Nostalgic – the year in review
- Nostalgic – the year in review
2017 was a successful Nostalgic season: founders and managing directors Walter Laimer (left) and Gert Pichler (right) hosted 1,000 guests during 45 Classic Car events. We had a quick chat with the two friends.
What was your most interesting trip in 2017?
Gert: “At the beginning of May I was traveling with a group on Monte Argentario, Tuscany. The combination of cliffs and cypress-fringed hills was an exciting setting that allowed for a number of impressive driving pictures. Besides, the Golf Resort Argentario is a great location, very suitable for larger incentive groups.”
Was there a particularly fun moment you could tell us about?
Walter: “In fall, one of our guests had by mistake rented a room for pre-arrival – unfortunately, he did not stay at the event hotel but believed so. To our misfortune, this overnight couple has been upgraded to the very best suite in the house. Upon discovering that the event hotel for the tour was 45 minutes from there, and that they had to move, they was absolutely not amused, to say the least.”
What have you learned from your business model over the past 15 years?
Gert: “We have learned that quality always prevails – in the long term. Being passionate and hard working, believing in one’s vision yet listening to other people’s ideas are strong motivators one cannot do without. Founding a company from scratch requires patience and perseverance, for the two of us it was key that we had known each other for years.”
Any improvements or changes planned for Nostalgic 2018?
Walter: “First – we have a great team which is only waiting to giving the season a head start. On the product side, offering also pre-arrival or extension tours, at the wheel of brand-new Mercedes-Benz SL roadsters and AMG models, linking to packages already existing within Daimler AG, may be an attractive add-on for international customers. Technically speaking, we will be testing digital roadbook guidance on some of our 2018 tours.”
What journey are you looking forward most?
Gert: “Back in 2005, only a couple years after launching Nostalgic, a German TV wanted to cover our activity and urged us to produce a 20-minute-feature. They wanted to broadcast early April and needed to produce sometime in February. We took them to Sicily and created a four-day-tour there. Unfortunately, early years’ guest numbers would not allow to fill enough seats to pay for faraway car shipping, that’s why we took that tour temporarily off our programme. Today, our increased client base including many repeat customers, guarantees a fully booked Sicily tour as soon as we publish its date. Timed mid-April, the land and its vegetation are already in full swing offering marvellous colours. Sicilian cuisine is reckoned to be the best in Italy – I adore fish and every kind of seafood, which is a match. Among the day drives, the tour on Mount Etna is an awe-inspiring highlight. Add to this that our selected hotel is right at the sea, most roads are leading either across citrus plantations or small fishermen’s villages, or desert mountains, and that you visit fascinating towns like Taormina or cities like Catania – do you really feel there is anything missing to an unforgettable experience?”
Which areas in Italy not covered by your current programme would you travel to as an individual?
Walter: “Even after 15 years, we keep discovering new spots in regions we believe to know well. A destination that I feel to be underestimated by mistake is North-Western Italy’s Piedmont: home to Barolo and Barbaresco, Alba’s truffles and the former Italian Royals’ Castles, it is highly recommendable re. itineraries, warmth of the locals, wine and food!”
Which journey would you recommend to your customers in 2017?
Gert: “It was only in 2016, while developing the “Terra di Motori” journey, that I came to know the Emilia-Romagna. Until then, I could not really connect with it; Bologna, Modena was just an area to be crossed when heading south to Tuscany. Today I know why Parma ham and Parmesan cheese, balsamic vinegar, mortadella and tortellini are Emilia-Romagna’s hidden gems. I knew that Ferrari, Maserati, Lamborghini, Ducati and many more were based in the region (thus its Italian nickname ‘Terra di Motori’ – land of motors) but I ignored how many beautiful car collections and museums there were. Even the landscape was underestimated: there are so many, little trafficked country roads which make for a great classic car drive!”