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by Georges Panayotis

A year comes to an end -painfully for many- raising doubts and questions about the future. A new year begins that should cause us to reflect on what we want to make of it. Events are accelerating at such a rate that we are constantly reacting, whether superficially or passionately, while losing sight of the interest of a more long term goal, while forgetting to analyze the positive or negative transformations we undergo.

My first consideration bears on one of the very reasons for our existence, be it personal or professional. The will to transmit is undoubtedly what characterizes us the best with respect to other species on Earth. Transmitting life, transmitting gestures, transmitting knowledge to maintain the continuity of our development and enrichment. Official announcements made to promote apprenticeships and work-study programs go in the right direction, and we were not the last to develop them.

Beyond that, it is also a question of transmitting a breath, an energy that makes one want to get up each morning to accomplish positive things, to find pleasure in carrying out everyday activities. It may even be hoped that the more enthusiastic and enterprising among us will take advantage to create new vigor and expand our universe.

The hotel industry, like all others, is a formidable place to implement this ambition. Lately there has been a little bit too much of a tendency to rest on our laurels and self-assurance, and we have been surprised by the irruption, "disruption", even, of new players who upset a drowsy anthill. Have they offered any real innovation? Not really if we consider the services offered: transportation of people, automobile rental, accommodations in private homes, host tables… all these have existed for a long time with a tendency towards robustness and corporatism. The broad scale availability of offers that are generally paid off and tax exempt have exploded the inflationary bubble of the price of transportation services, restaurants and the hotel industry. It is also important to have the clarity to recognize and prepare the right answer.

What about progress? What about innovation? There is much to say and a much conversation to be had on this subject. We are far from having explored all the possibilities. Technology is not the universal answer. It is even leading to new fears in light of the rise in power of global giants that store our acts and gestures, decipher our conversations and behaviors, survey our communications and our aspirations. All the empires ended up being dismantled by internal dissensions. All the fortresses collapsed under the repeated revolutions. All the towers of Babel erected to reach universal knowledge exploded in the face of diversity.

The return to enduring values is drawn with small touches: conviviality, authenticity, tradition, respect, the taste for flavors… We are among the best defenders and there is nothing nostalgic about promoting them. In many ways, the generation in charge of political and economic power failed when it comes to preparing a better existence for future generations. In favor of immediate comfort and facility, it leaves behind a weakened planet and monumental debt. It is not necessarily too late to pull things together. Imagination and willpower are formidable tools for getting back on even keel. This is what I hope we will achieve in 2016, and I offer my warmest and most encouraging wishes for the year ahead.

About Georges Panayotis

Georges Panayotis is President of MKG Consulting. Born in a family of hoteliers for three generations, Georges Panayotis, 51, 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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