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by Georges Panayotis

Contrary to other sectors, the world of hospitality need not fear disappearing into a black hole and despite the upsets it might traverse, it is growing and will continue to do so. To each his place in the sun.

From the inns of yesteryear to the hotel capsules found in airports today, and, of course, youth hostels, residences, traditional palaces and hybrid formulas, the hotel universe has not stopped adapting to travelers' changing needs. The good news is that these travelers are increasingly numerous and will continue to stay in commercial accommodations. But which? The challenges experienced by hotel businesses lie in providing the right answer at the right time because an all-purpose product doesn't exist - thank goodness!

So why worry about the arrival of newcomers if they contribute to the renewal and development of the supply? No one can reasonably pretend to satisfy all segments of a clientele that is increasingly divided, nor is it possible to capture all the influx without risking getting more fragmented and losing all legitimacy.

It is important to be able to claim the strength of one's concept and accept its limits. In the past, independent hoteliers made the mistake of fearing the advent of standardized chains, just like hoteliers wasted time fighting the development of residence-hotels. The time and energy would have been better spent reinventing their supply using the capex and innovation needed. In the end, independent hotels found their way by leaving behind an incongruous economy hotel supply and developing the boutique hotel concept. At the same time, brands successfully relied on independent investors to develop their network through franchising and it was a win-win situation. XXXX Today, the big bang of sharing platforms is once again upsetting the hotel universe. But they are only just identifying the weakness of the supply in major cities and a shortfall of investment by players that are too happily established. Time must not be wasted once again time staring into the neighbor's dish only to say that their own is not full. The table is generally big enough so that everyone may take a seat comfortably. It is important to establish a dialogue so that no one person serves himself without regard for the others. Mutual respect is not just common sense, it is the rule of thumb for success.

The entire hospitality community in the broader sense must recognize that the complementarity of offers, the diversity of commercial accommodations options are strong arguments for attracting all kinds of clientele who have, by nature, different needs, different expectations. The more the market grows, the better each one finds his position. But this position must be justified by real added value, good value for price. Before denigrating the neighbor's or competitor's product, it is best to look in one's own backyard and be certain of one's own quality, of the experience being offered to the customer.

Destinations are key to this tourism ecosystem because they motivate desire, the wish to travel. It is clear that political will and global control over strategy could cause a tourist destination to sprout up in arid desert such as Dubai. Without starting from a clean slate like in the Emirates, French cities have capitalized on their cultural heritage, a major event, a priority outlook like Bordeaux, Cannes, Chamonix, Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Nice, Toulouse and others. They have taken control over their tourism destiny by not relying on an obsolete image do develop their future. While this will not prevent power struggles between local players, it will force them into constructive dialogue, a solidary effort, a single-minded outlook.

About Georges Panayotis

Georges Panayotis is President of MKG Consulting. Born in a family of hoteliers for three generations, Georges Panayotis, left Greece at the age of 18 to pursue his studies in Political Sciences and to obtain his Master in Management at the French University of Paris Dauphine. He then joined the Novotel chain, which will become the Accor Group, to manage the International Marketing Division. After developing specific marketing tools for the hotel industry, he left the group in 1986 to start his own company, MKG Conseil, now MKG Group. In twenty years, the group has become the European leader in studies and consulting for the Hospitality industry. The company employs over 70 people in four departments: marketing studies, database, quality control and trade press, with two publications HTR Magazine and Hotel Restaurant Weekly.

The company helped the development of over 2,000 hotels in France and in Europe, with offices in Paris, Cyprus and London. Georges Panyotis is the founder of the Worldwide Hospitality Awards and the Hotel Makers Forum, and the author of several publications on Marketing and Operations in the hotel business, He is a regular consultant for several television channels, among which Bloomberg Television, and radio networks.

Contact: Georges Panayotis

g.panayotis@mkg-group.com

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