Company Project Work | BBS Bologna Business Management – Tourism, Heritage and Events

15 July 2022

On the 30th of June, in the Villa Guastavillani venue of the Bologna Business School, a meeting was held between the students of the University Master’s Business Management, Tourism, Heritage and Events track and Airbnb, a key player in the tourism industry.

At the meeting, the class presented their results from the work assigned by Airbnb as part of the Company Project Work, an activity that Professor Angelo Manaresi, Scientific Director of the Master course, and Professor Barbara Lorenzini, marketing expert and lecturer in the Master course, designed and added to the classroom courses. Three real cases, lasting four weeks each, between the months of May, June, and July, were proposed by prestigious companies, inviting the students to work as if they were in a company to test their skills in the field. A true immersion in the world of business for participants, who are guided by company executives and lecturers on a path of individual growth aimed to develop skills often ignored in higher education courses, such as public speaking, strategy formulation, and presentation of one’s own results. Alongside, there is the opportunity to come into direct contact with companies that could become partners or the host of one’s internship.


The challenge proposed by Airbnb was focused on Milan: in order to attack the post-pandemic market, identify proposals to increase the offer of Airbnb Experiences in the city.

The class split into two. The first team, an all-female one, worked on the analysis of data on movements in the city of Milan between 2019 and 2021. The Covid-19 pandemic naturally changed the market, causing a collapse in arrivals: from almost 13 million visits in 2019 to 5 million in 2021. The year 2022, however, began with a real boom: growth of up to over 300% compared to the previous year bodes well for the coming period. From the data on the presence and origin of tourists, the group moved on to analyze the offer of competitors, strategies to acquire contacts, and spending habits according to age, interests, and place of departure. Finally, it presented a strategy to improve Airbnb’s positioning in offering experiences in and around Milan: if for Italian tourists the focus is on entertainment, sports, and affordability, for American travelers the trends concern art, culture, food, and wine. If French and German tourists, who frequently travel to Milan by car, can be offered trips out of the city, away from the classic routes, for young travelers, whatever their place of provenance, the focus should definitely be on the city’s nightlife offer.

The second group focused on researching a strategy to expand the range of experiences for Italian and foreign tourists in the city, identifying the strongest trends of the moment. After analyzing data on the origin and purpose of trips (business, meetings with friends and families, cultural events, and shopping), the team considered projections on the most desired experiences for tourism in the post-Covid era: nature, culture, art, wine, and food experiences. After a study of the main competitors, all focused on art and culture, the proposal was made: leave the most common and mainstream experiences behind, and focus strongly on keywords such as accessibility, outdoor, sustainability, and unexpected. With this in mind, the group identified some top experiences, proposing hypothetical tours divided by category, with a focus on the strongest trends at the moment: the LGBTQ+ community, particular points of view on fashion (the true House of Gucci walking tour), on food & wine (gluten free cooking tour, Birrificio Lambrate experience, Leonardo’s vineyard), on disabilities (Aero Gravity Disability Program and Para-Canoe), sports (sunset rafting) and groups (discover Milan while having fun – a treasure hunt for adults and children). In conclusion, the team suggested a revision of the layout of the web page, the creation of a partnership with other Marketplaces, the differentiation of proposals according to the origin of tourists, and the focus on the ‘Milan unknown hospitality’.

Two brilliant visions were successfully presented and highly appreciated by Valentina Veraldi, Market Manager for Experiences (Italy & South East EU) and Martina Teggi, former Market Manager for Experiences (DACH, CEE & Russia, IT) at Airbnb and today experiential tourism consultant, who shared with the students many of the issues presented by the teams and did not miss out on compliments for the professionalism of the works proposed.

The Master Business Management is a program that combines frontal lectures, Project Work and MGIncontri, extra-lesson appointments with executives from companies who talk about their paths, and former students who present their start-ups. It is an incubator of skills, a path of individual growth that is concrete and directed toward the business world, with the goal widely achieved (placement index over 90% six months after the conclusion of the Master’s course) of finding and following the best path to enter the business one has always dreamed of.



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