Diffuso (scattered hotel) is a new and innovative form of accommodation enhancing the hospitality in historical towns or rural centers.
The Molise landscape offer the opportunity to immerse completely in the nature and in agricultural context, having few urban centers and many villages.
The good practice of the Albergo Diffuso falls perfectly in the Molise context where there are few urban centers with large hotels and there are many rural centers with abandoned houses that can be converted into hostels and B & B to accommodate tourists without alter the rural environment. Uninhabited small historical and rural centers have been recovered and used for touristic accommodation with important positive economic impact on local communities.
In Italy the’National Association ’Scattered Hotel’ (http://www.alberghidiffusi.it) proposes a non-conventional approach to touristic marketing and the association's mission is to promote and support the development of hotels in Italy. However, not all the structures of the Molise region are partners of the ’National Association Scattered Hotel’ but they pursue the same initiatives and objectives of sustainable tourism of the territory without the association's brand.
In the city of Termoli, this method was used to recover the historical center; the houses were too old and small to live there and the renovations too expensive for the families, for which the houses were bought by a single owner who financed the renovation while maintaining the architecture and opened an elegant ’Scattered Hotel’ in many locations in the historic center called "Swabian residence".
"Albergo Diffuso" are very often family businesses where it is not possible to divide the properties; at the end of the month the income is divided among the families. Local operators carry out free training courses with the collaboration of Confcommercio Molise of 6/8 hours with various themes.
Evidence of success
Thanks to "Albergo Diffuso" practice, uninhabited small historical and rural centers have been recovered and used for touristic accommodation. The practice has been appreciated by Termoli municipality residents and other economic operators of the historical center because it lowered the level of theft and vandalism and because the center is always clean and renovated throughout the year, even in winter (results of the survey 86% agree, 8% do not agree, 6% do not know).
The main difficulties encountered:
- the redevelopment of housing structures to make them suitable for hospitality, in compliance with current regulations;
- with reference to engage local population, try to overcome the initial distrust of the inhabitants to make them available to welcome tourist
Potential for learning or transfer
This enhancement action can reverse the phenomena of depopulation of villages. First of all it is important to do a marketing survey to evaluate the area where to structure the "Albergo diffuso" or a study of the territory to see the problems that you want to solve with the good practice.
To transfer the good practice it is necessary to make a census of the buildings that you intend to convert and to know if they are public or private. Then it is necessary to estimate the costs necessary for the restructuring and to see who covers the costs: private, regional funds, etc. Unfortunately this phase was not made in Molise but we understood its importance for which we are filling the gap.
Create a management model to be applied and evaluated periodically to correct errors: establish who should coordinate (region, association), create a unified portal for information, study a marketing strategy to invite tourists based on the quality of the territory.