Hospitality: a team sport
By Georges Panayotis, President & CEO - MKG Group
The example of Paris is indicative, but it is not unique. The city is preparing to host the UEFA Euro 2016 together with other French cities that have been selected, but communications are timid and overshadowed by discussions at the highest level regarding security and the need to pursue the state of emergency. Since last November, the atmosphere has changed in the capital, but does that mean a Calimero complex should be cultivated through an identification with the unlucky, dissatisfied black chick? It is not about evading difficulties at hand or denying the legitimate wariness of visitors who want to be sure to have a good time. Security has become commonplace and integral to daily life without needing to add a layer to the psychosis of future dramas. It would be like shooting yourself in the foot before a race.
Competition persists between rival cities that want to look their best on Planet Tourism. This is clear in communications: the City in the broader sense is the right size for sparking desire. Destination marketing is vital to successfully differentiate and establish an image. Whence the need to unite operational, political, and economic, public and private strengths, and share the roles. Elected officials are expected to generate momentum, to resolutely involve municipalities in designing the project, organizing requirements, in national and international promotions. Companies are expected to play a collective, broader role rather than be free riders, and to partner in realizing the project with their available means and investments.
For Greater Paris, tourism is so obvious that elected officials have too easily rested on their laurels. Today we see delays in equipment, accommodations capacities, and travel connections. It is time to take action to make up for shortfalls more quickly. But this is not the only area that needs to promote its strong identity. In France alone there are a hundred or so regional brands that do specific thematic marketing: Biarritz, Bordeaux, Chamonix, Lyon, St-Tropez,… the Alps, Auvergne, vineyard regions, Baie du Mont-Saint-Michel, Val-de-Loire and Normandy, all have a specific identity, be it for golf, wine tasting, mountains, gastronomy or festivals.
While dimensions may vary, methodology remains the same, uniting all the dynamic forces around a theme to be carried over into differentiated products with added value. Tourism is becoming a team sport with a goal on the horizon; it has a captain, trainers, sponsors and especially, and above all, a desire to win together, although each player hopes for a fair return on their commitment.
2024, 2025, will be here tomorrow. Preparing for them today means making a break with what previously divided and isolated us yesterday.
Chairman & CEO
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