Some things were meant to be. Annarita Aprea, the Director of Sales & Marketing for Casa Angelina, a contemporary boutique hotel in the lovely town of Praiano, on the Amalfi Coast, was meant to be in hospitality.
We love everything about this sleek, 37-room retreat, and we love Annarita even more. She's been with the hotel since the beginning, and her passion, dedication and incredibly hard work is evident in its success.
Read on to hear Annarita's story. Then, connect with Fora to plan and book your stay at Casa Angelina today.
How Annarita followed her skills and passion to launch a career she loves
Image courtesy of Casa Angelina
Annarita has always followed her instincts, letting her interests direct her course.
"Since I was a young child and student, I've always been very passionate for languages," Annarita says. "So I've always known that, even when I was not sure where to direct my career, it would involve relationships and communication in foreign languages."
She initially wanted to become an interpreter, a natural career choice for a lover of language. But as she was wrapping up her language studies at university, she started a job at Sorrento Palace, a large hotel in her home town.
"I have to say that it was love at first sight for this type of job," she says. "In fact, I've been doing this for almost 30 years now."
Working in hotels incorporated everything she loved: language, communication, community, challenge. Everything clicked. It felt natural.
"When you find out you can be good at it without much efforts, it's really like a gift," Annarita says. "I think not everyone can do the same thing. That's why I think it's important, sometimes, also with young people, to follow their interests, their skills."
And follow her skills she did. Annarita worked in some of Italy's major cities — Rome, Milan, Florence — as well as in London. Ask anyone who knows her: Annarita works insanely hard.
"I could tell from what I was doing, from the feedback I was having — from my bosses, from people, from the clients — that I was good, that I was doing it right. And I was doing it right," she says. "And I was enjoying it. I think this makes a big difference."
Speaking of following one's passion and skills, read about how Yina Munoz, the founder and owner of ALLabout Travel, crafted her dream job.
Why Annarita chose Casa Angelina as her next career step
Image courtesy of Casa Angelina
After her London sojourn, however, Annarita needed a break.
"In 2009, I came back home because this is the region where I come from, and my idea was really just to charge my batteries and go back again to one of the large cities here in Italy," Annarita says. "And this was when Casa Angelina came on on my career path."
She admired the project's ambition, how it was unique from the other Amalfi Coast hotels. In other words, she was intrigued by the exciting challenge Casa Angelina presented. For one, Casa Angelina is located in Praiano, one of the blissfully under-the-radar towns in the region. As a result, guests here enjoy fewer tourists and a more authentic, local experience. Additionally, Casa Angelina's style stands out from that of the area's other hotels. It's modern and sleek, with chicly minimalist decor that doesn't detract from those five-star views of the Mediterranean.
"It must have also been this beauty that we have around, the beautiful nature and the type of hotel," she says, elaborating on what attracted her to the property. "This was really the first small boutique property that I've worked with."
The people, too, helped convince her to join the team.
"It was really also, I think, the trust and the very ambitious project that I was able to share with the current general manager of the hotel, with whom I'd been working previously," she says. "And there was complete trust from the owners, who were not hoteliers."
She added, "I could tell already, from the first couple of years, that it was meant to be a long journey."
It has been a long — and rewarding — journey indeed. Annarita oversaw all the marketing and sales processes involved in building and operating a hotel: creating brand awareness, building a reputation, delivering on that reputation. (Casa Angelina always more than delivers, by the way.) She loved everything about it.
"Normally, I've never been more than five, six years in a position, as is normal for this type of job," she says. "But with Casa Angelina, it was really the start of a project. It was almost making sure you ticked all the boxes, and therefore it became like when you wear a perfect dress, something that really suits you nicely."
For more stories about stars in the hospitality industry, read about the radiant Wendi Yip, Area Director of Leisure Sales for 1 Hotel West Hollywood and 1 Hotel Hanalei Bay.
How Annarita sets herself up for success by recharging, always learning & constantly evolving
Image courtesy of Casa Angelina
As much a Annarita loves what she does, she admits that she takes on a lot, and has to deliberately take the time to slow down and recharge.
"I don't have a lot of time because I work really hard, but sometimes, even if I just lay down, I try to do little bit of mindfulness," she says. "Whenever I can, I go for a walk. During the day, if I can stop for 10, 15 minutes, I take in all these beautiful views that surround me."
And once a year, she'll do a total, holistic reset, heading somewhere rejuvenating, in Italy, where someone can take care of her.
But the learning aspect of her career always draws her back.
"I'm always very curious. I like to continue to learn. In my job over the years, there's been a lot of evolution," she says. "I've never stopped feeling the need to learn more, to understand more areas."
Over the years, she's adapted to digital marketing, new sales techniques — things that didn't exist when she first started out.
"At the end of the day, we all know if there is something that we like and that we are specifically good at. And for me, I've been very lucky. For this area, it's definitely very lucky because it was the first job I did. This was the first proper job when I was very young, and it proved to be the right one," she says, later adding, "I'm very happy with what I achieved, and I would definitely do it again."
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