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  • New Global Directors Join the 2018-2019 HFTP Board

    The HFTP 2018-2019 Global Board of Directors was installed during the association's 2018 Annual Convention and introduces new directors Toni Bau, Carson Booth, CHTP and Mark Fancourt. These extensive director profiles give insight into the distinguished professions and personal goals of HFTP's newest association leaders.

  • Letter from the HFTP Global President: At the End of the Year, We Reflect on the Best of the Year

    As we prepare to transition to the new HFTP Global board at the 2018 Annual Convention in October, I would like to take the time to reflect on my year serving as HFTP Global president.

  • Members Only: 2018 HFTP Compensation and Benefits Report

    By Tanya Venegas, MBA, MHM, CHIA. Results to the biannual survey conducted by Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP). Information includes data on compensation and benefits trends for finance and technology professionals in the club and lodging industries.

  • IT Spending in the Lodging Industry Three-year Analysis: 2015–2017

    By Agnes DeFranco, Ed.D., CHAE; Arlene Ramirez, CHE, CHAE; and Tanya Venegas, MBA, MHM, CHIA. PART II: An analysis of IT spending data in the lodging industry based on reporting in the new USALI Schedule 6 — Information and Telecommunications Systems.

Brexit could have a significant impact on hotel activity in Cyprus and Malta

Hospitality ON · 5 December 2018
A Brexit without an amicable divorce agreement would have serious economic consequences for the country, according to a report published by the British government and the Bank of England. British GDP would lose nearly 10 points over 15 years and AP economists estimate that the annual standard of living would be reduced by PS1,100 per capita. Finally, the British central bank added that the pound could fall by a quarter of its value against the dollar leading to the UK's worst recession since World War II.With almost 120 million nights spent in tourist accommodations in the EU 28 outside their country, the British are one of the heavyweights of the tourism economy and in 2016 Great Britain ranked fourth largest source market in Europe.If the British economy were to fail, hoteliers would be among the first to suffer a drop in the number of visitors from this source market, on which some destinations have become very dependent.In Malta, for example, more than 2.8 million overnight stays were accounted for in 2016 by customers from the United Kingdom, well ahead of those from Italy and Germany. The flight connections between Malta airport and London Gatwick (1st), Manchester (7th) and London Heathrow (8th) airports are among the busiest and reflect the strong impact on the island's entire tourism value chain that a Brexit without a divorce agreement could have.
Article by Georges Panayotis

In the European culture, hospitality is a common denominator

Hospitality ON ·28 November 2018
Is our planet universal? What factors have led to the birth of so many different civilizations? Have not climates, topographies, fauna and flora contributed to the shaping of cultures with very specific rites, identities and references? If the soil is universal, Earth may be less so. Humans, meanwhile, aspire to universality and globalization but will always feel the need to refocus. In our sector as well as elsewhere, our world is constantly regenerating itself in an infinite succession of cycles. We are constantly retracing our steps, certainly, with a better vision than on our previous trip thanks to the progress we have made, but we continue to return to our starting point, to our roots. History shows us that we are seeking universality, but we inevitably return to our origins.This apparent paradox between regionalization and globalization is clearly reflected within our industry. At the beginning of the current cycle, we sought standardization to guarantee the quality of our hotel products on the one hand and to leverage development on the other. By importing American models into Europe, groups such as AccorHotels were able to quickly develop an offer that found its audience.Today, the clientele of our hotels and restaurants clearly aspire to a return to their roots. All the brands that emerge and prosper are highly differentiating and, for the most part, firmly established in their territories. We offer local cuisine, we bring in local decorators, we bring artists inside , we offer services to the people who live in the neighborhood... In short, we firmly establish ourselves in a district or even in the region and we differentiate ourselves. All the brands now developed by hotel groups try to be lifestyle brands, we want to welcome people as if they were at home, but better still, we want to be able to satisfy all desires, we propose to come to a new tribe on site and via social networks. Some even play on the maternal side like Mama Shelter which welcomes you as if you were at home or Big Mama which brings a little piece of Italy to your doorstep and even recruits Italian employees.The concepts that are currently working and being developed all have a very rich corporate culture such as Citizen M. Where employees are considered brand ambassadors and will in turn welcome, serve and advise their guests. A different way of conceiving reception professions that places less emphasis on competence than on interpersonal skills, proactivity and a sense of service. The hospitality industry has always been a great global family where you can start your career on one side of the globe and end it on the other. This assertion is even more true today with the digital tools that are transforming work and globalizing the world. All job offers are just a click away and everyone can become their own ambassador and work on their brand image.Universities and schools must take these profound changes into account and be able to train global citizens by developing their skills and their interpersonal skills in particular.Tourism is one of Europe's flagships, the majority of international tourists come to Europe, so let us act and implement a truly unifying, ambitious and effective European policy. Because danger looms. The Gafa suck up our customers' data and gradually steal our added value by dispossessing hotel groups of their levers of action. Europe is a continent with a thousand-year history, with many facets. Our heritage, cultural and even geographical resources are almost inexhaustible. There is nothing like it to seduce and satisfy a traveller in on a quest for meaning and local colour. On a global level, the Old Continent, through its genes and history, is deeply rooted in hospitality.
Article by Georges Panayotis

One hand washes the other and together they wash the face

Hospitality ON ·22 October 2018
Hospitality schools provide excellent training for future managers in the sector. These young people see the country, touch many disciplines and receive effective training, but when they complete their initial training they are disconnected from the realities of the market. To earn 3000 EUR as a young graduate is more an exception than the rule and few seem to be aware of it. This gap contributes to the desertion of young graduates from the sector who leave to work in more attractive sectors of the service industries, as their expectations being totally disproportionate to what the hotel industry can offer them.This touches on a central problem: how can we attract young talent if we cannot offer them prospects for development? The elevator that was working so well just a few decades ago is clearly broken. The professions at the bottom of the scale are very poorly valued, poorly paid and unattractive, they are difficult to fill with low-skilled workers who are primarily looking for a means of subsistence.CAP, BEP or Bac Pro training in the sector is not valued. However, there are still professionals who are flourishing and progressing in operational professions such as the dining room, the kitchen or even governance, reception and the bursary. Managers are needed and are certainly essential, but we must not forget the operational staff who run the properties and are often the first to have direct contact with the customer....The situation is deplorable, but we know solutions exist. Germany is once again a model for the training and employment of future professionals in the hotel sector. When you welcome and train a young person, when you share your passion for the job, the tricks, the little daily satisfactions, with them, then they want to stay and thrive. It is also necessary to be ready to welcome him, to know how to do it and to adapt to his personality, his capacities and his aspirations. There are few things more difficult to do than to transmission, especially when you must struggle daily to keep a business running and prospering.When will we be able to really innovate within our sector? Why should disruption always come from the outside? Let us break down codes and barriers, collaborate, think together and move forward. Notice to all professionals in initial and continuing training, let's work together and make progress because the future of our industry is also determined in part by the dynamism of its employees. There are some great initiatives that are fruit bearing, but these are still too confidential. So, come and brain storm with us at the next Global Lodging Forum on Monday and Tuesday, April 15 and 16, 2019 and let's build a collective movement for the future of professionals in the sector. Because just as our two hands need one another to wash, professionals and educators must work together to present a clean and attractive face for future professionals in the sector.
Article by Georges Panayotis

Europe Goes Digital... Yes We Can!

Hospitality ON ·27 September 2018
Cocorico! Google set up a research centre on artificial intelligence last week in Paris. The arrival of our President has something to do with it, he believes in the importance of becoming a great digital nation. In the long term, a thousand jobs will be created by the American giant in Paris, including a significant proportion of researchers in development and artificial intelligence. This is good news for the future of our sector because the number of uses we can find for this new science is, by definition, infinite.Artificial intelligence has been around for a few years, but it is still in its infancy in France, it is most unfortunate that only GAFA carries out real research work in these fields and thus have a considerable lead over European and French companies. While we are going in the right direction, the road is still long. Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple all exploit considerable volumes of customer data to the fullest, while on our side of the Atlantic, failing to reach an agreement, we discuss, quibble and question. Can we use customer data? How far can we go? How to secure it? The latest news from the giant Facebook shows us that our American cousins do not suffer from such scruples.Let's be clear, it's not about making everyone's personal data freely available. However, let's face it, Google knows more about us than our own children sometimes. What interests me, what I consume, where I go and when, with whom I communicate and on what subjects... nothing escapes the mastodon, and the mastodon does not hesitate to use my data to generate even more revenue via Addwords, for example. All this is indeed good, you will tell me, but what should I do? How to do it and with whom? The President's approach is a first step towards our entry into the 21st century, which is essential if we are to continue to be among the world's great powers. And we must not be naive, if this does not happen here, it will happen elsewhere in the world. China has implemented an ambitious investment plan for artificial intelligence and intends to keep pace with North America. It is also essential for our sector to lay claim to this science, which offers infinite opportunities.Why waste time on a hotel website when I can book in two clicks on Booking? Our sector has begun to change, and some of its players have been working on it for several years. For example, Sebastien Bazin at Accor Hotels, whose dream was to create a second Airbus, as happened in the late 1960s thanks to the Franco-German alliance, which has since welcomed the British, Spanish and Belgians. Now we are eager to see the birth of a digital Airbus, while some of the promising companies in the sector, such as Booking, which was founded by a Dutchman to name but one, are inevitably being acquired by American giants. Where is our striking force? Why don't we fight to keep our gems? Why do the brains in the field prefer to move to Silicon Valley? In 2017, French companies created 678,600 jobs in the United States compared to 481,000 jobs created on French soil by Americans. We must therefore think quickly and carefully by asking ourselves the right questions.Sebastien Bazin has created the conditions for a transition to digital within his group and asked Maud Bailly to increase this transformation. Some initiatives are beginning to produce results although there is still room for improvement. However, it's obvious that we can't to protect ourselves from the groundswell that is disrupting our society. In 2018, everything is digital, everything is data, everything is algorithms, to ignore it is to die slowly. When will politicians, civil servants and entrepreneurs in France and the European Union come to an agreement? If Europe wants to renew its influence on the world stage, we must pool all our talents, resources, strengths and ideas... Yes we can!
Article by Georges Panayotis

The Profession of Hospitality: Enough With Elites, Welcome Entrepreneurs

Hospitality ON ·12 September 2018
The entire profession agrees that the sector is short of manpower. Very often, restaurants, bars, hotels are unable to find competent, motivated and loyal staff to make their business grow and provide irreproachable customer service. Once you have gone around and squared the circle, you find yourself back at the beginning. Consultations, experiments, meetings, debates, brainstorming... much effort has been put into finding a solution, but but they result in half-measures and ultimately do not really solve this problem. Nevertheless, it is central to our profession, which is based on know-how and human contact.Parallel to this shortage, France and Europe attract a constant migratory flow that is far from being well received, to put it mildly. Rather than quarantine these immigrants, why not integrate them into a training program linked to professionals in the sector? This glaring lack of vital forces, which results either in the degradation of service or in the exhaustion of facility managers, and most certainly reduces the efficiency and productivity of the sites, could be addressed in this way. No matter what, in this period of recovery the need for manpower will only continue to grow. France, a great self-proclaimed tourism power, must not, however, deprive itself of innovation. Let us become a land of asylum that transforms adversity into opportunity rather than one of exile.French higher education in hospitality also struggles to compete with the top international schools. Many of our managers, especially in high-end properties, are looking for profiles with international training. These leading hotel schools develop programmes and disseminate their know-how internationally. Some French schools have, nonetheless, managed to rise up among the best in the world, but France can hardly claim to be one of the world's leaders. However, it has a rich and varied heritage and history in tourism and gastronomy that could enable it to return to the forefront. The podium is currently occupied by countries that are less developped in tourism but have managed to take leading positions.Certainly the government should not boast, multiply the number of Theodule committees or scratch its belly while it counts tourists, or even invent a thermometer to justify its policy. Instead, it must launch real projects to improve training and develop the skills of employees in our sector. Listen and meet more professionals in the field because those who currently advise the State probably do not know enough about the profession in its reality. French genius is not a prerogative of civil servants alone: our companies and schools have plenty and have talent to sell, provided that the government does not interfere, either as judge or party. Schools lack resources while companies lack investment and promotion. By investing wisely we can re-cultivate inspiration among future professionals in the sector.Let us put an end to budgets that are squandered in gas plants without knowing what they will be used for or what they have created for the profession in terms of added value. Let us re-establish a State that is the driving force and catalyst of economic activity for the good of all, without exclusion or resentment.
Article by Georges Panayotis

Don't pluck the goose that lays the golden eggs!

Hospitality ON ·30 August 2018
France's tourism performances are mostly positive, and so much the better! After many lean months, tourism and hotel professionals are back to smiling. Driven by ever-increasing international demand, tourist arrivals are on the rise and remain strong. Let's ride the wave and acquire market shares. Because while France has a long tradition of hospitality with an attractive cultural and geographical heritage, many destinations have followed in the same path. European performances are also positive and France is not alone in boasting results that are more than encouraging.Our sector has become prosperous again, but let's not make the mistake of resting on our laurels or worse, scuttling the ship. The government wants to invest and work for the sector, and we are delighted, but it is important that everyone remains in their role. Beware of the dangerous temptation to be judge and jury, it would be contrary to the rules of private property, some would add that public private companies function only very rarely. It is enough to look at Air France to see that the government does nothing for it. It cannot be both actor and regulator of the system.Operational work must be the responsibility of professionals, while the government and its agencies must focus solely on promoting the destination and offering solutions that really match today's codes and channels of communication, which is far from being the case when we see the sums currently being spent. These anemic budgets position us as a second-class destination. On the other hand, we beat records in boasting, Theodule committees, studies with political orientation and even the counting of tourists arrivals and departures,... here too we are world champions.Others apply their own methodical and diligent means to tarnish the appeal of French tourist destinations. Yield management makes it possible to maximise the turnover of a tourist product, and thus act. But don't saw off the branch you're sitting on, because while it makes sense to maximise profits, you fall into excess when certain airlines offer flight fares ranging from simple to tenfold depending on the booking date. The State, sometimes a partner of these companies - without forgetting our national treasure, SNCF, which is not to be outdone in this type of pricing policy - closes its eyes. Nor are the distributors going to complain since they receive a percentage of the rates applied. But, once again, if the consumer finds himself hostage to exorbitant fares, there is only one step that more and more travelers are taking from there to less greedy destinations. This biased system is an impediment to good economy, because tourists are not cash cows and can find themselves short of money for accommodations, food and entertainment, as transportation is overpriced.Another example of the schizophrenia that has taken hold of the government is the prohibitive pricing of concessions at French monuments and cultural sites, terraces, beaches..., the catering concession at the Eiffel Tower, for example, has reached such a high level that it is unlikely that the quality/price ratio will be satisfactory to the end customer. It is just one more fine reason for potential visitors to turn their backs on the destination and go elsewhere where they don't feel like thy're being cheated. How can a government that seeks to initiate actions aimed at restoring France's image and improving tourist reception, simultaneously allow outdated practices ruin the work done and the money invested? It should come as no surprise that the hotel and tourism sectors are unable to attract sufficient qualified labour when you imagine the potential salaries; it discourages staff from coming to our sector. With high unemployment, tourism is a sector that lacks manpower, find the error...The State must trust the professionals but also must leave them the means to work serenely and efficiently. If there is no lack of good will, we must consider the problem from all angles. The competition is such that we cannot afford to make more mistakes without compromising the good health of a sector that is a real driving force for our country.

While Huazhu and Jin Jiang are acquiring, HNA and Anbang are selling their assets

Hospitality ON ·29 August 2018
HNA Group has finally agreed to sell Radisson to Jin Jiang, Anbang is looking to unload a $5.5Bn portfolio of hotels and Huazhu acquired 71.2% shares in Blossom Hill. Anbang Insurance put a luxury hotel collection up for sale, pricing it at $5.5 billion. According to The Wall Street Journal, the Chinese holding company is selling its portfolio in order to raise money following its seizure by the Chinese government. The portfolio consists of hotels that Anbang purchased from Blackstone Group in 2016. Anbang has been entertaining offers for individual hotels, such as:

The magic potion and the Gallic village

Hospitality ON ·24 July 2018
Once upon a time there was a Gallic village that continued to resist the invader. Not content with being just an extremely popular tourist destination, it wanted to be able to boast of being the first in the world. However, the Gallic chiefs had spent decades looking for a recipe to make a magic potion that not only made their ultimate dream come true, but could also count the tourists who visited.The leaders also wanted to keep control over their flock at all costs, to control and ultimately to curb their villagers' businesses. But the villagers were not satisfied, because the costs of maintaining the village were heavily dependent on businesses, and there were also commissions to distributors who would sell their products as well as fees paid to their franchisors. All this weighed more and more heavily on their budgets and nibbled away at their margins as surely as the druids could not find the magic potion that would allow them to set up the observatory of their dreams.This fable might make you smile, but it's somewhat mirthless... Because how can we imagine this small Gallic village competing against multinationals that are making billions of dollars in profits, that can afford their own Internet connection cable between the United States and Europe, that hold multiple terabytes of data on their users and are conducting research on artificial intelligence, that are constantly testing new algorithms and have colossal budgets to promote the listing of their products on the web. In short, they have everything to crush the small Gallic village; how can anyone want to fight with them on equal terms?The Gallic village was long-lived, France is competing with an ever-broader range of destinations and would do well to turn things over to companies in the sector and trust them with the opportunity to develop destinations. Each tourism professional can improve the appeal of their product by working alongside other accommodation providers, restaurants and tourist sites at their destination. Succeeding is practically unimaginable when we know that Bilbao has a larger budget than France...It seems utopian to want to make a tourist observatory in France, the gauge has been broken several times, it has been passed from hand to hand, and it still does not give a proper reading. Do we really have to get into a battle of numbers or should we focus on the quality of the tourists who come to France, on the target of repeaters who visit less visited destinations than the Eiffel Tower. While the objective of 100 million is a beautiful target, where do we hope to accommodate these tourists? Do we plan to make them wait for hours in line before entering the Louvre Museum, have we considered expanding the Basilica of Sacre Coeur? In the 21st century, big data allows us to forecast tourist behavior, so why persist in setting up an observatory that will produce statistics one year later? Why look in the rearview mirror when we can look ahead and prepare our future?More than anything, Gallic leaders must do their job and let the villagers do theirs. It is not by controlling and reining in the village's beautiful shops that they will prosper. They will only succeed in paralyzing an industry that is seeking to prosper. The strategy of dividing to reign better no longer has any reason to be; like the French team, which has benefited from outstanding management where each talent could achieve its maximum potential. Leaders should draw inspiration from this model to lead France towards success.What if instead of stubbornly trying to make an even more magical potion we changed our objectives? Gallic leaders were sometimes interested in tourism and those who got involved showed a real will to improve the system, but without understanding either its complexity or the range of professionals involved in each stage of organizing the tourist's journey. To each his trade. Let us hope that summer will allow everyone to find their place and make their contribution to the project to get back to work on the right foot, more combative than before, but without getting into the wrong battle.
Article by Georges Panayotis

The hotel business rebuilds servuction

Hospitality ON ·11 July 2018
What if it was all for nothing? What if living an unforgettable stay experience, which one will absolutely want to repeat, depended only on impalpable elements? A functional and attractive aesthetic product is now the bare minimum to attract and retain customers. While it is absolutely necessary, it is not enough. For the customer, these services are self-evident. Comfort, ergonomics, a sense of security are essential to good accommodations.But it is necessary to have a more global and far-reaching vision with a broader focus; offering an accommodations product now means providing a universe, a whole that can meet all needs, all expectations and adapt to all rhythms and lifestyles. Materials and products are now accessible to more and more consumers, and is becoming increasingly difficult to surprise a customer. If you are not fortunate enough to own or operate an exceptional property that conceals hidden treasures of craftsmanship, like the Lutetia, which resuscitated paintings and moldings created more than a century ago when the property was created, or other properties that are in an exceptional architectural setting, then it is necessary to invest in other ways to stand out.The key to good performance now lies in the success of the customer experience through services, staff, attitude, posture, practical and comprehensive socialization tools that become a genuine sindrofos or travel companion - like Sancho Panza was for Don Quixote- for the guest. A faithful servant available via his or her smartphone that is ever present, from morning to night and even at night. The host must be reachable at all times and able to meet immediate needs or even anticipate them in the same way that a butler would have done more than a century ago; the host must also be able to provide guests with suggestions that can meet their needs.After all, how can you judge a successful design? How can we hope to build spaces that enchant both Middle Eastern and Asian clientele at once? How can we cope with the overbidding of products and services? Rather than focusing on a battle lost in advance for most institutions, it is better to invest resources in digital tools that are adapted, efficient and readily available. Book a meeting space, find a restaurant selected and certified by the hotelier, plan an out of the ordinary excursion, live like a native thanks to advice on the best bar in the area, know the weather; meet other customers at the property and why not do business with them: this is what makes the difference. It is by putting everything at the client's fingertips that we will build a lasting relationship with them, and it is through this lasting relationship that profits will be maximized.We must not forget the central role of staff, whether or not they are in direct contact with the client, because accommodations are like beehives where each person has a crucial role to play. Employee training is decisive for the success of the stay. Everyone must have a strong service culture but also carry within them the values of the property in order to be able to translate them into their actions, decisions and attitude. To succeed, therefore, the hotelier must be dedicated to his customers and also take a staff-centered approach to retain and push staff towards excellence.Current and future technologies offer us boundless possibilities, the only barriers between a hotel owner and his customer are those of our own creativity. In an environment that is constantly changing and undergoing profound transformations, it would be delusional to want to do without soft skills and invest only in hard because it would mean completely missing the foundations of customer relations. The business of hotel establishments will undergo its own mutation as well, since a good part of the service will be provided by applications whose ownership will not be associated with the business. The battle is just beginning, some operators are investing heavily to create these ecosystems at the level of their own brands. After the mutation that has taken place in digital distribution, the next stage will occur within staff and ecosystems created by applications. The revolution of hospitality is still in its infancy.
Article by Georges Panayotis

You might go faster alone, but you go further with company

Hospitality ON ·27 June 2018
In reality, what are Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple or AirBnb? Technology companies? No! They represent new ideas and a bold vision of entrepreneurship! But also and especially a reflection, a strategy, research and development centered on the customer experience. These companies have based their dazzling success on taking into account customer needs and experience design upstream, during and after. By responding quickly, efficiently and smoothly to the customers' needs, or even by anticipating them thanks to a pointed knowledge of their needs and relevant and efficient use of their data.The former model of partitioning and monotasking has failed. It is imperative to develop versatility, to be reactive and to integrate a maximum of knowledge and know-how in order to adapt to our world where boundaries are increasingly porous, where co-working and co-living are developing exponentially and where everyone increasingly works and lives according to their own rhythm and needs.Europe is lagging behind, it does not enjoy the same territorial unity as the United States or China, but it must fight and preserve its culture, its know-how and its DNA. However, no state is in a position to run a company of this scale alone, private companies have and will have the capital to impose themselves and implement the actions and alliances necessary to ensure that Europe remains on the podium on the international stage.Vertical integration is now a matter of course. Virgin Atlantic also owns Virgin Hotels and Corsair the brand by TUI the accommodations developer and tour operator. Their success lies in their complementary offers with a controlled customer path from the beginning to the end of the stay. Travelers thus enjoy equivalent standards at every stage of their holiday: booking, transport and accommodation, among others. The customer experience must be seamless and only the creation of strong synergies will create an unforgettable travel experience and build customer loyalty from start to finish. Because we can't ignore it: very few products are exceptional enough to be self-sufficient, not all hotels are lucky enough to be the Danieli, the Savoy or the Taj Mahal... Not all destinations have the privilege of boasting the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum and Sacre Coeur. We must therefore work together, create value and anticipate, to satisfy and exceed customer expectations.Development through acquisitions makes it possible to develop strength while adding new professions within its scope and also to develop synergies at the level of human resources to enable career development for its employees. Claude Moscheni, former General Manager, is a good example. He began his career as a steward at Air France where he accompanied the presidential trips. He then joined AccorHotels to manage the new Novotel in Lille. Forty years later, he manages more than 1,000 hotels worldwide, and in 2011 he received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Worldwide Hospitality Awards. All this was only made possible because social mobility and continuing education exist at Accor and these will probably be strengthened thanks to the Accor - Air France alliance.It is essential to adapt to changes in our society and our economic world. At this point in the cycle, we are reinventing new models to continue to deliver value. What if the most important synergy is simply human? Accor owes its prosperity to its management and its social peace, and this could be an excellent dowry to bring to Air France.

Globalization: On the hunt to keep rank

Hospitality ON ·13 June 2018
In this age of here and now, the customer wants to spend as little time as possible looking for and buying the right product. In the age of big data and the exponential development of algorithms, we know our customers better and better, and can even begin to anticipate their needs and expectations. In order to meet the same needs for the same customer, it seems clear that we must work on synergies and build a real path where we can respond better.The timing is right, everything converges to give meaning to this bold and necessary position that is in line with customer expectations, needs and habits. It will also strengthen the positions of global hospitality players. We are facing a kind of logic based on marketing and community. In short, we are entering the future of our profession that is undergoing a transformation as it changes dimension and the ecosystem changes as well. Some American, Chinese, Indian and Middle Eastern groups already have a foothold in this logic of total control of the customer experience. Because the real battle is situated on a completely different terrain than that of territorial or monetary supremacy, the real battle is about knowing, satisfying and building customer loyalty. To achieve this, we must invest massively and constantly, and ask ourselves the right questions before others do the same.We must face the facts, the government does not know how to deliver efficient and quality services, it is unable to adapt to the global economy. The example of Air France, which was managed by civil servants, shows that it is time for real entrepreneurs to take the lead, streamline and effectively manage this company with a truly global strategy and vision as well as results objectives to be achieved. Paralyzed by outdated processes, social benefits as well as excessive taxes, the French airline is in full free fall. Not to mention the SNCF, which severely handicaps the small and medium-sized businesses that make up the vitality of the economy.In France, the world's leading tourist destination, the airports of Roissy Charles de Gaulle and Orly are ranked 128 and 138 respectively, far behind destinations with a much lesser international influence... It is time to get back to work, to push entrepreneurial and motivated forces, to change habits and regain a path to success. Air France is a brand, but it is also expertise and know-how, and these treasures must not be wasted, but grown! However, the transformation will only happen with a real global vision that is free from the political and territorial problems that currently lead to decisions that are in total opposition to the management and good health of corporations.Finally, the State favors the company's strategy and wishes to give new life to its national flagships; it would seem that it has become aware of its impotence with respect to globalization and has decided to entrust the reins to those who can hold them. This is to be welcomed, but they should not be passed on to the industry's captains without being given the means to restore the company's competitiveness in relation to other European airlines. Disposing of its 14% shares must obscure the need to lighten heavy charges. This also applies to the hotel business; we have often said that the State and the Caisse des Depots have not really helped companies to modernize and have not financed real development centres or sufficiently favored the repositioning of the offer in relation to current competition.Donald Trump's strategy has prompted Emmanuel Macron and other world leaders to respond and bring the battalions together to continue to count and exist globally. Just as Americans, Chinese, Qataris, Saudis... are welcome in the European Union, it goes without saying that they must offer European companies the same welcome when entering their markets and developing our products there. Globalization is opening its doors, for our companies to enter at the same level.
Article by Georges Panayotis

The monkey moved to someone else's back...

Hospitality ON · 8 June 2018
What we are seeing, however, is that the responsibilities are shifting... the monkey is changing backs... brand owners no longer own both the walls and the business. Today, franchisees support investment costs and must make up for years of backlog. Meanwhile, rather than invest to modernize and maintain the supply, operators have chosen to invest in faraway markets or other types of accommodation. But within this squaring of the circle, we can only observe that the problem has grown more complex. Owner operators will have to break away, and within this metamorphosis what will happen to brands? In France, the economy and budget supplies represent more than 60% of the chain hotel and independent supply combined, if we include the midscale that accounts for close to 90% of the total room supply.But some operators are turning to the high-end market with an aim to offset distribution and maximize their EBITDA. What about this economy and midscale offer? How will it remain profitable and competitive? New hybrid concepts have been appearing on the market for about ten years now. Hannes Spanring announced at the Global Lodging Forum last April that he has no less than 120 projects underway in promising destinations as well as 25 properties in the pipeline in the United States.More than 2500 years ago, Heraclitus made this observation: "The only thing that is constant is change", one cannot say they were unaware of it. The offensive is there and well established, but who will retaliate and how? New-generation concepts offer products that are cheaper to produce (such as Qbic, which is developing a technology that allows it to build quickly and at low cost), where much of servuction is digitized with strong and differentiating products, very carefully selected locations (no more under-serviced suburban areas) and staff reduced to the strict minimum for the most part. Guests check themselves in, digital tools follow them, guide them and even encourage additional sales. The staff, for their part, develops skills but also, and above all, know-how and all this at the service of the sacrosanct customer experience. In the end, it is the customer who works and is delighted to do so!Competition between destinations will intensify, not only to attract tourists, but also to attract new projects, and it will become necessary to attract all stakeholders, from the investor to the operator. To do so, it is imperative to federate all the players in the territory, to communicate effectively and also to provide potential investors and managers with effective monitoring tools for the destination. The appeal of destinations, and therefore their tourist income, is at stake. To ensure that they hold all the cards, resources must be decentralized to the territories so that each tourist destination can work alongside professionals to develop creative and relevant communication methods and promote the DNA of our territories.
Article by Georges Panayotis

It takes two to build, but only one to destroy

Hospitality ON ·23 May 2018
How can we imagine developing a product and a brand that are disembodied, cut off from their source of inspiration, with no link to what should feed them and help them progress? Today, large companies suffer from two major ills: a brutal and merciless transformation that does not wait for latecomers, the rupture that is on everyone's lips; and obvious management problems.Managers have been sidelined, in favor of robotisation, financiers and great strategists without anticipating in the medium term the devastating effects of a lack of management. Because those managers who are operational, who are the lines of communication between decision-makers and teams who bring down information and also pass it on to strategists, are the key to maintaining cohesion and staying the course. The revenge that strategists wanted to gain against managers by turning to digital cannot work.News from Air France and the SNCF clearly shows that a company cannot function without the support of its staff, inspired by a real manager who is there to steer the transformation. While the strategist may set the course, it is the manager who follows it, steering the ship through pitfalls and other obstacles. It would be a mistake to do without either of them as companies need both profiles to perform. Good strategists to guide but also good managers to accompany, federate and make employees adhere to the values and goals of the company.Yet, two worlds are evolving in parallel, sometimes confronting one another when they should be collaborating, management and its local vision in the face of strategy and its global vision. Only these two universes are totally interdependent. The top needs the bottom in our business to perform. To constantly transform and adapt its service but also the definition of its products and to be really in phase with the expectations of customers. Properties must be firmly rooted in their destinations because that is what customers expect. They don't just want a bed and breakfast, they want an experience both in the establishment and in the destination. Differentiation is not only between one property and another but also between one destination and another.Until now, the shortage of supply and strong demand linked to globalization have driven financiers to increase their selling prices. The quality/price ratio was greatly unbalanced. Employees have not been paid at their fair value, they have not been given the desire to stay and progress in contact with customers. And yet, we know that an inadequate and demotivated labour force is a fortiori detrimental to servuction in our professions! The other sectors do not deprive themselves of recruiting hotel professionals who are fond of their skills and their know-how.The breakup doesn't wait, it is necessary to adapt, to restructure and above all to know how to preserve its assets because a company is nothing without its living forces. We have never seen a successful company without employees who are involved, invested, motivated and federated, each of whom contributes their stone to the building by supplying the engine room with innovative ideas or simply by lending their smiles and faces on a daily basis and giving the establishments they work for a soul.
Article by Georges Panayotis

Those Who Adore Detesting, Are Now in Over Their Heads

Hospitality ON ·18 May 2018
Much progress has been made over the past 40 years in the accommodations sector! The new chain concepts have enabled the hotel business to develop considerably in France and Europe and, for some, in the rest of the world. Hotel groups are now number 1 on the old continent and the French hotel industry is one of the largest in Europe. This industry is thriving with very positive growth prospects and it is in full development. More tourists are arriving from all horizons and going to all destinations, what could be better!Our sector has become a magnet for young graduates. The days when the hotel business was a guild of innkeepers are over. The tourism industry offers opportunities to make any investor or entrepreneur dream. And to top it all off, this little world is collaborating and boundaries are being broken down.Real estate companies are working closely with franchisors to redefine products, franchisees are looking at a variety of brands to choose the right one based on potential demand and the location of their properties. Even builders are contributing their expertise to define their orders as they have a more complete view of technological developments. Professionals are clearly gravitating towards our sector. This is demonstrated by the success of our events that has forced us to push the walls in order to welcome them all. It is our great satisfaction to see participants exchange, share, celebrate innovation and all the transformations taking place in the sector. While some still lag behind, the movement is clearly underway.All these professionals who come together to share, debate and react are the driving forces of our sector. While their interests may diverge, the debate moves us forward and, in the end, everything is resolved as a family. The hotel business, once Colbertist in character, is now an open universe that while it certainly includes hotels in the strict and historical sense of the term (independent and undersigned) now also includes residences, residential leisure parks, hostels, hybrid establishments, a host of new concepts and so on... This is because of upheavals in recent decades, we agree, but the observation remains. The sector is changing and so much the better! It will come as no surprise that those specializing in decline are on their way out since there is no decline and, in our opinion, there will not be one.Investors are present, they have changed their image; while they sometimes shun France a little, they have a few years to catch up in terms of CAPEX, but they are there. Whether they are owners or single or multi-brand franchisees, all are ready to take risks and roll up their sleeves to create and progress. Professionals are also ready to roll out the red carpet for the Caisse des Depots, or any other French and foreign investor that effectively accompanies this changeHowever, it is our duty to promote the talents, imagination and creativity of our employees. It is thanks to them that we will be able to remain competitive by constantly developing our businesses and especially our products and concepts. We must make the new generations feel the potential for happiness and fulfillment in our professions and make our industry sexy and attractive. We must encourage employees at the bottom of the ladder to invest themselves in a long-term career in the hotel business and give them a glimpse of boundless career prospects. Many of the sector's managers and executives began at the bottom and have patiently climbed their way up to positions where they are now thriving.Edouard Philippe has established the Inter-ministerial Tourism Council to bring together accommodation providers, tour operators, destinations... Minister Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne announced he would draw inspiration from our work to inform the government's deliberations. We would be delighted to welcome the Prime Minister at the next Global Lodging Forum to present a plan of action to effectively support our profession and promote its development and profitability.We are undergoing a metamorphosis and are certainly not in our last molt. Many changes have already been made, but we will not go over them here. Make way for the future, for the development of our collaborations; We will always be there to gather, learn, analyze, debate and exchange, in short to detect, defend and accompany all these changes because we adore loving and building.
Article by Georges Panayotis

The Visitors 5: The Return

Hospitality ON ·24 April 2018
A recovery is wafting over Europe's economy, indicators are in the green, the time has come to reinvest. Our European destinations will fully benefit from this recovery. Less unemployment, better revenues, positive growth perspectives, all the ingredients are at hand to boost arrivals in tourism destinations.Experience shows that in recovery periods, it takes 3 to 5 years before the effects are felt on tourism activity, but cycles are shortening and the economic problems experienced by destinations in North Africa and the Middle East will naturally favor the transfer of tourist customers to our European destinations that are considered safer.All indicators converge to push us to reinvest in supply. Worldwide, the number of tourists is growing exponentially to reach 1.3 billion in 2017. In addition to such favorable development, which we should be delighted with, we should also be pleased with the growth prospects, and the very rapid development of digital technologies that enable us to know our customers better and serve them better.Although we work in a secular industry, we are fortunate to be in an ecosystem that, like the society whose trends it has always followed, is currently experiencing profound upheavals. These upheavals offer us infinite prospects that it is up to us to seize.Imagine Jacques Maillot, Gerard Bremond, Gilbert Trigano, Paul Dubrule and Gerard Pelisson as young entrepreneurs in 2018. Mr Booking, founder of the Tour Operating a la francaise with Nouvelles Frontieres, Mr Airbnb, founder of time shared second homes with Pierre&Vacances, Messieurs "servuctors" inventors of hotel and resort products including innovative leisure activities and services. They each revolutionized tourism between the 1960s and 1980s by breaking codes, providing complete and different offers with a strong identity and very good value for money. People came to Club Med to find heavenly destinations, leisure activities and out of the ordinary activities, conviviality and a strong spirit. They bought Nouvelles Frontieres products for a risk-free escape, they relied on the tour operator's expertise for exceptional destinations and to build an exotic and reassuring trip and stay at the right price.What would these "founding couples" of cruise products think? Cruise passengers invest billions of euros in the constant development and modernisation of their fleets. At the Global Lodging Forum, MSC Croisieres shared its 10-year investment plan (2017-2026) to the tune of 10 billion euros for the construction of 12 new ships, each capable of handling an average of 3,000 to 4,000 passengers. Costa Croisieres announced 7 ships under construction, including a very large carrier that will be able to accommodate up to 6,600 passengers. Who in the hotel business can boast such dynamism and confidence in the future? Especially when you know that ships must be 100% full to make their operation profitable. Let us recall here that cruise customers represent 27 million people transported each year, including 7 million Europeans and only 500,000 French. Products are constantly evolving and modernizing, each ship that leaves the shipyards is more efficient, less polluting, with services that are constantly evolving to satisfy customers to the maximum. The cruise product is booming and, no secrets, companies in the sector have never stopped investing and innovating.Meanwhile, if one of these founders were to go on holiday to a campsite, he would find that there too customers are the primary concern and the product has been focused on their needs.These great gentlemen would find palaces that are popular today with an ever-growing population of millionaires, but they would also find that the middle class has not evolved much and that much remains to be done for this segment. But as they are only passing through, a warning to the new generation. Because if nothing is done, the mid-range offer is likely to find itself sandwiched between the super-economy and the high-end, and invested by other products such as those from the sharing economy.The economy and mid-range offer, which has enjoyed its heyday, must be quickly revisited. Notice to the amateurs to take the torch and write the history of this category that represents more than half of the global offer.

Brand, management, and strategy: Craving M&Ms!

Hospitality ON ·18 April 2018
M&MS these are three magic letters to keep as a mantra. M for marque -brand- an image and notoriety that are indispensables to any company. M for management because without people, without their skills, a company is nothing. And, finally, S, for strategy, because without any long-term vision, a business cannot survive.To keep brands alive, it is necessary to be surrounded by designers, marketers, disruptors, chief digital officers who can develop brands and attractive products. Thanks to the creativity of the human mind they will find a way to speak to the client more readily than any algorithm or computer. It is also necessary to invest to build their renown, create a buzz and maintain their notoriety and their image. Lately, there has been a growing belief that with distribution, brands had become unimportant and unnecessary. That's a big mistake. Success is not just about market shares, leadership and product performance, it is also measured in terms of the emotional value of brands, which is indispensable in our profession where the competition is increasingly harsh.The world's hotel industry has major brands that have been established in the minds of consumers for many years, but some lose their aura because they have not been sufficiently refreshed. It comes as a surprise that distribution asks high commissions, but it must not be forgotten that it is the distribution that brings the customer, and no longer the brand. OTAs could have needed to create white label accommodations, as the food retail sector has done, but we offered them ours ready to go.Our little world has changed, and at the end of the day it's all for the better because these changes offer us new opportunities. Nonetheless, watch out for the disaster looming before us. No brands, no visibility, no voice in the chapter and no potential loyalty. If we ask guests how they choose their accommodations, it will come as no surprise when Booking, Expedia or Airbnb is the answer.Management is one of the cornerstones to business success. The new generation of millennials looks at their professional life differently than previous. It is important to adapt training and management to new generations. Pyramid structures are no longer adapted to the decision-making speed that is now required in the corporate world. Everyone must be able to develop their maximum autonomy and improve their skills.Nonetheless, we must ask ourselves the right questions. How is it possible for a sector as dynamic as ours, in full growth, with years of profitability behind it, to be struggling to recruit, to be so poorly valued? Maybe we haven't done everything to please.It is unthinkable to not have an integrated corporate strategy that is developed, visionary and shared with collaborators. It is impossible to create a short-term financial strategy that only weakens the company and its assets.The asset-light policy adopted by hotel groups is perfectly understandable for them to concentrate on their development and their core business that is the customer experience. But in a major industry like ours, it is necessary to look far ahead. It is necessary to have property owners that can make major investments to develop and modernize the supply to meet customer needs. Some foreign investors have been granted tax breaks, why not also offer them to French investors? This would make it possible to implement a dynamic and attractive supply policy, since landowners only ask to finance new projects and renovate existing ones when there is sufficient profitability. This must go hand in hand with the strategy of operators, brands, concepts and products, which must also be strong, attractive and perform well. Some concepts are no longer up to date and should disappear.
Article by Georges Panayotis

The French Hotel Supply Market: Nothing begets nothing!

Hospitality ON · 4 April 2018
While depending on the method - including listed hotels or not, those closed for works, in liquidation, permanently closed or even seasonally closed - figures for the hotel supply may differ... one thing is certain: the long-term trend is indisputable. In the best of cases there is stagnation, in the worst case a decrease, but in all cases, there has been a sharp drop in the hotel supply in suburbs and in small towns due to lack of demand and because of the heavy expenses these hotels must support. France, the world's leading tourist destination, with many treasures and many opportunities, is clearly under duress. Not only is the hotel supply not growing, but the destination is attracting fewer and fewer investors. The rise in property prices, the shrinking of hotels' operating accounts, the difficulty finding credit and the CDEC law back in its day, largely explain investors' disenchantment with this profession. Rather, we have witnessed its financialization with short-term operations that do not allow for the maintenance, development and healthy growth of the French hotel portfolio.Destinations such as the Cote d'Azur and Ile-de-France are becoming less attractive to tourists who are heading towards more "in" destinations such as the Catalan coast or cities such as London or Berlin. Because the rest of the world will not go on hold and continues to progress, to innovate, radiating with a dynamism that attracts increasing numbers of visitors.This year, the suburban budget hotel sector has fallen sharply. Old, out of breath, lacking brand image, this sector is no longer profitable and is sold for social housing. Neighborhoods with a bad reputation (whether usurped or based on reality), difficult access, or services unsuited to the current needs of customers, have gradually got the better of these properties. As for supplies in rural areas, it continues to shrink, visibly threatening the vitality of our countryside because these are sometimes the only economic activities that persist in areas often deserted. Victims of the suppression of signs leading to them, and sometimes badly managed, these truly French pearls are dying a slow death.The shortage of supply has greatly favored Airbnb in certain destinations. The arrival of the sharing supply and the development of hostels that make commercial accommodations in city centers more affordable are unforgiving. Why travel miles to sometimes underserved neighborhoods to sleep in unattractive establishments when you can stay in the latest fashionable establishment or right in the middle of a trendy neighborhood and have a different experience?There are no bad tools but bad craftsmen. It is time for everyone to roll up their sleeves and participate in the collective effort get busy. If we do not invest in our destinations, they will not survive. If we do not revitalize our hotel supply with attractive concepts adapted to the needs of our customers, tourists will no longer stay with us. It's obvious, why do basic when you can do simple, accessible, economical and innovative?It's quite clear: why stick to basics when it is possible to do simple, accessible, economical and innovative?Who will take matters into their own hands? Who will seek and find solutions to the French sickness? Is the government ready to mobilize all actors that stand a chance of boosting supply? Everyone must assume their responsibilities, state agencies must support hotel and tourism entrepreneurs instead of abandoning them, as the Caisse des Depots et Consignation was able to do by withdrawing from the capital of AccorHotels Group, Belambra, and Club Med for the benefit of Chinese investors. Let's bet that the French know-how which I hope will serve the development of hotel infrastructures in China will continue to prosper in its country of origin. As for the Qataris, who have invested well in French palaces, which we can only be satisfied with, why not offer facilitate things for French entrepreneurs as well? Why the double standards?Hoteliers need help playing their role, which is to constantly create and invent to attract customers. One thing is certain, if nothing begets nothing, with no new offer and no new investments, there will be no new market shares in sight and a great risk of losing those we have!
Article by Georges Panayotis

Make the hotel the most beautiful place on earth... opportunities to seize!

Hospitality ON ·28 March 2018
In order to attract and develop the loyalty of these clients, today it is all the more necessary to tell a story, make them dream, make them want to stay at your hotel... what could be more logical for a major group than to rely on its brands and reputation. Seems obvious, doesn't it? And yet, we question ourselves; we even sometimes worry when we see the direction some are headed in as they leave behind their brands' values to die after decades of renown.In today's consumer society one can get anything they want or need virtually immediately, anywhere and for (almost) anyone, so there is nothing worse than banality. It is precisely this banality that will kill the hotel product as surely as it caused the loss of other things that are now obsolete. The hotel industry has major brands built up in the consumer imagination for many years, but some have lost their aura as they are no longer fed. They are available in infinite varieties and lose all their substance. It is urgent to give creators and marketers back the opportunity to create and strengthen the brand universe; to do so it is necessary to strengthen their image.A not so distant horizon is looming where artificial intelligence will play an increasingly important role in our societies. It will take on many tasks carried out by humans until now and will also guide the consumer towards those products that correspond to him best thanks to big data diagnostics. It is therefore essential to work on one's brands to build their awareness and a strong image. Only a product, a concept, a hotel with a strong identity can stay afloat in the middle of a pool of accommodations that algorithms will sort through for the consumer. Vey soon that same algorithm will very soon send consumers offers selected from their information trails left on the web. It will no longer be about asking the consumers "what do you want?" but rather for hotel groups to look at their strengths and assets and create the right experience and product to fit these details.It is thus important to surround oneself with creative people, marketers, professionals who will be able to build attractive brands and products. Who thanks to the creativity of the human brain will discover how to address the customer with more assurance than an algorithm or a machine. Henry Ford rightly remarked, "If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have told me faster horses." Indeed, looking to the customer alone for suggestions is not how we innovate. Market research exists to finalize the product and complete its positioning, but without the initial impulse of creative people whose human genius has already advanced businesses, mediocrity rises, substance is lost and brands are weakened. Some groups (Accor, IHG, Marriott...) have repositioned their brands by creating megabrands especially on the economy segment. This same work on image and notoriety needs to be done for superior categories. There is still a long way to go and there are many things to create to remain competitive against hybrid products that speak the 2.0 (or even 4.0) language much better than the dinosaurs in the hotel industry that are less agile. Some of their products (Formula 1, Balladins...) located on the outskirts of cities are closing because they are no longer up to date due to product repositioning. These hotels, which no longer satisfy customers, are taken over by social organizations, as the insecurity in these destinations accentuated the collapse.However, hotel groups nonetheless retain the strength of their reputation, the skills of their employees and years of experience in the hotel business. Now it is necessary to develop and maintain the small spark that will allow them to shine on the national and international scene by offering attractive products that meet the ever more diverse needs of an increasingly demanding and better-informed clientele. This is an exciting challenge for those who are up to it!

The Sharing Economy: In Europe, we made a "Bang" but it wasn't "Big"

Hospitality ON ·21 March 2018
The sharing economy is a generous concept, but it is one with which Latin societies are not very familiar. Latin populations are rather attached to their properties, and have a difficult time sharing them with others. The company Gobee Bike which drew from the French market in a blatant illustration of the lack of respect in France (where the population is more accustomed to associative operations) for things that do not belong to them.Uber entered full throttle, suffered violent setbacks from the taxi corporation in France, and is suffering in Greece. The outcry is also heard from its drivers. Meanwhile, the company has sought to diversify its activity by offering Uber Eats - whose economic balance has yet to be demonstrated in the face of competitors who have been established for longer - and, recently, a service to take patients to the hospital.And how about Airbnb, which will celebrate its 10th anniversary next August and is now valued at $30 billion. It is shifting from a concept of private rentals, to a discreet and marginal use of the platform by accommodation professionals, to finish with the recent announcement of a section dedicated to boutique hotels. The company even offers a quality guarantee via an "Airbnb Plus" label paid for by the owners (120EUR) for which an auditor goes on site and checks the standing of the accommodations. In short, Airbnb is losing his soul. Will this change be successful? Nothing could be less certain considering the results of Trip Advisor's transfer. The change in the platform's business model from an online review site to one that monetizes the rankings of hotels and restaurants on its pages has not been successful. The online advisory firm has gone from a valuation of nearly 12 billion dollars in October 2015 to barely 4.5 billion dollars at the end of 2017. A word to the wise...These so-called sharing economy companies are setting up and growing in a legal vacuum by proposing innovative or even revolutionary concepts in certain cases. But few manage to swivel around within their concept to adapt to new regulations and to lobby groups that take shape... In a desire to become ever bigger, entrepreneurs lose their souls as they forget their fundamental concept and philosophy.These so-called sharing economy companies are setting up and growing in a legal vacuum by proposing innovative or even revolutionary concepts in certain cases. But few manage to swivel around within their concept to adapt to new regulations and to lobby groups that take shape... In a desire to become ever bigger, entrepreneurs lose their souls as they forget their fundamental concept and philosophy.This pitfall can only be beneficial for traditional commercial accommodations that work in compliance with regulations and develop an economic model and products that have long met their customers' expectations. This does not mean, however, that we should rest on our laurels; on the contrary, it is necessary to fight, to improve properties again and again, as well as operations, to seek profitability by relying on the tools now available thanks to the development of digital... The real problem is to know who will invest the necessary CAPEX and what a brand without CAPEX is worth.An economic war is brewing, as we shift from a period of open borders - which has resulted in increased imbalances - to an era of exacerbated protectionism. As it withdraws into itself, Europe finds itself in an uncomfortable position because its very essence is the opening up of the single market both internally and externally. Web giants are American or Chinese and they have growing influence on the consumer. Google, for example, absorbs 89% of searches through its search engines alone; Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google together weigh over $3 trillion. But it would be wrong to believe that all is said and done, there is still time to act and to anticipate the crisis that is brewing. Make no mistake, in the end the consumer will decide. Faced with increasingly expensive products, he will look for substitutes.Protectionism, taxation, inequalities, compensation of unskilled workers, the race for profit, dividends, inflation... all these ingredients combine perfectly to create an unstable and dangerous cocktail. Long-established companies, with solid business models, should have all the cards in hand to win, but the battle will be tough and merciless. Right now, the answer to these issues can only come from the European Union.

Growing a small business: Fruit bearing trees must be tended to!

Hospitality ON ·13 March 2018
Agriculture represented 714,000 jobs in 2014 compared to 899,000 jobs for hotels and restaurants. France's granary brings in 32.1 billion euros per year, or 1.5% of the GDP, compared to 7.2% for tourism, which brings in 160 billion euros of domestic consumption. The agriculture sector - which is essential to the health of our economy and to our health in general - has been subsidized since the birth of the common agricultural policy more than 50 years ago, while hotels and restaurants generate foreign exchange and taxes which are used to finance the state budget. In 2015, 282.6 million euros were paid to municipalities and local authorities via the tourist tax. Don't throw any more...While global groups are able to absorb debt, implement tools and processes to make economies of scale, and have an international base that allows them to withstand periods of crisis in certain destinations, independent hotel and restaurant owners must maintain their activities alone, against all odds. More than 95% of companies in France have less than 20 employees. Hoteliers and restaurateurs operating in rural areas, produce value for a region, hire and train locally and often find themselves alone to manage their business and maintain it with respect to market competitiveness standards.Hotels and restaurants are long-term investments in a territory. They support the dynamism of a tourist destination that can build a coherent offer around a coherent offer of accommodations. It is a workforce trained in French excellence that has seen the birth of the cuisine of star chefs. The culture of French gastronomy has now been exported but its reputation is international and the whole world envies us. We must not forget the importance of our sector. While it is laudable to come to assist the weakest, it is dangerous to only turn to those who are loudest and forget about an industry that is less significant from an electoral point of view despite being much more important for the vitality of our economy.Why is it that cafetiers, hoteliers and restaurateurs who spend their days in the kitchen are taxed more than large companies? Why is it that independent accommodations and restaurants receive so little help for the day-to-day management of their business? Why is a small property taxed on the same basis as a multinational? Is it not possible to relax certain regulations for small craftsmen, as is the case in other sectors? It is not a question of asking for less from independent properties, but rather of asking for better and for helping them to maintain their activity that is vital to the quality of our reception. Indeed, we are not talking about the hotel groups that are established in rural areas where tourists go for a just few weeks a year, but rather about independent properties are active most of the year with an open cafe, the organization of events...The time has come to consider the sector for its true value and to accompany it in its transformation for its sustainability and for the attractiveness of our destinations. The hotel and restaurant industry is a sector that is thriving; it has reinvented itself and continues to evolve. If we continue taking advantage of the beast instead of accompanying it as it evolves, we risk cutting off its wings.
Article by Georges Panayotis

Unlearning to learn also means inventing

Hospitality ON ·21 February 2018
The model of Fordism, based on a virtuous cycle of improved mass production, resulting in markedly improved results and therefore better remuneration for employees, was the first step towards drastic changes in the working world. The quality circles introduced in Japan in the 1960s by Kaoru Ishikawa, and which arrived in Europe in the 1980s, have allowed the Land of the Rising Sun, through mastery of manufacturing and strict quality control, to develop exponentially in terms of productivity and to considerably expand their catchment area due to the quality and competitiveness of the products offered. In the United States, once again, another milestone was reached with the development of Silicon Valley, the cradle of the digital industry, which has been transformed through the fertile ground of the electronics industry. Apple was born in 1976, Amazon in 1984 and Booking in 1996; in short, the digital empire did not grow over night.Humans are the driving force behind all these transformations. Well-trained operational staff are sentinels who can help companies adapt their strategy, development plans, products to underlying trends.... While quality continuing education is essential to the good health of groups, the same is true for initial training. Schools and universities have offered training for several decades and even more than 100 years for some; but have they all kept abreast of changes in professions, the skills and needs of our companies in order to train tomorrow's professionals so they can contribute something through their vision, knowledge, dynamism and passion to the groups they will join? The question deserves to be asked.Likewise, hoteliers should not remain spectators of the changes taking place within their trades and environments, they should embrace them. They must also give their employees the opportunity to incubate projects that could become the strength of groups tomorrow. Some have understood it, such as Marriott with its Testbed program. Marriott has been encouraging start-ups to come to their doorstep since last year through a competition organized with the possibility of testing their concept in Marriott hotels in Europe or the Lab Canvas for catering. The French group AccorHotels has been investing in digital for 4 years now by buying high-potential companies and hiring executives who are experienced in digital technology. They are developing partnerships to bring digital technology into their properties, such as the Business Check project in conjunction with Linkedin, which enables business travelers to connect with one another at the group's properties. It is also introducing chatbots through the PhilWelcome application, which communicates with the group's clients in French and English. The sale of part of its assets will enable AccorHotels to boost its investments in the park's development and intensify its digital efforts.No one knows his or her job and its needs better than a hotelier to direct young start-ups to develop products, interfaces, software and whatever else is needed to facilitate the work of operational staff, decision making and even create a real competitive advantage by creating a "wow" effect to boost an offer that may be outdated and far from cutting edge. By cultivating difference and excellence, new products and new concepts will emerge that will be able to conquer tomorrow's clientele.
Article by Georges Panayotis

Rights need a helping hand

Hospitality ON ·13 February 2018
More than 400 years ago Moliere said: it is not always enough to be on the right side; sometimes a little extra help is needed, a little nudge that makes it possible to go further and succeed. The tourism industry reports an impressive bill of health with 20 years of steady growth that can be expected to continue for years to come. Just over 60 years ago, 50 million travelers journeyed the world around. Today, there are more than 1.3 billion.The tourism sector represents 5% annual growth on average, 1 in 10 jobs worldwide and 8 to 15% of the GDP of developed countries. In France in 2016, the sector accounted for 49 billion euros in revenues and 2 million direct and indirect jobs. An iron constitution, steady growth, a development of the offer which is far from compensating for the growth in demand, trades covering all the chains of skills: from the technician to welcome staff, middle management and even the company's boss.... What could be better? So why does this sector, which is such a driving force for the global economy and so in tune with the changes in our society, receive so little consideration from our governments?What have our governments done to support our industry and increase its development potential? Why was it slow to protect companies from raids by pension funds? Why didn't we protect hoteliers from the internet giants? How are we helping territories maintain quality and renew the supply? How is investment promoted? How are entrepreneurs in the sector encouraged? How do we make tourism sectors attractive to young graduates? How do we restore pride in the profession? How can we promote jobs in hospitality? How do we support VSE entrepreneurs to facilitate management of businesses with a strong need for manpower? How are regulations streamlined to support the sector and maintain its competitiveness?The results are poor, because for decades we have passed from do-nothing committees to meetings among ourselves, forgetting to address tourism entrepreneurs. We define great strategies, we launch great studies, we extract fabulous figures from them - when they are not erroneous - but to what end? If each individual tries to make more noise than the person next to them, to announce good numbers first and pretend to be an expert in the tourism sector, the machine is exhausted because resources are scattered, actions are not coordinated and the sector is divided. Turf squabbles and other selfish battles are murderous.The United States, China and the Middle East are investing and developing their offer very actively, while in France the hotel supply is stagnating in volume and ageing badly. If we are able to attract foreign investors, why can't we encourage French investors to participate in the development of their economy? Are we on the move to listen to the profession? Are we proud and do we value successful companies? Do we agree to give them back their role so they can innovate, create jobs and develop a new supply? This is the way to remain competitive on the international stage; if everyone stays on their own turf and if objectives are not shared and clearly defined, France will continue to lose its splendor as a destination. Although tourist numbers in France are still high, it is also true that French destinations are losing market shares compared to their international competitors, and yet destinations continue to brag while resting on their laurels. The danger is that companies in the sector are becoming less and less profitable, and they are unable to make the CapEx investments necessary to renovate their products, let alone re-launch a supply in the quantity and quality needed to restore the industry to its rightful position on the international scene.
Article by Georges Panayotis

Change is good

Hospitality ON ·23 January 2018
Today, the situation has changed. No matter what we say, the hotel sector is not a priority for our government. On the one hand, the welfare state is no longer there and the consumer society has changed drastically. To adapt to the current context, hotel groups have sold their assets to investors with longer-term profitability objectives. The owner of the trademark is no longer the owner of the walls. On the other hand, the giants of the web have absorbed distribution, which in turn offers a turnkey solution to hotel owners by giving them the power of the Internet network to reach new customers. Although the transition has not been smooth, there is no doubt about the role played by online booking platforms.It is no longer a question of hotel chains orienting their franchised hotels, but rather a customer/supplier relationship. As each owner-operator has invested considerable sums of money, he expects his franchisor to provide concrete logistical assistance and support that will help his property become more profitable. Hotel operators are no longer passive, they have become active, they must be convinced and will choose the products, solutions and services adapted to their properties. Hotel chains must innovate once again, they must rework the product/market pair so that it corresponds well to the reality of the needs of the end customer and also of their business partner, the franchisee. It is important to give the operators not only tools but also a strong brand that stands out for the customer by tapping into their imagination. The facts of the equation have changed in a few decades, it is no longer a question of reassuring the guest but of making them dream to develop a strong attachment to a brand that must resonate with their own values and encourage them to remain faithful to the brand's products.By innovating in terms of products, promoting economies of scale to regain productivity, training staff in new technologies, and providing the robotization necessary to give vitality to operating accounts... the brands will justify their remuneration. The change in the way that hoteliers have served their customers with increasingly individualized proposals has been gradual. Groups would be wise to consider their ties with franchised properties in a similar way.The real competition and production of service happens locally. It is vital for groups to get back in touch with the field to be more responsive and provide each of the properties under their banner with useful answers to maximize profits and facilitate day-to-day management. It is indeed the product manufactured on this scale that will give hotel owners new impetus to win back their clientele.Hotel chains can take destination marketing back under their control, by way of operational marketing and training hotel staff. Because only the field teams know their territory well and bring a relevant offer to the hotel's clientele.The hotel business has not completed its transformation and if cycles repeat themselves, they nonetheless change. It's worth the risk, but we need to put our cards on the table and renew with the culture of a partnership that is profitable for both parties in the long term. In the end, change is good.

Renovate to innovate

Hospitality ON ·16 January 2018
This productivity issue must therefore be faced head-on and reinvent ourselves, because today's hotel owner can no longer be a mere innkeeper. He must rethink how space and time are used, especially during the day, with day use and coworking among other things... the time has come to export - on the franchisee side as well - just as the big names in French cuisine have done for a long time now. Why are French hoteliers so reluctant to globalize, when success just may be accessible?In order to succeed in a world where value for money is being restored to its rightful place, it will be necessary to work on concepts. All that is "collaborative" has been widely criticized lately, but its legitimacy is partly due to the fact that we have not innovated enough in our sector. France is full of exceptional heritage (such as castles, public buildings, monuments, museums, etc.) that tourism and hotel operators could put to better use if they were able to reach new customers and offer new experiences - which the new platforms can make possible. At a time when sustainable development is a fundamental trend, what could be better than to be able to "recycle" the existing buildings that consitute the charm of our regions?In all areas, new concepts and new niches are just waiting to emerge. One example lies in the evolution of public opinion regarding medicines, systematic care through chemistry, and the rise of alternative approaches where food often plays a central role. This is, of course, an opportunity to develop F&B concepts (naturalness, vitamins, organic...), and perhaps even revive entire industries and territories. Look at our spas or tourist resorts: in many cases, time - and the Capex - seem to come to a standstill somewhere in the last century. Perhaps these new concepts will rejuvenate them tomorrow. All that is old once held life and we would be well advised to capitalize on our roots and those of our customers who are a powerful engine when it comes to building and innovating on solid foundations and bringing strong differentiation to our products.Socialisation and artificial intelligence are the two legs on which the new concepts must be based. Creating interaction between empathy and the effectiveness brought by artificial intelligence will allow us to better respond to customers' desires and expectations.In order to succeed in this endeavour, it will not only be necessary to recycle old recipes, but also to find, for all products, the new key factors that will make the difference for each customer profile. In short, it is time to open up a new cycle in which "socialization" and "customer experience" will no longer be peripheral services but core services of our products.
Article by Georges Panayotis

2018, a fresh start for France's tourism industry!

Hospitality ON ·10 January 2018
As the new year begins, it's not a bad idea to look behind us. Such moments of introspection can help us get ahead. A look at Paris illustrates all we need to do to improve France's tourism development.Paris's supply has long been insufficient in light of the destination's appeal and the constant increase in the number of tourists traveling worldwide. For many years, for example, it was difficult to find rooms in Paris during major events. This has had its consequences on the development of collaborative hosting and price increases.To complete introspection, we must recognize that the image of our destination has been gradually spoiled. Terrorist attacks, mediocre reception, purse-snatching, rudeness of Parisians who see tourists as intruders... are as many filters that have slowly conspired to veil the brilliance of the City of Light.France, which has exported new hotel concepts for the past forty years, is now being overtaken by England, the Netherlands and Germany. What policies and incentives should be implemented to stimulate innovation and creativity in the hotel and tourism industry? New concepts are essential to renewing and completing the French and Parisian offer and to developing the appeal of its territories.Tourists' have many expectations and these evolve very quickly. Until now the City of Paris has prioritized the demands of its residents, meaning its voters, with little concern for satisfying its tourists. Was this a good policy? Was it realistic to want to make tourism a national priority without listening to the needs of tourists?In order for the destination to have a positive and attractive image worldwide, it must change how it welcomes tourists; in comparison to other European capitals the difference is gradually increasing. Entertainment and events are important for attracting tourists and making them come back. They are also positive for residents who see their cities differently and benefit from the financial windfall generated by tourist spending. They must be developed while ensuring cohabitation is harmonious and beneficial for all.We must work together to improve the visitor's experience from the moment of their arrival to choosing accommodation options in terms of range and type, and the leisure activities available. Transportation also requires extensive improvement, and increasingly connected tourists require Internet access... Supply and infrastructure must be renovated, improved and developed to meet the current standards of international tourists' expectations. The refurbishment of the area at the foot of the Eiffel Tower is one of the countless projects that must be carried out to restore the capital to its former glory. It has just been launched with the project "Grand site Tour Eiffel: Discover, approach, visit" but the City of Paris must not stop there.It is time to prepare ourselves for battle to win back the favor international opinion, tourism development policies are infinite. The fact the Olympic Games in 2024 will be held in Paris is a strong and very positive signal that must be exploited to the fullest extent. This sector allows us to gather and build together in spite of differences and adversity, as the President of the Republic has urged us to do.I would like to wish all an excellent year of recovery, and set off full sail with our sights set on the 100 million tourists around the world!

Pulling on the grass won't make it grow...

Hospitality ON ·19 December 2017
Desperate times call for desperate measures. The planet is overheating and each and every one of us plays a role in this battle against climate deregulation. The French government wishes to be a forerunner leading the battle to preserve our ecosystems. In the meantime, hoteliers can do their share of the job and participate in the attack, but for that to happen they need some concrete assistance that is useful and can be mobilized.Of course, there are measures to promote the energy transition but they are not enough, the hotel loan is capped at 400,000 euros for example, a drop in the bucket when it comes to the expenses that go into renovating or creating a property. Professionals in the sector did not wait for the government to make progress on these fronts. Reduction of energy consumption, waste reduction, insulation, the development of shorter circuits and the use of automation are all levers for substantial savings.Sustainable development is a driving force for innovation, development and communication. The sector has everything to gain by rushing into the rift to become the flagship of an "ecologically correct" nation and showcase leading edge and attractive destinations. Hotels have long been forerunners in terms of housing, offering comfort standards and state-of-the-art facilities, but this period is over thanks to the democratization of consumer products. Investing in sustainable development will make it possible to regain the advantage and recover the "wow effect".A great deal of progress has already been made, with operators, manufacturers and suppliers working together on new solutions. The "Village Nature" program developed by Pierre&Vacances Center Parcs near Eurodisney is a good example of the profession's desire to move towards increased sustainability. But what did it take to develop the complex? From the birth of the idea in 2003 to the laying of the first stone in 2014 and the official opening a few months ago - when it was originally planned for the end of 2016 - some 15 years passed.The hotel industry is a highly employment-intensive sector, generating significant economic windfall as well as taxes. Our sector faces competition from digital companies that do not play by the same rules, and must go to war on unequal terms. The threat has also arrived on other fronts with the strong crises that have passed through several tourist destinations as a result of the terrorist attacks that have shaken the world. While the sector has come out of the slump in Europe, it has been weakened, undermined by months and months of declining activity. The machine has started again but will never be able to make up for months of shortfall. The decline in the hotel supply in France, while it is growing rapidly elsewhere in the world, gives rise to questions. Where will we house the 100 million tourists expected by 2020?The government can rely on a dynamic and well-structured sector to anchor and grow sustainable development in the territory, but to do so it must invest the resources and firmly support the sector in this direction. As with any large-scale project, the key is to launch it and implement concrete actions to encourage the development of a hotel supply that will have fully completed its energy transition. The hotel business is not grass, which can be mowed at will and which always grows back. New seeds will have to be brought in and patiently watered to improve the image of France as a destination for tourists and make it more appealing.

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