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Alternative accommodations in Italy and beyond

Video by Puck Wever, HMSL Student


A New Era of Hospitality: Alternative Accommodations.
The growth of alternative accommodations has been unprecedented during the Covid-19 pandemic and the hotel giants are getting worried!

  • Do you want to be an integral part of this extraordinary evolution of the hospitality industry?

  • Do you want to become a successful entrepreneur in the alternative accommodation sector?

  • Do you dream of managing your own B&B in the centre of a historical town or a wine farm in the peaceful surroundings of the countryside?

This minor is your chance to discover how you can make your entrepreneurial ambition come true! Join this course and experience the professional life of alternative accommodation business owners in Tuscany!
The current international trends see an increased demand and offer of hospitality models that are an alternative to the traditional hotel concept. There is also an increased interest from the side of the young generations (Millennials and Gen Z) to take ownership and become managers of their own businesses.
As a student, you will learn about several facets of the management of a small-medium enterprise (SME). The focus will be on those establishments offering alternative accommodation and F&B services. Nonetheless, the gained knowledge can be easily applied to any small-medium enterprises operating in the service industry.
The management of alternative accommodations is a quite unique, innovative, cross-cutting academic subject; not many universities worldwide feature a similar course in their curricula, despite the increase of popular demand in this area, both from hospitality entrepreneurs and travellers.

Minor content

Minor content

The minor will focus on some of the following typologies of accommodations:

  • Agritourism
  • B&B and Country Houses
  • Scattered Hotel (a hospitality model that was conceived in Italy and aims at recovering and bringing new life into old hamlets through tourism and hospitality; the concept is known
    as Albergo Diffuso)
  • Hospitality in the Medieval hamlet or Borgo (an inclusive model that uses alternative accommodations (e.g., short-term rentals and B&Bs) and real estate projects to revitalize the economy of a rural village)*
  • Wine farms

    The minor will cover the following three broad subjects: Setting-up and managing hospitality Small-Medium Enterprises (SMEs); Socio-Economic Issues in hospitality SMEs; The Sustainability dimension of hospitality SMEs.
    Each subject will be further broken down into themes that vary from Activities and Services (e.g., F&B, Didactics, Sports and Outdoor, Wine tasting and Goods selling), to Economic Impact of Alternative Accommodation on Hospitality and Tourism, to Circular Economy.

*Caldana, a Tuscan village that came back to life thanks to tourism and to a new concept of hospitality.


Structure of the minor

Students will work with business cases in a group setting.

For the successful completion of this minor, the students are requested to engage in a study load of 420 hours, for a total of 15 ECs.

The minor course boasts the collaboration with the University of Pisa, Fondazione Campus Lucca. Lecturers and Industry partners of this Institute offer seminars on topics, that will support students towards the achievement of the learning outcomes of the module (LO 1 and LO 3). These seminars will be offered online.

Link to the Industry
The connection of this minor with the industry is supported and constantly strengthened by the presence of guest lecturers (both academics and sector representatives) willing to share their research, their entrepreneurial stories and their business cases. This educational activity is a valuable source of knowledge for the students. They learn about the challenges, the opportunities, and the success of these professionals. The interaction between the students and the guest lecturer generates facts that translate into practical ideas for the course projects.
The minor course counts on a remarkable network of international guest lecturers.

1. Leeuwarden and surroundings.
One-day visits to local entrepreneurs, managing small hospitality businesses located in Leeuwarden or in Friesland may be organized. Costs are limited to public transport when necessary.
2. Lucca, Italy (compulsory).
Each semester (respectively in module period 1 and in module period 3) the students will participate in an educational field trip to Lucca (Tuscany). This is a compulsory one-week activity.

During the stay in Lucca, the students will attend their regular classes (lectures, workshops, seminars, and walk-in activities); they will also visit local alternative accommodation business owners in Tuscany. The added value of the field trip is to allow the students to gain practical knowledge while visiting real business cases. The students will connect the classroom concepts to the observations and to the personal experiences of the field trip and combine them into their group projects.

Students are responsible to purchase their own flight ticket (low-cost options are available) and to organize their stay in Lucca (accommodation options will be suggested).
Cost of transport for business visits and extras will be calculated based on the number of participants. Can we leave this previous sentence? The rest (see below) can go.

Fieldtrip Tuscany


For NHL Stenden Students: they must have completed the first two years of bachelor’s or associate degree program;
For Kies op Maat Students and for Exchange Students, they should have completed the first two years of study at their home Universities.

The content of the minor is transversal and, as such, it is applicable and suitable to a variety of study programmes besides hospitality management (e.g. leisure and tourism, business management, marketing, etc.).
The minor course has been created with the goal of developing and fostering entrepreneurship skills in tertiary education students.

Language: English B2 writing and C1 speaking
As the minor has a broad geographical scope, in terms of content and real-world cases used in class, the knowledge of other languages can be beneficial in terms of information search and industry-university network creation (e.g., Erasmus+ funded projects).


  • At the end of week 8, the students will hand in a Business Plan for a hospitality SMEs.
    The students will be working in smaller groups of max. five members. Formative and Peer-feedback will be provided to students throughout the module (LO 1, 2 & 3).
  • In week 9, the students will present their Business Plan to an audience of experts (lecturers) (LO 2).
  • After each seminar (compulsory attendance), students will write individually a three-page report on the seminar reflecting on the content and analysing the presented topic through personal research (LO 1 & 3).