Diego Novarino is the General Manager at Hotel VIU in Milan, one of the top five-star hotels in the city. We had a talk and we got to know something more about him and his work!


Diego Novarino has been working for 34 years in the hotel sector, but only five years ago has started his adventure with Hotel VIU, based in Milan. He is the General Manager at this hotel located in a strategic position in Milan. Near Gae Aulenti Square, China Town, Monumental cemetry and Sempione Park, the hotel attracts a lot of people during every period of the year.

Hotel VIU was born in Milan 5 years ago as a bet. But elegance, luxury and kindness always win and are the basis of the success of this structure.

For these reasons, the hotel has been increasingly chosen as accommodation in Milan because quality is always a strong point. Even famous people are still selecting Hotel VIU for their staying in Milan. In this last complicated year for the hotel sector, the hotel wanted to react promptly, trying to remain as open as possible and continuing to be a guarantee of stability for its guests.

We had the pleasure of meeting Diego who is the General Manager at this wonderful hotel. A very demanding job that requires a lot of responsibilities.

5 years ago Diego Novarino accepted this challenge. Read our interview to find out more about all the work and commitment behind such a high quality structure!


QUESTIONS FOR DIEGO NOVARINO

  1. Good morning Diego, thank you for your time. Would you like to introduce yourself and tell us a little about your work?
  2. Your adventure with Hotel VIU began five years ago: how has your life changed in recent years?
  3. From the outside, it is difficult to understand how much work there is behind the management of such a structure: could you provide us with an overview of all the activities you deal with?
  4. To be classified as a five-star hotel, there are very high standards to be achieved and then maintained: how much effort does it require to always live up to this expectation?
  5. What are the most important aspects that contribute to the success of a hotel of this level?
  6. How important do you think it is to have included a starred restaurant in the structure?
  7. The terrace of your hotel from which you can admire all of Milan is magnificent: how do you think this could be a strong point for choosing VIU hotels as accommodation?
  8. The hotel has a very sophisticated design which is certainly a plus of the structure: how do you get such a balanced combination of styles and what does this want to convey?
  9. Your guests are often famous people, such as Federica Pellegrini, Emma Marrone and others: what do you think are the reasons why they continue to choose you? And how do you manage customer loyalty?
  10. Have you undertaken collaborations or co-marketing activities with other luxury companies with Hotel VIU? And with the world of fashion?
  11. Do you think that Made in Italy has a value also in the hotel sector? Is there any element that distinguishes us in this area from other countries?
  12. How do you think the luxury hotel world will evolve after the health emergency?
  13. You have always worked in the hotel industry. What are the lessons you have gained from your experience?

#1. Good morning Diego, thank you for your time. Would you like to introduce yourself and tell us a little about your work?

My name is Diego Novarino, I am 53 years old and I have been working in the hotel sector for 34 years now, since 2003 with the role of General Manager. Mine is one of the most beautiful jobs in the world because it combines specific technical skills with aspects of public relations with customers that allow me to live a full and quality professional life.

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#2. Your adventure with Hotel VIU began five years ago: how has your life changed in recent years?

I decided to accept the challenge of opening a new five-star hotel in an expanding area of ​​Milan, after 23 splendid years in one of the leading Italian hotel group. From a professional point of view it was a very intense commitment. The main differences compared to before are due to the fact that this hotel, typically lifestyle, has a much more leisure connotation, with a rooftop with swimming pool, and a starred chef.

All these characteristics mean that the time commitment to be dedicated to the structure is much wider, especially towards the evening hours. I had the opportunity to relate to different environments, compared to what I did before: part of the world of music, entertainment, cinema.

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The external view of Hotel VIU

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#3. From the outside, it is difficult to understand how much work there is behind the management of such a structure: could you provide us with an overview of all the activities you deal with?

As I said before, the activities are manifold. We have budgeting and planning activities, operational management of the structure and public relations with customers and institutions. The part relating to the management of human resources, extremely important for those who offer a service to the public, in order to always have motivated people.

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The lobby of the Hotel

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#4. To be classified as a five-star hotel, there are very high standards to be achieved and then maintained: how much effort does it require to always live up to this expectation?

Initially the characteristics for obtaining the five stars are mainly of a structural nature (room sizes and spaces), and related to the services offered to customers. When you enter the business, however, it is absolutely necessary to respect the parameters dictated by the market in terms of quality of service and standards. In the five-star segment, the standards are obviously very high, and our dear customers do not make concessions when they choose a structure like ours.

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The VIU Suite

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#5. What are the most important aspects that contribute to the success of a hotel of this level?

The factors are different, I think the main one is the “consistency”. We must never lower the level and, above all, there must be precise standards that involve all employees. The customer expects to always find the same high level when he returns. Obviously, then there is everything related to the correct marketing and positioning of the structure on all the main communication channels.

talk with diego novarino general manager hotel viu bathroom

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#6. How important do you think it is to have included a starred restaurant in the structure?

This is essential to what we had in mind when we started working on the project. Nowadays, the hotel industry is no longer just a hotel service, but an “experience”. Having a high-level cuisine means making an important contribution to guaranteeing the guest a multisensory experience. In my opinion, this cannot be ignored in the five-star segment.

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Chef Morelli Table

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#7. The terrace of your hotel from which you can admire all of Milan is magnificent: how do you think this could be a strong point for choosing VIU hotels as accommodation?

Over time, any outdoor space has become a winner, and the terraces are sought after by all mixes of customers, both for events and for individual aperitifs. We see it every day: from business customers who work comfortably seated on the armchairs on the terrace, to leisure customers who choose us precisely because we have an outdoor swimming pool.

Precisely for this reason, our breakfast service which takes place on the terrace has a very long opening time, until 12.00 We were the first in Milan to create an environment of this kind and we are very proud of it.

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Terrace and pool

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#8. The hotel has a very sophisticated design which is certainly a plus of the structure: how do you get such a balanced combination of styles and what does this want to convey?

First of all, we wanted to give a strong connotation of Italian style. Starting from this, we relied on Ara Associati as an architects studio and Studio Gallizia for design, using a primary company such as Molteni for furniture as the main contractor. We had our ideas and our point of arrival, then we left the proposals to the professionals, which we endorsed. We believe that design is absolutely important for a hotel. The guest must experience a continuity of styles and colors that best represent our feeling.

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Executive suite

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#9. Your guests are often famous people, such as Federica Pellegrini, Emma Marrone and others: what do you think are the reasons why they continue to choose you? And how do you manage customer loyalty?

We have a very “friendly” style with our customers. I call it “simplified luxury”: this allows us to guarantee excellent levels of service, but always with a touch of familiarity that, we realize, people really like. Our customer loyalty starts from the concept of attention to the smallest details on all guests’ requests, not just the famous ones, and then we demonstrate that customer’s preferences are remembered and, as far as possible, satisfied.

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#10. Have you undertaken collaborations or co-marketing activities with other luxury companies with Hotel VIU? And with the world of fashion?

We collaborated a lot with Molteni, as far as fashion brands are concerned it is a bit more complicated. Having all the main companies in the sector as customers, it would be difficult to have a preferential relationship with only some of them.

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#11. Do you think that Made in Italy has a value also in the hotel sector? Is there any element that distinguishes us in this area from other countries?

As I said before, we have almost exclusively put Italian products in our hotel. Made in Italy is undoubtedly a distinctive trait from a design point of view, as in all other sectors (we have very few rivals in this one). However, the culinary Made in Italy is also very important, and we have Giancarlo Morelli who best represents the Italian spirit in this, and the Made in Italy from the point of view of service. In my opinion, Italians have few equals when it comes to the concept of hospitality.

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The staff of Hotel VIU

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#12. How do you think the luxury hotel world will evolve after the health emergency?

I believe that the luxury segment will be the first to restart in terms of numbers as soon as the health emergency is over. I see a desire of our customers to return to normal as soon as possible. I believe that some habits related to sanitation procedures and protocols will remain, but I also want to say clearly that, even before Covid, the cleaning standards of Italian five-star hotels have always been so high as to guarantee the safety of all our guests.

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#13. You have always worked in the hotel industry. What are the lessons you have learned from your experience?

The main lesson I have learned, working with people, be they clients or collaborators, is to always use the yardstick of frankness. Transparency, sincerity and honesty of purpose always pay off, even in the most complicated moments.

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We want to thank Diego Novarino for his kindness and for letting us discover the behind the scenes of this world!

To stay updated on Hotel VIU, here are some useful links:

P.S. Hotel VIU was also the location Fratelli Borgioli chose for our latest photo shoot!