211: Beyond the Booking: A Record Year in Hospitality with Insights from an Industry Titan with Antonio Ducceschi

The Business of Meetings – Episode 211 – Beyond the Booking: A Record Year in Hospitality with Insights from an Industry Titan with Antonio Ducceschi

We are delighted to have Antonio Ducceschi, the Chief Commercial Officer of the Starhotels Group, joining us on the show today.

With his extensive experience in the hospitality industry and visionary approach to leadership, Antonio sheds light on the current state of the hotel industry and on what is happening within the meetings and events industry. He also shares his career journey and provides valuable insights on how businesses in the industry can effectively prepare for the foreseeable future.

Stay tuned for today’s captivating conversation with Antonio Ducceschi.

Antonio’s Journey

Antonio’s career in the hospitality industry began unexpectedly. He initially intended to pursue a career in telecommunications but found himself drawn to the hotel business during a visit to a hotel school. Despite his father’s initial reservations, Antonio embarked on this new path, starting as a trainee during summers. Despite feeling hesitant initially, he soon discovered a passion for hospitality and was fueled by supportive colleagues and mentors who inspired him to excel in the challenging yet rewarding environment.

Impact of Training and Experience on Career Growth

Reflecting on his early experiences as a trainee, Antonio emphasizes the importance of service-oriented attitudes in the hospitality industry. He highlights the value of internships and trainee programs in shaping a career path, fostering connections with diverse colleagues and clients, and nurturing a passion for the job despite its challenges.

Multilingualism and International Experience

Antonio has worked in seven different countries and speaks three languages fluently. His language proficiency has worked to his advantage within the global industry, and he enjoyed the cultural enrichment he gained from interacting with people from diverse backgrounds and perspectives.

Industry Trends and Business Challenges

Looking at the hotel industry post-pandemic, Antonio noticed some unexpected business booms and challenges, including resource shortages and rising expectations in service delivery. He believes there is a need for innovative approaches to revenue generation and adapting to changing market demands while maintaining service quality.

Revival of Travel and Meetings

Reflecting on the resurgence of travel post-pandemic, Antonio has seen a trend of revenge travel and an increasing demand for in-person meetings. He discusses market variations across different regions, emphasizing the importance of adapting to new travel behaviors and catering to evolving customer preferences.

Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility

Antonio touches on the growing importance of sustainability and corporate social responsibility in the industry, noting increased scrutiny from customers and companies regarding environmental practices and community contributions. He emphasizes the need for credible metrics to measure sustainability efforts effectively.

Talent Management and Career Development

Addressing the challenges of talent retention and development in a competitive industry, Antonio highlights the importance of recruiting staff based on attitude and providing horizontal career paths to keep employees engaged and motivated. He discusses various strategies for adapting to turnover rates and fostering loyalty among team members.

Technology Integration and Efficiency

Antonio views technology as an enabler rather than a threat and advocates for its strategic use to streamline operations, enhance customer experiences, and empower employees to focus on value-added tasks. He believes a need exists for industry-wide adoption of technology to improve efficiency and competitiveness.

Future Considerations for Business Owners

Antonio advises business owners in the hospitality industry to embrace technology for operational efficiency, manage rising costs effectively, and prioritize employee training and development to meet evolving customer expectations and market dynamics. He emphasizes the importance of proactive planning and adaptation to thrive in a rapidly changing industry landscape.


Antonio believes that volunteering is essential for several reasons. It is a way to give back and fulfill duties, especially for those in senior positions who have benefited from mentorship and support. Volunteering also allows one to reciprocate received help and contribute to the growth and development of the industry. It also provides opportunities to stay updated, connected, and passionate about work. Volunteering, whether through organizations like MPI or others, fosters networking, removes barriers, and creates meaningful connections among colleagues.

Importance of Having Fun 

Despite the challenges and stressful moments in the industry, Antonio feels it is crucial to find enjoyment and have fun. Sharing stories and experiences highlights the work-hard-play-hard culture prevalent in his business.

Positive Outlook and Appreciation

Maintaining a positive outlook, appreciating successes, and acknowledging the efforts of clients and colleagues are the keys to navigating the ups and downs of business. Embracing the positive stress and focusing on the satisfaction of delivering exceptional service contribute to job satisfaction and overall well-being in a challenging but rewarding field.

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Eric Rozenberg