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Il Mondo



Ferragamo rents other peoples houses.

100 deals in as many capital cities worldwide with specialized operators. The opening statement of Rentxpress, an internet company that also takes advantage of social networks and bloggers to rent apartments to tourists and businesses alike. The Windows on Europe Group, founded in 2007 by Leonardo Ferragamo and Pietro Martani, are the first to experiment this kind of formula in Italy. They registered a growing turnover of 12 million euros in 2010 and expect to increase that to 15 million euros by the end of 2011. When they first met, Ferragamo (son of Salvatore, patron of the famous fashion brand) and Martani both had experience in the housing market and shared the idea that the worldwide web was the perfect setting to unite home owners with properties to rent and those looking for temporary accommodation. With this in mind, Windows on Europe initially concentrated its activities on the management and rental of apartments through Halldis, another firm in the Group. This company has a property portfolio of 1.200 residences and serves between 15 and 20 thousand clients a year (70% foreign and 30% Italian). Today the Group faces a new challenge, that of repositioning the brand Rentxpress (which up to now has operated only in France and Italy) on a global scale. “It all started with one figure”, explains Martani, Managing Director of Windows on Europe: “between 2001 and 2010 the market for holiday homes has doubled in the US and the growth trend is expected to continue. The ongoing economic crisis means that more and more holidaymakers are choosing to stay in apartments rather than hotels”. Rentxpress has chosen to launch its activities in one hundred locations, both cities and popular tourist destinations such as New York, Helsinki, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur. They have formed partnerships with professional operators who manage houses, residences and BBs. “We have created a worldwide network of residences to rent to the Italian public using a sophisticatedly structured internet platform that includes the use of Facebook and Twitter as well as telephone assistance during each phase of the booking process” concludes Martani. And the prices? One night in London costs 136 euros in a one room flat, 158 euros in a two room flat and 249 euros in a three room flat. In Barcelona a two room flat costs 240 euros for three nights and 550 euros for a week. In New York a deluxe suite for two people costs 210 euros a night whilst a luxury three room apartments costs 352 euros a night. In Phuket a one room flat costs 81 euros a night and a three room flat 211 euros.

By Mariarosaria Marchesano

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