By Georges Panayotis

In this age of here and now, the customer wants to spend as little time as possible looking for and buying the right product. In the age of big data and the exponential development of algorithms, we know our customers better and better, and can even begin to anticipate their needs and expectations. In order to meet the same needs for the same customer, it seems clear that we must work on synergies and build a real path where we can respond better.

The timing is right, everything converges to give meaning to this bold and necessary position that is in line with customer expectations, needs and habits. It will also strengthen the positions of global hospitality players. We are facing a kind of logic based on marketing and community. In short, we are entering the future of our profession that is undergoing a transformation as it changes dimension and the ecosystem changes as well. Some American, Chinese, Indian and Middle Eastern groups already have a foothold in this logic of total control of the customer experience. Because the real battle is situated on a completely different terrain than that of territorial or monetary supremacy, the real battle is about knowing, satisfying and building customer loyalty. To achieve this, we must invest massively and constantly, and ask ourselves the right questions before others do the same.

We must face the facts, the government does not know how to deliver efficient and quality services, it is unable to adapt to the global economy. The example of Air France, which was managed by civil servants, shows that it is time for real entrepreneurs to take the lead, streamline and effectively manage this company with a truly global strategy and vision as well as results objectives to be achieved. Paralyzed by outdated processes, social benefits as well as excessive taxes, the French airline is in full free fall. Not to mention the SNCF, which severely handicaps the small and medium-sized businesses that make up the vitality of the economy.

In France, the world's leading tourist destination, the airports of Roissy Charles de Gaulle and Orly are ranked 128 and 138 respectively, far behind destinations with a much lesser international influence… It is time to get back to work, to push entrepreneurial and motivated forces, to change habits and regain a path to success. Air France is a brand, but it is also expertise and know-how, and these treasures must not be wasted, but grown! However, the transformation will only happen with a real global vision that is free from the political and territorial problems that currently lead to decisions that are in total opposition to the management and good health of corporations.

Finally, the State favors the company's strategy and wishes to give new life to its national flagships; it would seem that it has become aware of its impotence with respect to globalization and has decided to entrust the reins to those who can hold them. This is to be welcomed, but they should not be passed on to the industry's captains without being given the means to restore the company's competitiveness in relation to other European airlines. Disposing of its 14% shares must obscure the need to lighten heavy charges. This also applies to the hotel business; we have often said that the State and the Caisse des Dépôts have not really helped companies to modernize and have not financed real development centres or sufficiently favored the repositioning of the offer in relation to current competition.

Donald Trump's strategy has prompted Emmanuel Macron and other world leaders to respond and bring the battalions together to continue to count and exist globally. Just as Americans, Chinese, Qataris, Saudis… are welcome in the European Union, it goes without saying that they must offer European companies the same welcome when entering their markets and developing our products there. Globalization is opening its doors, for our companies to enter at the same level.