Cool, losses of three million euros. Stefano Cigarini: “But everything is foreseen”

Stefano Cigarini, director of Fico
Stefano Cigarini, director of Fico

Cigarini, what is the state of health of the Park after this first year? Many think it’s not good.
normal. Partially unfinished fig, yet to be completed. We are an innovative park that does not exist in the world and the desired format arrives by “trial of errors”. how to have the ingredients and be in search of the recipe. A process that doesn’t bother me.

But are you satisfied?
The large industrial project, with solid roots, resistant to criticism: we had empty days and others full. Understandable skepticism: we will have other negative balances, it takes time. Shareholders go forward with awareness.

The correct imprinted direction. We have some positive and some negative indicators. The volume of visitors low compared to expectations, but not compared to the size of the market and of Bologna. We travel between 5.5 and 12 thousand visitors a week. Multimedia experiences and rides are appreciated, minus show factories where there will be changes. In any case, 35% take the 40-minute guided tour.

How much has the Covid tail affected?
Burned February and March, then well, now in summer it slows down, but from September to November we are overbooked.

Distributed visitors how?
A quarter from the province of Bologna, more than half from the rest of Italy, 12% from abroad. Few foreigners, Russians and Asians disappeared, but the period must be considered. The new thing is that with online sales (60%), we have less costs and about 100 thousand profiles of which we know the purchases so that we can create business relationships.

And what about the tour operator packages you were focusing on a lot?
So so. We have closed an agreement with Boscolo Tour: they will use Fico as a hub for bus travel, for three years with a fleet of 600 buses. Then there are the schools. After Covid, in a month we sold 6,000 tickets, then they closed. We’re aiming for 40,000 tickets. On the other hand, 2,000 children attend summer camps with us.

First year, he said, in red.
Yes, but it was expected. On a turnover of about 12 million, almost three of losses. The big rent takes us into negative territory. The macro plan expects to raise cash in 2023: lower revenues and costs. We need to optimize a number of items. Already now we are open for four days and on Sundays we close at 6 pm. The savings made of 4 million.

Did the new paid entry work?
We have lost the occasional buyers, but we have gone from 15 euros of average expenditure to 35 euros considering the 10 euros of ticket. The average stop went from 2 to 5 hours. I was hoping that the 29 euro subscriptions would go better: I thought 10 thousand, it was 4 thousand. Other subscriptions are a little better. There is a psychological barrier to overcome. In summary, however, with a fifth of the public, but for a fee, we are better performing even if it may not seem like it: the model supports us.

Will you review the internal offers? There have been several defections.
Those who left have been replaced. There are 13 restaurants, 13 street food, in all 60 intermediate operators. We lack categories such as sweets and then organic and gluten free. The Future Institute will arrive and research the food to come.

Further strategic moves?
We will expand the congress offer with two new rooms to be built. Congresses are a very positive voice. Camst will no longer manage the catering service that we are now reassigning with another formula: gourmet with card in the space of a new internal manager. There will be a phase two of restyling, we will expand marketing and digital. Finally, we have closed a strategic agreement with the Fair which is committed to doing 8/10 events a year for 3 years. Consumer fairs, everyday objects, model making, antiques, in short, fairs / markets to be set up in our spaces by intersecting them with the stands.

And at what point is the sale of the format abroad?
We have important signals from foreign companies, several potential partners to open in the world, where we will combine our food with the local and international one. In order to reach full capacity in Italy, we need a winning business model.

All while waiting for the temporary stadium of Bologna.
Of course, very important to us. We have already closed the agreement with the BFC, the stadium will be called Fico Arena, we just have to wait.

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August 2, 2022 (change August 2, 2022 | 16:19)


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Cool, losses of three million euros. Stefano Cigarini: “But everything is foreseen”

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