Each year, Georges Panayotis, ceo and founder of MKG Group, opened a new edition of the Global Lodging Forum and presented its theme: Tomorrow is already here, where is the hotel industry heading?
This is a question that we should ask constantly to avoid being surprised by the acceleration changes that are happening in trades at a rate of acceleration. And yet, I feel like the profession is not quite ready for the behavioral changes of clientele, for the arrival of new practices, for the multiplication of distribution channels and, above all, the rise in strength of new players.
The economy once allowed the economic model evolve over a certain amount of time. It was possible to make mistakes and rectify them. This is no longer the case. The word that characterizes what is happening to us the most is "disruptive", from the Latin word disruptum (for once not Greek...), meaning to break into pieces, to make something explode. And clearly this is the threat that will impact our industry if we are not careful.
We have surpassed the phase where professionals began to cry wolf and lobby to protect the former framework. The dams will never be high enough to channel all of the extra flux.
If each partner must be able to play equally, particularly in terms of regulations and taxes, it is more intelligent to redraw the map of the territories of each one and to found new relationships on the complementarity of the functions.
Meanwhile, while the past offers an example it is more urgent than ever to truly project oneself into the future, to gain the lead that the hotel industry previously had over the other kinds of commercial accommodations until Web 2.0 and 3.0.
Preparing to live to the fullest extent within the digital economy does not mean one must forget the fundamentals of our industry:
- Work on the hotel product;
- Improve the production of services and customer relations;
- Develop far-reaching marketing that is both global and operational.
At many destinations, there was a period when the supply was insufficient due to the lack of financing of new developments. This upholds the illusion that average prices still need to progress, irrespective of a quality for price ratio that is acceptable and accepted by the consumer. We have opened the door to the sharing economy ourselves, resulting in a "disruptive" intrusion of these new actors whom it has become very difficult to contain within a marginal role. They are sometimes more powerful than the historic groups and better accepted by the new generations.
Contrary to what has happened in the automobile industry, the evolution of hotel groups encouraged the externalization of many functions that were formerly our core businesses. This is true in great part for the support functions of construction and the elaboration of new concepts.
Thus, industries have begun to impose their standards, by proposing their solutions that are not all compatible with one another.
The coherence of new concepts has more difficulty taking shape if it is necessary to integrate standards rather than define them oneself. The tools could change their nature, but the goal remains the same: guarantee the legitimacy of hotel accommodations through its warmth, quality, originality, diversity.
Of course we will have to live with Big Data more and more, and hotel operators will have access to an incredible mass of information, but to do what? The success of our operations happens thanks to the integration of all kinds of data and operations at the service of a truly personalized experience. We are not short on challenges and we have a day and a half to discuss them and share our visions with one another. Competition continues between brands and competing groups, but that does not prevent us all from questioning the future of our professions. The Global Lodging Forum brings together sectors that sometimes have trouble working together, players that have difficulty communicating, and professionals hailing from different lands and trying to being a new view to our businesses. Today it is necessary to separate the projected and the real lived experience, while the two were previously the same thing. Moreover the new digital players have a direct impact on the triangle: Booking regarding "commoditization" of the supply TripAdvisor takes a shortcut between price and the real demand. Consumer feedback is a fundamental means of getting out of the commoditization dynamic Airbnb takes a shortcut between the projected experience and the real experience, with a highly differentiated supply. Finally, generally speaking, Google and its ecosystem are making distribution policies change by purchasing links with highly variable costs.
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