He was a young policeman stationed at Malpensa, but the desire to build something of his own drove him to lease a 3,500 square meter plot of land not far from the airport to be used for passenger parking. And 15 years later, Giuliano Rovelli, 39 years old, is president and CEO of Oasi, a holding company that owns a number of service companies, including ParkinGO which offers parking plus shuttle van service in Italy’s main airports. A 9 million euro per year business that moves more than 700,000 people.
How was the idea born?
Working in an airport, I realized I was not cut out to work for other people and I began to examine potential business opportunities connected with airports. After having analyzed fully the services offered, I decided to start with satellite parking because it seemed the one with the greatest margin for potential growth.
Why, was there a lack of parking?
At that time, at Malpensa, there was only what is today Terminal 2 and during busy periods of the year, despite the fact that there were parking lots before mine, lines of traffic, even several kilometers long, would back up at the airport entrance.
What was your first move?
I found a 3,500 sq. meter area near the airport at Cardano al Campo. It was a shed with land easily accessible to potential clients. I didn’t buy it because I didn’t have enough money, so I leased it for 60 million lira per year.
What were the biggest problems you encountered?
The banks were, and still are, unprepared to evaluate and support serious business projects, unless they have reliable guarantees. This was my biggest problem and I am an entrepreneur today thanks exclusively to a private investor.
How many clients could you hold in this area?
About 250. Today we have more than 10,000 parking spots.
How is your business structured today?
My business is divided into two main areas: ParkinGO, which is approximately 60% of total turnover, and Oasi Handling, involved in ground services in airports and ports, assistance to tour operator groups, trip organization, vehicle rental with driver for personalized services and transfer of passengers from airports and ports in buses and vans.
How are working relations with the airport authorities?
The airports do not want agreements, quite the opposite. Instead of seeing us as allies, they think we are competitors to be obstructed and gotten out of the way because, despite the fact they are unable to offer this type of service, they think that passengers should use their parking lots which are just open spaces without any kind of guarantees, for example regarding theft and fire. I think they should worry more about making their core business operate better, and by this I mean reducing the lines at security checks, shortening the amount of time at baggage claim and listening to the needs of airport users by offering cutting-edge services.
Do you have any standing agreements?
We have major partnerships with some multinationals such as Hotelplan, Costa Crociere, Samsonite, Ferrero, Banca Mediolanum, Brembo and L’Oréal, to name just a few. We are not simply a parking service. We are a series of related services that range from wrapping luggage to car valet service (pick-up and delivery of vehicles to clients at the airport arrival lane), car washing and even passenger assistance inside the airport.
Do you also operate abroad?
Not at this time. We operate at the Milan airports of Malpensa and Linate, Fiumicino in Rome, Venice, Turin, Verona and Bergamo.
And in the future?
We will be opening three new centers in 2012—in Bologna and Pisa, and one abroad.