Nostalgic – A Year in Review
- Nostalgic – A Year in Review
2019 was a successful season for Nostalgic: founders and managing directors Walter Laimer (left) and Gert Pichler (right) hosted approximately 1,000 guests during the course of 45 Classic Car events. We had a quick chat with the two.
In your opinion, what was the most interesting trip of 2019?
Gert: “At the beginning of May, I was traveling with a group in Monte Argentario, Tuscany. The combination of cliffs and cypress-filled hills provided an exciting setting that allowed us to capture a number of impressive driving pictures. Also, the Golf Resort Argentario is a great location, very suitable for larger incentive groups.”
Was there a particularly fun moment during the trip you could tell us more about?
Walter: “In fall, one of our guests had mistakenly rented a room for pre-arrival. Unfortunately, he believed that he was staying in the event hotel, but ended up staying at another one. To our misfortune, this overnight couple had been upgraded to the very best suite in the house. Upon discovering that the event hotel for the tour was 45 minutes from away and that they subsequently had to move, they were not amused, to say the least.”
What have you learned from your business model over the past 18 years?
Gert: “We have learned that quality always prevails in the long term. Being passionate and hard working, believing in one’s vision, yet being able to listen to other people’s ideas are strong qualities one cannot do without. Building a company from scratch requires patience and perseverance, and for the two of us, our long time friendship was also very important.”
How do you plan on improving Nostalgic in 2020?
Walter: “Firstly, we are lucky to have a great team that is always prepared to start the season off strong. On the product side of things, offering pre-arrival or extension tours behind the wheel of brand-new Mercedes-Benz SL roadsters and AMG models, as well as linking these to packages we already have with Mercedes-Benz AG may be an attractive add-on for international customers. Technically speaking, we will be testing the guidelines from the digital roadbook for some of our 2020 tours.”
What journey are you looking forward to the most?
Gert: “Back in 2005, only a couple years after launching Nostalgic, a German TV station wanted to cover our activity and therefore asked us to produce a 20-minute-feature. They wanted to broadcast early April and needed to have everything produced sometime in February. We took them to Sicily and organized a four-day-tour. Unfortunately, the number of guests early on in the year did not suffice to finance long-distance car shipping. For this reason, we temporarily removed that tour from our program. Today, our increased client base, including many frequent customers, guarantees a fully booked Sicily tour as soon as it becomes avaliable. Around mid-April, the land and its vegetation are already in full bloom, offering marvelous colors. Sicilian cuisine is known to be the best that Italy has to offer. I adore fish and every kind of seafood, which is an added bonus. Out of all the tours we offer during the day, the tour to Mount Etna is without a doubt the most awe-inspiring. Added to the fact that the hotel we selected is right on the sea, most roads either lead eacross citrus plantations, small fishermen’s villages, or desert mountains, and that you can visit fascinating towns like Taormina or cities like Catania along the way – can you think of any that is still missing for an unforgettable experience?”
Which areas in Italy would you travel to personally that are currently not covered by your program?
Walter: “Even after 15 years, we still stumble upon new spots in regions we previously believed to have know well. One destination that in my eyes goes unoticed is Triest/Friuli in northeastern Italy, which is home to Illy Coffee, San Daniele ham, Nonino spirits etc, it is highly recommendable re. itineraries, warmth of the locals, wine and food!”
Which journey would you recommend to your customers in 2020?
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!”