Celts, Germans, Latin, Greeks, Slavs... European peoples have secular civilizations rooted in their territory with extremely varied cultural models. By drawing on this cultural richness, European countries have a strong asset to promote. Just as the Renaissance era, rocked by the return to its roots, was a moment of unprecedented influence for the Old Continent, today we must not overlook the strength of this cultural abundance.
Many treasures embellish Europe
The hotel business began several centuries ago with post houses. This history has led to the emergence of many properties in strategic geographical areas and the linking of destinations throughout Europe with properties that are undergoing rapid change. For some, these accommodations have become jewels that have successfully repositioned themselves in their territories and transformed them into veritable destinations with leisure sites, transportation, restaurants.... In the digital age, many people today can do without economies of scale by capitalizing on digital tools to simplify, streamline and multiply. New technologies also make it possible to consider the creation or conversion of a positive-energy building to achieve operating savings. Tools for change are now available! And this is only the beginning....
For European countries, tourism represents an important share of the GDP. Nearly 20% in Greece, nearly 15% in Spain, 13% in Italy, more than 10% in Germany, 7% in France, to cite just a few in Europe. In the USA tourism represents 7.7% of the GDP and in China that figure is 11%.
Europe remains by far the leading tourist destination, welcoming more than half of the 1.4 billion people 2018 who travel worldwide. Global forecasts for the sector show that it is in excellent health; this market share must continue to be developed as the pie is growing bigger and bigger from one year to the next.
Small is beautiful
Hospitality is developing, models are evolving to better meet the expectations of each customer. More services, more flexibility, with emphasis on common areas... The hotel sector in Europe is very different from that of its neighbors in the east or the west. In the USA, big is beautiful, but in Europe it tends to be small is beautiful. The United States is home to skyscrapers and gigantic supermarkets, which are operating less and less well in Europe where customers are demanding proximity and authenticity the most. Whatever the product consumed, including hosting. There are far fewer high capacity hotels in Europe and so much the better. The comprehensive coverage of the European territory with human-scale units is an asset.
Think global, but act local
Europe's hospitality sector is experiencing renewed vitality and must capitalize on its uniqueness: a more human-scale offer that is less standardized, less "big" than America's offer. Located in cultural and holiday destinations that are not far from economic centres of interest.
The economy and mid-range supply is much more present in Europe than in the USA, and with standardization in place for a long time that is much better controlled than in China. This is an opportunity for hospitality professionals. By cultivating our singularities, our culture, our heritage... we will be able to offer tourists a unique model.
Before we were fortunate enough to have important industrialists to develop concepts on a large scale, today we are fortunate enough to have entrepreneurs who are rooted in their territories and who exercise their passion in the field. Hoteliers need strong brands, but some also require customized services adapted to their size and specific requirements. Hotel groups must meet these expectations with a range of services that offer good value for money.
Everyone, owner, operator, investor, manager, project leader... has their role to play in getting on board this competitive train. The franchisees, the real bosses, have joined the ranks of independent hoteliers. Together, these owners represent more than 80% of the EU's hotel inventory. However, it would appear that not all these entrepreneurs are receiving the attention of European, national or even local authorities. It is time to listen to them and move forward with them. Because it is necessary to invest, reinvest, update, develop, invent, innovate, advance... products that have sometimes suffered too much from the disengagement of their investors. To do this, we must go back to the local DNA of each destination. Europe is never stronger than when it values its cultures. It is not by copying models that have been successful elsewhere that we will achieve our success, but by turning to our roots to offer our customers what they expect. An unexpected, unique and memorable experience.
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