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Editorial

Recognition from the State is needed more than its knowledge

Mama Shelter, 25 Hours, Jo&Joe, M Gallery, Tribe, Radisson RED, Radisson Collection, Aiden, Sadie, Glo, Vib, Moxy, Autograph Collection, Luxury Collection, Renaissance Hotels, Indigo, Kimpton, voco, nhow, NH Collection, Hampton by Hilton, Motel One, Citizen M, Meininger, eklo, OKKO... The European offer is undergoing a major transformation, new hybrid concepts are flourishing but at the same time, part of the historic supply is running out of steam. Not enough CAPEX, so the ageing offer reflects a negative image of the destination... While this strategy works in times of shortage it should not hide the problems of part of the French hotel supply.

Glancing off the mark
 

It should be remembered that the hotel ranking was created to protect the consumer, but it would appear that the arrow was off target. Some took the opportunity to increase their prices, resulting in an unhealthy imbalance between customer expectations and the product offered.  Moreover, operating accounts were artificially inflated. The second perverse effect is the rise in property prices in areas under stress, which has benefited both financiers through realized capital gains and the government through recovered taxes, with no benefit to operators. In any case, the initial objective has clearly not been achieved.

 

On the one hand, in the entry-level segment, we do not know where to put the Meininger, Mama Shelter and others such as citizen M that sometimes offer much more comprehensive services than a traditional mid-range property. Classification criteria are obsolete, based on m² and room services without taking into account the new expectations of customers who are ready to "sacrifice" an expansive private space as soon as they are offered an extraordinary experience and a number of services that really meet their needs.

 

At the other end of the range, there are also questions about the distinction of “Palace”. Would there be "palaces" and "not quite palaces"? Do all the 2,716 rooms (including 1,705 in Paris) in designated palaces offer services worthy of this historic classification? Like some Michelin-starred restaurants that want to leave the ranks, there are some hotels that question the value of being named a “palace" when their own brand image is often stronger than this label. More than the mythical place guests are seeking unique experiences that cannot be found in all palaces.

What about the guest??

This is not surprising because from the moment the consumer was not involved in this consideration, this classification was doomed to obsolescence. A ranking must reflect consumer perception if it is to be deemed valid. This discrepancy between the classification criteria and reality can be counterproductive for both destinations and operators. In a globalized market, more than ever, development and repositioning of supply is necessary; without it we will be unable to attract new demand. We need strong and attractive products, in tune with the latest trends and the ranking hinders the emergence of new French concepts. Society and consumer habits are evolving at a breathtaking pace, you have to be able to keep up in order to maintain credibility.

Cruise operators have reevaluated their products and services, the outdoor hotel offer is changing, and resorts are also refocusing their offers on the customer. Now, it is time for hoteliers to enter this new era on the same level. They have long thrown themselves into distribution body and soul. This battle being lost, a superior strategy would be to invest in a product-oriented policy.

The State would contribute more by investing and promoting French destinations. It can rely on professionals and launch a dialogue on technical subjects without forgetting to consult with consumers about their needs and expectations.

Hoteliers need recognition from the State, not its supposed knowledge which is out of step with the realities of the market.

Georges Panayotis

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