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by Georges Panayotis

Whether it’s a car or a telephone, staging the launch of each new commodity heightens the consumer’s anticipation of innovations. The idea is to create an emotional shock around a brand and stimulate closer ties with its followers.

What is true for these sectors is true for all aspects of everyday life and the hotel industry is no exception. Forty years ago or so, its transformation was driven by the arrival of concepts, developed broad scale by inspired pioneers, resulting in a community of users seduced by innovation with each new arrival on the market. And then, years after, it became necessary to better manage assets, finance, distribution...

Hoteliers had to face a succession of waves: real estate, technological, financial and now creative that force them to take on all sides at once. To avoid being overwhelmed and to (re)create the emotional link to the hotel industry, products need to urgently be redesigned, the latest technological innovations need to be intelligently integrated and more à la carte services need to be offered that meet with the public’s interest. At least, if they are no longer at the origin of the wave, hoteliers must catch it as quickly as possible and ride with it rather than lie in wait for the next one.

The time has come to offer new brands that fit the times. The rate of change is accelerating and needs are evolving more rapidly than the possibilities of entirely rethinking brands that have a history. It is true that the public interest and the media focus on the appearance of new concepts that are still embryonic, but that have captured the expectations of the Millennials and those that follow.

This means freeing additional resources for innovation; pushing the innovation rapidly to make it visible, but without neglecting capex to keep existing buildings up to par. This undoubtedly makes it necessary to review economic models to lighten the ship and navigate more rapidly. Operating and distribution costs remain burdensome, causing profitability to nosedive and making it difficult to maneuver.

In addition to the available means, an entire state of mind must also be found. Simple marketing reasoning can only lead to the adaptation to current needs when it is necessary to dive into the unknown and preempt a new consumer revolution. Starting with an intuition, or a feeling about the evolution of behavior, inventors are capable of escaping the usual framework and beaten trail. This explains, in part, why the latest concepts came out of the imaginations of actors who are not in the hotel sector. It is not the definite path, and confirmed hoteliers show they are reactive when they take the time to lift their noses from the grindstone to observe a fast changing world.

By regaining product appeal, they may free themselves a bit from online distribution constraints that rely more on location and pricing. The time has come to (re)conquer, especially since despite the persisting crisis the drop of the euro against strong currencies reinforces the quality/price ratio for international clientele and can bring a necessary breath of fresh air to the renewal of investments.

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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