Georges Panayotis' column

14 March 2017

Crystal clear!

Georges Panayotis

There is no magical solution for success: audacity, tenacity, inventiveness are all present. The profession has understood the need to evolve to survive. If these elements provide the essential ingredients, the secret ingredient - the one that makes a good family dinner worthy of the best tables - is missing. The hotel industry may have found its secret ingredient: transparency, which becomes primordial in light of the many expectations of consumers who want clear information.

The evolution of the hotel industry is in full swing and products and services are changing to better meet customers' needs. It is high time we stopped admiring ourselves within the calm development of tourism clientele like Narcissus. It is wiser to rise up and look around to see the whole picture. The surges are more turbulent; on this rolling sea everyone must hold their course fearless of going overboard and without leaving anyone behind.

Regardless of the type of offer, it is important to be positioned within the range of customer expectations. To be able to reassure and inform the client is one of the levers for cementing relations and preventing disappointments that could ruin their experience. Transparency is not a strong word. It is even a central concept for meeting the growing numbers and variety of needs. Who buys a car without knowing the exactly what options, "equipment and performances they are about to buy? Decisions are difficult to make when it is not clear what lies behind the product? Offering a spacious and comfortable room is a good way to generate disproportionate expectations on the client's behalf client, while informing them clearly about the surface area of spaces and products and services available is reassuring and simplifies ties to the hotelier. For American clientele Parisian hotel rooms have a tough time competing with the rooms that guests are accustomed to in their home country. Providing consumers with clear information about what they are buying is elementary to the purchase. According to Steve Jobs: "Most people do not know what they want until they have seen it."

Price and availability are no longer all that matter. During an extremely competitive period in which new arrivals have "disrupted" established models and increased their supply, the shortage of accommodations is only valid at certain destinations that continue to be victims of their success. Hoteliers are working to modernize the product and adapt it to today's clientele but this change must go hand in hand with clear communications. In terms of room equipment, materials used, precise provenance of food, presence of allergens, ties with the territory... are all keys allowing each to stay in the destination game and cultivate differences. Making an effective, striking and attractive offer, and provide the stuff dreams are made of with authentic, qualitative and differentiated products is another step towards maintaining the health of the hotel industry.

Internet has revolutionized shopping, so today's potential tourists have multiple sources of information to help choose their destination, and websites for online reviews rely on this need for reassurance. In order to regain control over its communication, accommodations may choose to be transparent with guests thus renew ties with the client. In this way shedding its disguise as one of Panurge's sheep to leave the herd and regain control over its e-reputation.

Publication director