The Casa La Rocca holiday accommodation business is well established and we try to improve things every year. It’s one of the pleasures of looking after the place and there is no reason for this to stop!
Here are some ideas of how the business could be developed:
- Winter season
We often receive enquiries about availability later in the year, especially at Christmas, New Year, Easter and in the ski season (January, February and March). There is considerable potential to increase the rental income from the apartment in this way. Casa La Rocca is a half hour drive to Roccaraso, the main ski resort in the Apennines.
- Swimming pool
There is room for a pool to be built. This would increase the appeal, particularly to families with children.
- Cycle holiday market
We have marketed Casa La Rocca at outdoor lovers and walkers in particular. But Abruzzo is wonderful cycling country too – road and mountain biking. There are many mountain passes to be sweated up and off-road trails to bounce along as well as gentle valley rides, stopping for lunch in a village trattoria. There is a cycle path to Pettorano and twice in the last 8 years, the Giro d’Italia has passed through the valley.
- Bike hire
It would be a good investment to buy some bikes that can be hired to guests. We are often asked if we have any. We have our own which we sometimes lend out but this provision could be done better and more profitably. There are route cards to be developed too.
- Packaged walking holidays
We are always giving guests advice on where to walk, the weather and trail conditions and loaning maps and bits of equipment. Sometimes we give people lifts to trail heads and pick them up. There is an untapped demand for a packaging of these services and others (like route notes to supplement the guidebook, hiking accommodation and restaurant booking). We have done this to an extent; there is a lot more that could be done.
- Sulmona Valley Walking Routes
We are currently developing an online repository of detailed walking route descriptions in the Sulmona Valley area for people to buy and download. We would consider passing ownership of this venture onto the new owners of Casa La Rocca.
- Bed & Breakfast
The two ensuite bedrooms in the main house would make ideal bed and breakfast accommodation, with breakfast served on the front terrace or the dining room. We have occasionally done this on request and it works well. It can be a service for apartment guests who wish to arrive or leave a day or two before or after the apartment is available. An average B&B room in the area costs €65.
- More outdoor furniture and extended garden planting
The area behind the apartment could be developed with extended planting beyond the fir and walnut trees. Additional garden furniture could be provided with a soft seating beneath the terrace roof.
- Casa La Rocca produce
We always welcome guests with a bottle of the house produced Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. We sometimes give additional bottles too. There is scope for introducing a Casa La Rocca brand (labels based on the logo) and charging for additional bottles. Other produce such as chutneys and jams could be offered too. And the produce of valley farmers, such as garlic and olive oil, could be added.