Jack of all trades, master of none...
By Georges Panayotis, President & Founder of MKG Group & Hospitality ON
Today, all hotel groups, depending on their means, are developing a digital strategy involving investments that may be counted in hundreds of millions of euros. The computerized hotel reservation tool undoubtedly deserves to be made more efficient, more convivial, more visible, but it remains just a tool. And if what is essential lay elsewhere?
With exception to major cities, the problem hoteliers are currently facing is to stimulate arrivals, boost occupancy which has progressively dropped further to the persistence of the depressed economy. Tourists, businessmen and now corporations are tempted by money-saving alternatives, even if it means not having everything a hotel worthy of that title can offer. In a context where differentiating the kinds of accommodations available has become less and less clear, where the hotel experience has melted into the background despite official statements, marketing remains in its rightful position, to which it has even more rights. Investments in digital and referencing must not be made to the detriment of marketing and human relations.
Each brand's promise must be as clear and visible as the alternatives that have in some way won the communications and buzz battle. Each hotelier's implication needs to be daily through the development and revival of skills in reception and organization in both services and yield management. The second challenge lies in making pricing appear to be advantageous. In most cities, including those that are notoriously under capacity, it is no longer possible to use average daily rates as a lever to improve results. It even became a deterrent for customers who are lost to the hotel industry. This area deserves much consideration regarding strategy and communications.
The hospitality trade – trades– have become complex with the rise of new competition and handling of new instruments. While new generations are better prepared to combine these different skills, the work needs to be more specialized or shared between managers at headquarters and operators on the field. It is up to the prior to focus on technological developments, research in product innovation and services, brand marketing and its communication, the digital strategy and sales activities. It is up to the latter to be efficient in the personalized customer relationship, in the proximity to their community, and the success of the experiment.
"Jack of all trades, master of none." This specialization is necessary for two reasons: limiting marketing and distribution costs as much as possible within each property, so they represent no more than 8 to 12% of revenues depending on the hotel category and location and to give real autonomy to the hotelier who can then strengthen the value of the business while engaging in a veritable plan of local actions.
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