Well, you've decided to emigrate to Italy to fulfill your dream there by starting your own guesthouse. You have chosen your favorite region and now you are looking for a suitable location and a suitable property. Before you start scouring the entire region, I would like to give you something from your own experience.
Before you do anything, make one plan for starting your own guesthouse in Italy!
And I recommend that you include the following in your plan:
- what is your budget
- do you want to buy or rent
- if you are going to buy, do you want a fixer-upper or a ready-made house
- what kind of guesthouse do you want (see an article about this which I wrote earlier)
- who is your ideal customer
- are you looking for your ideal guesthouse near a city, village or in nature?
- if you have children, please inquire about school options nearby
- do you want to live in the same building as your future guests, or should there be a separate house for you
- what income do you want to generate with your guesthouse
- how much time do you take to reach that income
- how many guests do you want to receive in your guesthouse
- what kind of occupation do you want to realize
- do you want to work with staff or do you want to do everything yourself?
- do you have experience in what you want to do or do you still have to learn things
- when are you going to learn italian (if you don't speak it yet)
- can you create your own website for your company or do you have to outsource it?
- how do you want to do your (online) marketing
- finally create a timeline
The plan when we started our guesthouse
When we bought the ruin in 1990, we also had a plan, although that was very brief. We had a budget to buy the ruin and do it ourselves. We would spread that over several years, but there was no pressure. Neither of us spoke Italian, so I immediately registered with Dante Alighieri in Amsterdam to learn it. For the time that we did not speak it yet, we could fall back on our former colleague from whom we had bought the ruin. She also arranged that the dirt road was built by the municipality, we could request electricity and the building materials were available when we came to work.
As soon as an apartment was ready, we wanted to rent it out immediately, so that we again generated income to pay for the restoration. We let the speed of the restoration run parallel to what we could have obtained in mortgage and what we could set aside from our salaries.
We had thought that we would make our emigration dependent on, firstly, whether Nico's children stood on their own two feet and secondly, whether we could achieve sufficient rental.
At that time it was a lot easier to start a guesthouse. We were one of the first in the area with our former colleague. There was almost no competition and with an advertisement in the newspaper we could get enough occupancy.
That is really very different now. As a guesthouse owner, you really have to be at home in all markets. In 1999, when I really emigrated to Italy, I couldn't imagine what I am doing in marketing. At that time it was enough to have social skills, to be handy so that you could do all kinds of chores yourself and have the will to roll up your sleeves, because of course we did the cleaning and the garden ourselves.