Safety, security, digital, strategy and other crucial issues for hoteliers were discussed during the second day of the Global Lodging Forum. Experts and professionals in the sector shared their vision, their desire, their wishes, and everyone shared the desire to move forward, to conquer and to progress.
Also read citations and highlights from the first 2 days of the 2019 edition of the Global Lodging Forum:
- #GLF 2019: "Only time and ice will decide"
- #GLF19 | "The first customer is the employee, who also must live an experience"
A few photos from the event are available HERE.
It is difficult to talk about "crisis management", the expression is almost an oxymoron. In essence, a crisis cannot be managed: the crisis is always the unknown, despite preparation, it is the unexpected that makes the crisis. Nevertheless, we must be prepared, precisely to reduce the crisis, to reduce the risk, which is unknown. And the situation is not so bad. On terrorism risk, for example: there have been no attacks on hotels in Europe, although the risk persists in Africa and the Middle East. And as for risks related to social discontent with near riots in December, there too the situation was not catastrophic for the hospitality industry. According to my sources, the riots are mainly the work of two groups: small thugs for petty crime, and black blocks,who are radical and political activists, often from the far left. However, the former were only interested in the shops to do their shopping, while the latter only saw the symbols, such as Fouquets. Hotels have been spared, and are not in immediate danger.
René Georges Querry, security expert
After favorable momentum between 2012 and 2018, what are the prospects for the hotel industry, for Europe, for the world? The rescue of the banks was at the expense of the middle classes, and in the process we lost the citizens of democracies. The risk appears everywhere: the rise of populists in Italy, France, Brexit, clashes between China and the United States, tax on steel and aluminium imports in the United States, and therefore on transport and automobile companies. North American leadership is coming to an end, capitalism's centre of gravity is shifting towards Asia, and new customers are emerging with the rise of the middle classes in the southern countries. That is the outlook.
Nicolas Baverez, economist and historian
Some tips for digitization: you have to start quickly.In our digital industry, the dominant model is not the big eat the small, but the fast overtake the slow. SNCF created its own site, OUI SNCF, in 2000. At the time, 1% of sales are made via digital and only 14% of French people had Internet access. We got off to an early start. And we are continuing in this perspective: thinking against ourselves, being attentive, never mocking, never skeptical - which is all too French. So, whoever says he knows how consumerism will be in 10 years' time is wrong, he is wrong, worse he is probably a little dangerous. At least for his business.
Alexandre Viros, Managing director, OUI SNCF
Amazon and Google have extensive customer bases, well-developed payment methods... Yes, they represent threats. That said, for the time being we have a very good relationship, with Google for example. We are one of their biggest clients. The real question is the value chain. The one who will be in pole position will be the one who accompanies the customer from start to finish. That's why at Booking we want to become travel companions: from the home to the restaurant, whether it's in Brazil or elsewhere. Booking will allow you to book the airport / hotel transfer, accommodation, a car, tickets for public transport. Booking works on the trip, the journey, from start to finish.
Remy Merckx, VP digital, Radisson Hotel Group, Vanessa Heydorff, Managing Director France, Spain and Portugal, Booking.com
You know, the mixed use has been around for a long time. And at IHG, and Intercontinental in particular, we have been doing this for a long time. Take the Intercontinental de Lyon, which will open next June: the hotel is located in a historic building, the Hotel Dieu de Lyon, but in the same complex there are also offices, and retail outlets at the foot of the building... The whole must coexist. Another example is that this year IHG bought back Six Senses. 18 new resorts are planned under this brand, and we want 60 properties in a few years. But Six Senses is not only a resort, but also a SPA. It's still mixed use, and it's at IHG.
Willemijn Geels, VP development Europe, IHG, Gwenaëlle POUY, Head of development Hotels Covivio
One of the challenges for the future of our group, IHG, is to improve recruitment. Talents, keeping them, bringing them in, that's perhaps the most important thing. We need to think about how to encourage young people to pursue a career in the hotel business. Today, we know that values are central to our employees' quest: our employees want to share the company's values. This means that our values must be reflected in the reality of our employees' work: they must feel welcome, greeted, welcomed and respected. We also need to bring more diversity. Moreover, we already do this: 38% of executives are women, 36% are women in the management teams. And we must go even further, open up, attract the best, to enable our future growth.
Karin Sheppard, Managing director, IHG
I came to talk to you about Wyndham and, to be perfectly honest, a little bit about Greece. About our projects for the group. About our ambitions. And I was wondering how to summarize the whole thing, to conclude and to be sure we have communicated our strategy well. So I remembered one of my speeches to the group's employees, a speech where I explained our vision for the future, for Wyndham. I had spoken at length... And then, at the end of my speech, I asked the assembly if they had any questions. At first, no one dared to speak, I was worried: did they understand everything correctly? Had I been too bad? And then someone spoke up, an employee who still works here today, and he said to me: Aye Boss, I think I understood your thought, "Be First, be fast, or be fool". And I don't think anyone else has since expressed our strategy any better.
Dimitris Manikis, president and managing director EMEA, WYNDHAM hotels & Resorts
Indian Hotel Company Limited has a long history. We have been in existence for more than 100 years, we are one of the largest groups in South East Asia. We are an iconic company, our brands are iconic. But now we want to be profitable. And to do so we must rethink ourselves. Review our operations. For example, we have redesigned our brand catalogue. This is the key to our future. And it works: since the launch of this plan, our revenues have increased by 10%. The Ebitda by 27%.
Giridhar Sanjeevi, Executive VP & Chief Financial Officer, IHCL
One of the advantages of working in a family group is that when I want or need to make a decision, it is to my brothers and sisters that I need to talk. This makes things faster and more direct. So let me introduce you to our next property: the largest of our resorts so far, it will open before the end of the year in Mexico, south of Cancun, with more than 600 keys... We will insist with the resorts, this is where we are strongest. No need to get lost in theory: we want a strong group, less debt, more assets - we have kept part of the fleet in Asset Right -. Our goal: to be strong for the future
Simon Pedro Barcelo Vadell, Co Chairman Barcelo Hotels & Resorts
I'm not going to tell you about Accor. There's no need, there are more interesting things. Even because there's not much to say, quite simply. Accor is doing very well. The story is beautiful, the numbers are good, everything is fine. Of course, the stock market price is a bit of a drag, but that's a detail: I know what I'm doing. Instead, I will talk to you about what is happening in the world. This is my personal view of course, perhaps the future will prove me wrong, or maybe right, we will see in 10 years.
Do you want to know who will dominate the hotel and accommodations market in 10 years' time? It's simple: there are two types of data. Cold, raw data is "data". And it is this data that Facebook, Amazon, Google hold... And then there are the hot, human data, the stories, the discussions: and this is the data that we, the hoteliers, hold. The next silverback - the next one to dominate, will be the one that can combine these two types of data.
Why is it that after missing the exit ramp for distribution, we are making the same mistake by letting the American Wework arrive in Europe?
Sébastien Bazin, CEO, Accor
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