If you want to fly too high, you end up burning your wings

A long time ago, a popular singer made a hit with his song: “Even if it rains, the summer will be hot, hot, hot, from the Côte d'Azur to Saint-Malo”. Its contemporary and trade translation corresponds to the very optimistic expectations of accommodation operators in terms of bookings and revenue generated by the next Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Just a year ago, and even six months ago, many had somewhat unreasonable hopes on the arrival of Olympic supporters ready to pay lavishly to attend an event billed as exceptional.

The media were even moved by the stratospheric prices charged here and there in hotels which believed that the Olympic goose was really going to lay golden eggs. They were followed by all the apartment owners, convinced that several hundred euros per day for a small studio was acceptable for JOP 2024 fans.

Reality set in over the months, when the status of bookings became clearer; when the generous allocations taken by partners and sponsors returned to the market; when the participants in the Olympic Games naturally balanced their expenses between the tickets and the cost of the Parisian stay.

The sky finally has its limits and, in reference to Icarus who wanted to fly too close to the sun, hopes melted like the wax on his wings. Let's put it into perspective, this is not the fatal fall and even disappointing over the JOP period alone, the summer results will be generally satisfactory.

Concern too quickly replaced euphoria in view of the slowdown “On the book” and the absence of “Last minute sales”. And yet, the Olympic phenomenon is not exceptional. Its impact on hospitality has been studied and dissected in previous editions. Although they are not quite the same, they are not that different.

You also need to look at the consequences on the medium term. The benefit of major events like the Olympic Games is measured both by the media coverage which benefits the destination, when everything has gone well, and by the acceleration of public facilities which will benefit residents and tourists alike.

In summary, summer will be good. It won't be a heatwave, if we continue with the climatic metaphor, but RevPAR will do very well for a summer period in Paris and in some large host cities. Its expected growth can be attributed more to the average prices charged and accepted than to a massive influx of customers.

In short, there’s no need to panic or rub your hands excessively. The hotel industry will emerge satisfied, but will it be completely unscathed in terms of image? As an industry, we should recognize mistakes made and learn from them. Collectively, the hospitality industry has not managed its preparation or its communication well.

We could have avoided the negative spotlight on the denounced greed of certain hospitality professionals. All of them could have better managed their different distribution channels and better anticipated activity levels by looking at the models proposed for a long time by market experts.

Barring major events, and recent news shows that we are not immune to last-hour surprises, the Olympic Games will be a good deal for Parisian trade hosts. Popular enthusiasm was surprising when the Olympic flame arrived, generating significant economic benefits. If there was a morality to be found, it would be to have more confidence in the tools of reasoned market analysis. They are more sophisticated than excessive enthusiasm or than temporary depression.

Picture made with DALL. E

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