Woodhouse Hotel

A cosy hotel between Milano and Monza

CLUSTER: Migrants entrepreneurs and migrant lead businesses

START DATE: May 2015






Chinese, hospitality, social integration, students, support

whereVia Giovanni Prati, 45 20092 Cinisello Balsamo MI


Sijie (China) and Rebecca (Italy)

Chinese and Italian students


Woodhouse offers quality, low-cost accommodation to Chinese and Italian students. They have created an innovative model of hospitality; by requesting guests to lend a hand in the daily housework they are able to offer a range of services at a low cost. Here guests are able to find someone who speaks their own language, assistance with bureaucratic procedures, and fun activities to enjoy in their free time.For the guests, this represents an opportunity to access the tools necessary for a life outside of their country of origin, along with full-scale integration.

why it is

Woodhouse has been created by an Italian-Chinese couple and provides accommodation and support for social integration to their Italian and Chinese guests.


Relation with the country of origin:
The program isn´t really related to the country of origin but related to a specific interest and background in technology.
Relation with previous personal competencies/abilities/skills:
Sije Xie left is country of origin when he was a student and to to undertake a course of study in Italy, before in Bicocca University for economics course and after in Cattolica University where he studied political sciences. He arrived in Italy with study permit. In China the admission test to enter in university is very hard and competitive and its result is decisive to determine the type and level of university that is possible to frequent

Start up

Role of network/community:
He received an important support first of all in settling and finding an accommodation. The network and community that her girlfriend already had in Italy was the essential element for the development of the activity. From them they received both economical and mentoring support for facing financial and bureaucratic problems. Another important role was played by Chinese community.
Relation with the context:
He had a lot of difficulties’ when he arrived in Italy because of the very low level of knowledge of Italian language. He was supported in the integration process first of all by his girlfriend (Italian) and also by other association of student and of Chinese in Italy.
Main difficulties/challenges:
When he decided to open a hostel for other Chinese that arrived in Italy like him, he encountered most of all bureaucratic problems. First problem was to get the license to open the activity. In fact, the original idea was to open an “home” for help Chinese students but, subsequently, for bureaucratic problems, he was forced to open as hotel. He managed to solve the problems mostly thanks to her girlfriend knowledge of Italian system and the network that they had both of familiar and friendship. In particular, he had the great fortune to meet a family that offered him not only the building but also a financial support to realize his project. Another important role was played by his friends and Chinese people that helped him to extend their network. They were essential for the start-up of the hotel and helped them to manage every step in restructuring and renovation of the hotel.


Main Milestones:
One of the greatest success of Woodhouse was the participation to the Moneygram foreign entrepreneur Award 2016. The hotel was selected among other successful best practices of migrant entrepreneurship in Italy. This has been a great achievement and it’s reflected in the satisfaction of the guests.
Main difficulties/challenges:
When he opened the hotel, the biggest difficulties were related to the management of the guests. Most of them was Chinese students but they came from different part of China and this created some internal conflicts. He overcome these problems transforming the idea of “home” for Chinese students in real Hotel. He decided to open the hotel at everyone and not just to his compatriots. This decision was important to avoid the creation of a kind of ghetto and thus expanding the network. An important aspect that helped him to overcome the difficult about the management and relations with partners has been to learn how to work together, listen and respect the ideas of others and always try to reaching a meeting point.


The economical sustainability of the hotel is granted by the room rentals.


Main Goals/challenges:
Thinking about the future development of the hotel they think to focus more their attention to the customer. They want to invest more in satisfying their needs and concretely help newcomers that need a support in the process of integration. To do this, they want to reduce the number of guests and to be able to focus more attention on each of them.
Critical Factors to manage this challenges:
Thinking about what they would have done in other way in the past for the the project development they suggested that it should have been very important to dedicate more time to planning and a scheduled organization. This type of project, before being applied, involves a longer and specific analysis. The short time and the desire to do too many things are sometimes enemies.