It is impossible to walk on our heads... and yet…
By Georges Panayotis, President & Founder of MKG Group & Hospitality ON
A little logic, a little common sense, and we quickly understand that it is impossible to walk on your head. So why do we keep trying? Our businesses and our industry have slowly shifted towards a development model that is increasingly disconnected from reality. An overgrown head with atrophied hands and feet. Operational staff who most of the time have to muddle through regardless, whether they are ambidextrous or handless, long-distance runners or disabled.
Careful not to upset the pyramid
In our sector, operational people - the feet and hands of the trade - are essential. It is on the ground that the product and service are delivered to customers. But products are sometimes in decline or even obsolete due to a lack of sufficient investment in CAPEX. To this are often added difficulties with staff, whom it is complex to retain and properly train, particularly with regard to the latest technological developments that are developed at headquarters and poorly managed in the field, whereas they could strengthen servuction. However, if servuction is not provided in the right conditions, the customer will be dissatisfied and will not return. This is all the more dangerous in a rapidly changing hospitality market. Hoteliers are challenged by apartment hotels, co-living and even by co-working spaces that take a bite out of the seminar clients supply.
New accommodations concepts are emerging in France but have not yet fully taken over the market. What will happen to hoteliers once new customer experience-based service companies and hybrid concepts have been developed? How will they be able to attract customers without differentiating themselves? Meanwhile, these new concepts also offer much more attractive operating accounts than traditional products. They have been designed with a view to saving energy, they offer a range of products and services that are rationalized and in line with consumer needs. They are open to their environments, connected to their destinations, and located in more prosperous trading areas.
Has the customer been forgotten?
Hospitality professionals sometimes forget to ask themselves the essential questions. What are my customers' current and future expectations and needs? How can I dazzle them? Build their loyalty? Surprise them? Make their lives easier? It is no accident that pure players like Booking.com, Expedia, Airbnb or Amazon... have devoured gargantuan market shares from hoteliers for the first three and retail players for the last, leading hoteliers to heavily inflate their prices. Why spend 10 minutes on a poorly designed website when you can book a room in three clicks or even less after comparing the quality/price ratios while discovering the destination and choosing excursions. It is not normal that an apartment owner offers a better customer experience than a hotelier whose job it is.
In many cases, there has been a tendency to err on the side of trust, with often ageing hotels, especially in the suburbs and provinces, and in areas that are in decline. The high number of job vacancies is also due to unattractive salaries and diminishing career prospects. We can no longer count on passion for the job or on the social ladder. However, there are still niches in some destinations well connected by the TGV or regional transport, but the markets observed in many small towns must act as a wake-up call. And yet all these properties link the territory together and, like small streams, lead to the capital. If they dry up, there is a risk that one of the sources of traffic to France and, consequently, Paris, whose price/quality/pleasure ratio is declining compared to competing destinations, will dry up too.
All in the same direction
The coordination of functional and operational staff, with modern management, is essential for our industry just as hands cannot function without the head and vice versa. It is essential to move forward together in a coherent approach focused on the client and staff. Hospitality is a network services where the head must be able to coordinate all its members like an octopus that is able to adapt to many situations, intelligent, agile and inventive...