Compagnia Italiana dei Jolly Hotels S.p.A.
Compagnia Italiana dei Jolly Hotels S.p.A.
Incorporated: 1949 as Compagnia Italiana Alberghi Turistici
Sales: EUR 233.85 million ($320 million) (2004)
Stock Exchanges: Borsa Italiana
Ticker Symbol: JH
NAIC: 721110 Hotels (Except Casino Hotels) and Motels
Compagnia Italiana dei Jolly Hotels S.p.A. is Italy's leading hotel group, operating 48 hotels throughout the country. Although small by international standards—the company's total room count of just less than 7,900 rooms pales in comparison to industry leaders Intercontinental (520,000 rooms) and Accor S.A. (450,000 rooms)—Jolly Hotels nonetheless dominates the heavily fragmented Italian hotel market. Whereas most Italian hotels remain small, family-owned affairs, Jolly Hotels has built a network of hotels covering most of the country. Jolly Hotels divides its offering into two formats, Classic and Master. Jolly Hotels Classic features three- and four-star accommodations furnished in a simple yet comfortable style. The Classic hotels operate exclusively in Italy, and to a primarily domestic clientele, which helps shield the company from the effects of variations in currency and international tourism trends. The company operates 39 Classic hotels, and owns 32 of these properties; the remaining seven are operated under franchise agreements. The ten Jolly Hotels Master hotels provide four-star accommodations to a more upmarket segment, with more elaborate furnishings. The Master format is also the company's international flagship, with hotels in Brussels, Amsterdam, Paris, New York, London, Berlin, and Cologne. Jolly Hotels also operates three domestic Master hotels, in Rome, Milan, and Bologna. Altogether, Italy accounts for more than 72 percent of the group's sales, which topped EUR 223 million ($320 million) in 2004. The rest of Europe adds 22 percent to sales, and the United States represents 5 percent in sales. Jolly Hotels, listed on the Borsa Italiana, remains majority-controlled by the founding Marzotta family, who owns a 50 percent stake. Spain's NH Hoteles acquired a 20 percent stake in the company in 1999.
Industrialist's Lodgings in the 1950s
The Marzotta family counted among Italy's most prominent industrialists in the mid-20th century. The family's industrial background stretched back to 1836, when Luigi Marzotta founded a woolen mill in Valdagno. Under Marzotta's son, Gaetano, the company continued to prosper into the next century, with a new mill opening in Maglio. Yet the family's leap into the ranks of leading Italian industrial families came with the arrival of the next generation, under Gaetano Marzotta, Jr., at the helm of the Valdagno mill in 1921.
Marzotta continued to expand the company throughout the 1920s and into the 1930s, despite the onset of the Depression and the fascist takeover of the Italian government. A major factor in Marzotta's success was the company's ability to take advantage of the difficulties of its international rivals during this period. The company began exporting its woolens and textiles in the 1930s. As a result, Marzotta often found himself on the road, traveling around Italy and internationally as well.
Emerging from World War II (and the company's nationalization by the Mussolini government), Marzotta sought to step up the growth of his business. During this period, Marzotta's travels led him to expand his business interests in a new direction, the hotel market, in large part in order to provide suitable lodging for himself during business trips.
Marzotta founded Compagnia Italiana Alberghi Turistici in 1949, opening his first hotel that year. If his initial purpose was to provide high-quality accommodations for his own business travels, Marzotta quickly recognized the potential for developing a network of luxury-class hotels catering to a growing tourism market. Indeed, the rise of the Italian economy in the postwar era had created an entirely new leisure market; at the same time, Italy became a highly popular international tourist destination.
Marzotta began building up a network of hotels through the 1950s and 1960s, focusing on the country's major cities and tourist centers. The boom in the Italian tourism market in the 1960s encouraged the company to begin reshuffling its hotel portfolio and concentrate its further growth on the medium and large-sized hotel markets.
Following the death of Gaetano Marzotta in 1972, the company continued to refine its strategy upward, selling off its smaller hotels. By the early 1980s, the company had completed its reorientation, with a focus entirely on developing a network of large-scale, upper-market hotels in Italy. At the same time, the company gradually withdrew from the tourism and resort markets to focus its portfolio around the country's main urban markets.
Leading Italian Hotel Group in the New Century
With its new strategy in place, the company, which became known as Compagnia Italiana dei Jolly Hotels S.p.A., began a new series of hotel purchases, starting in the 1980s and continuing into the 1990s. During this period, the group acquired some prominant holdings, such as the Jolly Hotel Milanfiori in Milan, the Jolly Hotel Midas in Rome, the Jolly Hotel Plaza in Genoa, and the Jolly Hotel Cavlieri in Pisa.
In support of its expansion, the company developed two hotel formats. The first, Jolly Hotel Classic, provided three- and four-star accommodations throughout Italy. The second format placed the company into the higher-end four-star luxury market, under the Jolly Hotel Master name. This format targeted especially the major urban markets of Rome, Milan, and Bologna.
The Master format also became Jolly Hotels' flagship as it began an international expansion in the 1990s. The company at first targeted Europe's major cities for expansion, buying up the Hotel Lotti in Paris, then adding Jolly Hotels in Amsterdam and Brussels. The company also entered the United States, buying the Madison Towers in New York City. That purchase was originally meant as the first part of a full-scale entry into the U.S. market. The downturn in the economy at the beginning of the 2000s, however, and the collapse of the tourism market following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, forced the company to reconsider its North American objectives.
By the end of the 1990s, Jolly Hotels had become the clear leader in Italy's heavily fragmented hotel industry. With 31 hotels, including five foreign hotels, Jolly Hotels was also somewhat of an anomaly in Italy, where the majority of hotels remained small, family-owned businesses. The company continued to seek further growth opportunities, aided by the arrival of a new major shareholder, NH Hoteles of Spain, which acquired a 20 percent stake in the company in 1999.
Jolly Hotels stepped up its hotel acquisition program at the beginning of the 2000s. In the year 2000 alone the company acquired Hotel Tiepolo in Vicenza, the Hotel Pontevecchio in Lecco, the Hotel Machiavelli in Milan, the Hotel Marina in Genoa, and the Hotel Villa Carpegna in Rome.
Jolly Hotels also sought out new acquisitions abroad, focusing this effort on the European market. In 2000, the company acquired Hotel MediaPark in Cologne. Then, in 2001, the company entered the United Kingdom for the first time, with the purchase of London's St. Ermin's hotel, in Westminster, for £57 million. The company added another hotel in 2001, the Hotel Igea, in Breschia, Italy. The company also launched a major refurbishing effort throughout its two hotel chains. The Madison Towers, for example, underwent a $30 million renovation that raised its status to that of four-star hotel at the end of 2003.
MISSION: Jolly Hotels constantly aims for Customer satisfaction and focuses particularly on individual customers in the middle/upper bracket of every sector of the hotel and conference markets in Italy and abroad. It offers a constant, distinct and recognisable service both at chain and individual hotel level, through brand diversification too, giving a perception of excellent quality in its chosen market.
- Gaetano Marzotta founds Compagnia Italiana Alberghi Turistici in order to provide accommodations for his business trips.
- The company develops a portfolio of city center and tourist resort locations in Italy, emphasizing medium- and large-scale hotels.
- The company launches a redeployment of its portfolio to focus on large-scale hotel properties.
- The company begins an acquisition program, adding properties throughout Italy.
- The company extends into the international market, with hotels in Brussels, Amsterdam, New York, and Berlin.
- Spain's NH Hoteles acquires a 20 percent stake in the company.
- The company launches a new hotel acquisition drive, adding six hotels, including Hotel MediaPark in Cologne.
- The company acquires the St. Ermin's Hotel, entering the U.K. market.
- A franchise strategy is launched, with Hotel Grande Albergo in Terme.
- The company completes the $30 million renovation of Madison Towers in New York City.
- The company owns and manages 45 hotels, including six franchises.
By 2005, Jolly Hotels operated 45 hotels, including 20 properties directly owned by the company, and another 19 operated under long-term management contracts. Jolly Hotels also had begun developing a limited number of franchised properties in the early 2000s. As part of this effort, the company licensed a new franchise, the Jolly Hotel Grande Albergo, in Terme, in 2002. By 2005, the company's operation included six franchised hotels, primarily in the south of Italy and in Sicily. As Italy's leading hotel operator, Jolly Hotels looked forward to further development of its portfolio, both at home and abroad.
Jolly Hotels Belgio S.A.; Jolly Hotels France S.A.; Jolly Hotels Holland N.V.; Jolly Hotels Italia S.p.A.; Jolly Hotels St. Ermin's B.V.; Jolly Hotels UK Ltd.; Jolly Hotels USA Inc.; Jolly Hotels USA Management Inc.
Loews Corporation; Radisson Hotels and Resorts; Hilton Group PLC; MARITIM Hotelgesellschaft GmbH; Marriott International Inc.; ACCOR S.A.; Sol Meliá S.A.; CIGA S.p.A.; Société du Louvre S.A.; NH Hotels B.V.; De Vere Group; Jarvis Hotels PLC.
Hubbard, Mary Beth, "Jolly Hotels," Business Traveler, May 2004, p. 16.
"Jolly Property Brings a Little Tuscany to New York," Travel Weekly, March 8, 2004, p. 91.
"Jolly Seeks More Business Clients," Travel Trade Gazette UK & Ireland, March 5, 2001, p. 33.
Milligan, Michael, "Jolly Hotel Madison Is Revamped: Chain's Only US Property Gets $30m Face-Lift to Raise It to Four-Star Level," Travel Weekly, December 29, 2003, p. 18.
"Spain's NH Hoteles Takes 19% Stake in Jolly," European Report, June 23, 1999.
—M. L. Cohen