Standardization and uniformization must not be confused, as it may lead to the belief that hotel chains have lost their soul in their effort to rationalize operations. Feeling almost guilty for having developed standardized products that meet the basic needs of guests, part of the industry is giving into the “boutique hotel syndrome”. The term hotel industry itself signi.es an approach that brings rigour into the process and above all an ability to guarantee the same level of services throughout the properties of a national or international network.Let’s be clear, the basic needs of guests are quality of sleep, tranquility in the room, the assurance of being woken up in time for appointments, the variety of a balanced breakfast... all fundamental issues that require the implementation of unavoidable, verifiable standards. The sophisticated atmosphere of contemporary trendy décor can in no way take the place of à the fundamentals of our activity. While haute couture might set the tone for a season, it is through prêt-à-porter that the fashion industry produces revenues and margins. The economic dimension of the hotel industry implies cost control through economies of scale and rationalization of investments. Except for luxury hotels, brands must resist the temptation to overly personalize their properties as a necessary condition for differentiation. Doing so would be like trying to enter into battle on a field that is not their own, particularly when their strength lies precisely in their regularity.
A clear concept, normalized down to the slightest detail, is not a weakness compared to the originality of trendy properties, provided these concepts are in tune with the times. They undoubtedly must evolve faster today than previously to keep up with changes in behavior and new technologies. It is necessary to renew them, to rethink them so that they always provide an innovative dimension. And yet, the strength of a concept lies in its ability to be declined rapidly on a large scale. It is this capacity for deploying, in order to maintain the product’s coherence, that is the major challenge of hotel groups.
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