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By Georges Panayotis

Today, a major part of distribution and commercialization is in the hands of the Web giants. The advent of Internet has turned away a large share of clientele who were originally attracted by the force of yesteryear’s hotel brands. While it should have allowed for substantial savings on the costs of headquarters in terms of commercialization, it is very difficult to evaluate because hotel chains have also let go of their assets, and a majority of hotels are in the hands of franchisees, who have now become the market’s main operators. It would have been better if at the beginning they had done like airlines did with IATA and got together and collaborated with all hotel groups in order to create a booking platform on the web. However, individualities and dualities have made it impossible to create a solid front, despite an initiative between all major players that quickly failed to materialize.

Some continued to persist, but arrive too late on a market that is still largely dominated by Booking, Trivago, Expedia, etc. But the secret of change lies in concentrating its energy in order to create new things, and not only fight against what’s done, as Dan Millman pointed out. Businesses thought they were protecting themselves by placing an embargo on the development of the supply, but instead they have paved the way for all those internet businesses. This has been detrimental to the profession and accelerated the rise of those predators, who are also innovators, in our business.

The positioning of an accommodation listing in the meta-search engines, the real prices in effect, and the comments posted are supposed to be based on transparent and objective criteria. But we can see that the referencing is biased and the client leased thanks to payments in hard cash. The matter worsens when one realizes that customer representation in online comments is far from being on par with elementary statistical rules and nobody verifies their credibility. The reputation of a hotel can thus vacillate, even drop with a single vicious comment, with close to no solution for the hotelier who is up against a wall when trying to remove a lie or imprecise comment. Since the dice have been tossed, it is important to play fair and obey the rules. In the end the consumer is the main victim of disinformation, lack of transparency and partiality of commercialization and online advice platforms.

Governments and Europe must face their responsibility and play an important role by ensuring clients are not victims of disinformation and by punishing excesses, because, according to Pascal, justice without force is impotent, force without justice is tyrannical and this is surely the case nowadays. Until now very few condemnations have been issued against comparators and those using fake news to occupy the ground and constitute data, while appropriating the business capital of hotels.

The future of hotels will pass through a repositioning of products and services on niches, all the while creating new concepts. This allows the client to book without intermediaries 80% of the time – or else, through a concentration of the supply on the global level in order to benefit from economies of scale and bring back some sort of balance against Internet giants. This is the case of big Chinese groups and Marriott which have chosen this strategy in order to have more weight in all important destinations on a global level.

The strong mobilization of hoteliers these days has allowed for increased of awareness from public authority regarding the need to make everyone respect the rules. The legislator and justice have the power and the duty to bring balance back to this fragile and complex ecosystem that has become the world of commercial accommodations. Hoteliers, distributors, comparators, franchisees, franchisors, collaborative platforms… all share the same pie but some are using a shovel and others a spoon. Hoteliers are ready to participate in the mutation of the sector, but they want a strict and veritable application of the rules and legislation by all. In the end the customer goes to and are in direct contact with them. If they must accept having lost control over commercialization, they cannot lower themselves to being back-stabbed when fighting loyally.

About Georges Panayotis

Georges Panayotis is President of MKG Consulting. Born in a family of hoteliers for three generations, Georges Panayotis, left Greece at the age of 18 to pursue his studies in Political Sciences and to obtain his Master in Management at the French University of Paris Dauphine. He then joined the Novotel chain, which will become the Accor Group, to manage the International Marketing Division. After developing specific marketing tools for the hotel industry, he left the group in 1986 to start his own company, MKG Conseil, now MKG Group. In twenty years, the group has become the European leader in studies and consulting for the Hospitality industry. The company employs over 70 people in four departments: marketing studies, database, quality control and trade press, with two publications HTR Magazine and Hotel Restaurant Weekly.

The company helped the development of over 2,000 hotels in France and in Europe, with offices in Paris, Cyprus and London. Georges Panyotis is the founder of the Worldwide Hospitality Awards and the Hotel Makers Forum, and the author of several publications on Marketing and Operations in the hotel business, He is a regular consultant for several television channels, among which Bloomberg Television, and radio networks.

Contact: Georges Panayotis

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