For Luisa, it was the garden that captured her heart and proved to be love at first sight! When she first found the property in the up-market neighbourhood of Caprera-Trieste in Rome, the expansive and gorgeous outdoor space came with a sizeable (and expensive) villa built in 1907. Rather than dividing it up into rentable apartments, Luisa decided to turn her new home into an 12 bedroomed hotel. Designing and setting up her own boutique hotel business from scratch provided a great opportunity to combine her passions for travel and hospitality – Luisa has travelled extensively throughout her career in the oil industry.
The Palm Gallery Hotel, which celebrates its 10th birthday at the end of the year, is visited throughout the year by international guests who enjoy the property’s location which is out-with the more touristy areas of the city.
Luisa is adamant that the key to her hotel’s success is that “our staff are taught to consider every detail from the guest’s point of view and to pay attention to the smallest but sometimes the most important details.” Case in point; the hotel provides UK, European and US electrical travel sockets in all of the bedrooms plus Swiss and Australian sockets in the communal areas.
Luisa found freetobook back in 2014 and after much research chose us as her online booking engine because it was “so fresh and new and so very easy to use”. She now also uses the freetobook channel connections to booking.com, TripAdvisor Instant Booking and TripConnect. On average across the year however, more than half of her bookings are direct (non commissionable) through her own property's website and telephone.
Luisa relies on a great team to help her run the hotel business as she still loves to travel, making regular trips to the US every couple of months to visit her daughter and Carla, new granddaughter. She singles out Nigerian, Daniel and Ahmed from Bangladesh, wonderful staff whom she first met in Rome by chance back in 2007. They have been working with her since she opened up the hotel in 2009 and despite having no previous hospitality experience they have helped Luisa to establish and maintain her high-end hotel business. "They are like my family!" says Luisa.