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Article by Georges Panayotis

Hospitalty Hiring Paradox: Time to take a stand!

Hospitality ON 19 July 2017
All too often, the hotel industry conveys the image of a sector that is ungrateful, has difficult hours, and under-valued careers; but what has truly been done to change that? With its history and that of generations of pigeonholed employees, the world of Hospitality is like a giant cruise ship trying - with great difficulty - to change its course. So it would be best to take the helm quickly. The transformation of concepts goes hand in hand with a return to the drawing board to reexamine the human role in the hotel industry. Traditional functions are exploding in in light of clients' increasing need for autonomy and - paradoxically - a need for more direct and more authentic exchanges with personnel. The jobs, defined in terms of vertical functions that are associated with one another, no longer correspond to the expectations of a more polyvalent, warmer, less technical and more interactive contact.The technological revolution that has taken place at headquarters must now trickle down to each property. This type of consideration of the hotelier's work, from every angle, must not be subject to any taboos. The use of artificial intelligence and different applications makes it possible to give employees new tools to strengthen their abilities to know clients, meet their expectations and control several functions at once, and thus gain in terms of expertise and qualifications.For hotel management, it is also a means of lightening structures, making them flexible again and increasing profitability that may thus result in better wages. There is no reason why the world of tourism and hospitality should be condemned to this image of minimum wages where propel work while they are looking for something better.In hotel groups, each employee had a kind of "passport", a more or less precise road book detailing their experience, training and qualifications. Today, they may be given a professional "toolbox" allowing them to handle any situation. This technical manual grows with the employee's knowledge, experiences, and any information supplied by management. Such software is already available at major industrial firms where it is a kind of "Pilot Book" with descriptions of jobs and and related tutorials to increase polyvalency.Hospitality is a world where start-ups get involved wholeheartedly. While hotel groups may have trouble bringing on this cultural revolution of management on the field, they can rely on the creativity of young people who assist in their metamorphosis, as other sectors have done. Daily management gains in efficiency and reactivity. The much hoped-for loyalty development can be realized when operations are able to give it meaning.The hotel industry needs to strengthen its heart and lungs, its core, in order to nourish a new form of passion and reception and service and breath new life into its trades, which while they are old should not remain antiquated.
Article by Georges Panayotis

Cutting a Bald Man's Hair

Hospitality ON 9 December 2016
Franchise contracts are based on a reciprocal commitment between the investor-operator and the brand. Since investment funds set their sights on the hotel industry, such contracts have run into serious pitfalls. More concerned about seeing share prices climb on the stock exchange, financial shareholders have driven corporate communication to the detriment of brand marketing, thereby weakening awareness, the image and the attributes that make up the essential capital of any consumer brand.The marketing budget is already desperately tight in the hotel world and any slowing down is felt rapidly. Groups have contented themselves with communications campaigns that are as creative as they are ephemeral. Thus, an implacable process is underway. In light of low resistance from brands OTAs saw the opportunity to take over hotel sales. They dictated their law by capturing a share of sales traffic that normally should have gone through franchisors' reservation systems.It is understandable that there is increasing doubt about justifying the remuneration that feels like a "double sentence". Calculated on the entire results it also includes the share of OTAs that have paid their share of the commission. Is it normal? Has the brand received enough support to develop a real personality that makes it stand out among its competitors? How were fees used that contribute to strengthening differentiation? It would have been wise to invest some in the evolution of concepts to allow franchisees to keep up with trends. New hybrid concepts that incorporate shared-working spaces rather than empty meeting rooms, that offer a mix of lodging solutions to expand the customer range, that redefine the social role of public spaces were born outside of franchise groups, which should nonetheless stay ahead of market expectations.Should a new supply be developed on the ruins of the old one, or in new locations? The question has been asked, but the answer remains unclear. Stuck with franchise contracts for 12 to 20 years, franchisees sometimes have the feeling of being abandoned en route while new players nibble away at their market shares. They carry the weight of the walls and business in the long term along with the threat of being underestimated if no one offers them the practical and profitable solutions for change. Transferring the risk of investment onto franchisees can only be justified if they feel supported and remunerated. That means a real investment in the brand and the product. Previously, during a difficult economic period, the brand's contribution was indispensable. More recently it proved necessary, but not enough. Will it end up being an option like another, and not necessarily one of the most efficient?Digital marketing has not helped any. How is it possible to truly exist in light of the strength of web intermediaries or sharing platforms? The break with distribution is already complete, and it is now late to want to catch up with it through major investments in digital that would be more efficiently spent on product innovation and marketing differentiation.A new generation is taking the helm at franchisees. It is clear they won't be using kid gloves to give some concrete meaning back to the win-win relationship sold to them by franchisors. As real entrepreneurs, they now analyze their operating accounts by ignoring the affective aspect that masked many frustrations. Loyalty to a group or a range of brands has disintegrated as much due to economic logic as to spite. Franchisees have often found themselves at the front line to drive their brand when groups refused to free up capex to invest in their own subsidiaries. How can you demand investment in concept renovation when the franchisor does not set the right example? It is not enough to do more concept projects if they are never unfurled or even begun.Today, it is high time to get back on track, renew the pertinence of hotel marketing and the strength in direct distribution. Franchisees are expressing their right to speak up and criticize within a balanced dialogue among decision makers. There is no reason for them to only have the right to the congruous part of financial results. After the thinning hair has been trimmed, will we go so far as to shave it off completely?
Article by Georges Panayotis

One lost, ten gone!

Hospitality ON 2 June 2016
Without getting overly nostalgic, one might wonder if hotel accommodations have succeeded in accommodating clientele for all of life's circumstances. Hotels have always been the natural alternative for travelers unable to stay with friends or family. Whether travel is for vacation or a cousin's wedding, seminar or business, for a few days or a few weeks, the hotel industry has offered, and should continue to offer a solution at a reasonable price.Between lack of foresight regarding changing needs and lack of means to change the legislation, hoteliers have wound up focusing on short-stay business travelers, who appear to be the easiest to satisfy and the most profitable. As a result, families on holiday and interns in training have changed their habits and are staying at tourism residences or city residences, which are better adapted to their needs.Which came first, the chicken or the egg? A similar question may be applied to the long-term accommodations market. Lack of change or fiscal lobbying by developers, wherein lies the responsibility for this situation and the hotel industry's loss of market shares? It is next to impossible to regain a lost customer... lose ten and they're gone forever! Unlike American "long stay" concepts, European hotel offers have not worked well. The "en suite" version of traditional rooms has not caught on due to a lack of coherence or marketing and excessive difficulty in the coexistence of clientele with different needs.Paradoxically, efficient hybrid products have been developed around accommodations for young travelers. Between the youth hostel revisited, event-filled student residences and communal accommodations, some concepts are making a real breakthrough that attracts investors. At the same time, AirBnB and other collaborative strategies have developed by making full accommodations available at very competitive prices.It is high time the hotel industry reexamined itself concerning the essential issue of servuction meaning the efficient production of services expected by the customers of today's and future generations. It is useless to refer to the fundamentals of observation marketing that were developed thirty years ago or so, but at a crossroads it can be useful. Today, digital technology is creating a smokescreen. It is seen as a solution while it is only a tool at the service of essential principals that have not changed much over the years: working on added value and differentiation; improving the property's reputation and customer loyalty; reinforcing quality control and personalized customer relations.While, the methodology is similar, the result should naturally be adapted to the times by redefining product and services depending on behavioral changes. IT offers the enormous advantage of being able to control previously dispersed tools more comfortably and with a more complete vision. But the plane does not do all the work, fortunately the pilot is able to maneuver and choose the right direction. The same is true for the hotel industry; the essentials of the trade must not be forgotten just because IT has entered into play at all levels of decision making. The hotel industry can and must reinvent itself as it has done over time, but time is running short as the rate of transformations has accelerated.

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