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by Georges Panayotis

Urgent responses from governments happen in parallel to a manifest will to demonstrate strength. Divided between the need to reassure the local population, the desire to prove that life goes on, and the need to not scare off those that feed the tourist economy, managers have been ensnared by critics from all sides.

If only there were a universal answer. It is all a matter of choosing the means and adjusting visibility. One thing is certain: it has become necessary to include the terrorist threat as a permanent part of daily life. It is not necessarily easy to accept, but it is better to accept this reality than to try to deny its existence or to believe it is just a temporary phenomenon. It is thus important to implement structural security measures, which will undoubtedly make our lives a bit more complicated, but will eventually become another new habit. As Saint Exupery’s Little Prince said: “what is essential is invisible to the eye”; it is the work of intelligence services that will make it possible to efficiently avoid new dramas and regain an apparent lightness.

As far as we are concerned, there is another reality that must not be hidden: that of our devastating economic growth. Security woes cannot cause everything, such as why hotel indicators are persistently in the red. Buying power is down and households must weigh their travel purchases, so they tend to opt for sharing solutions; companies must reduce business travel and negotiate their hotel nights every step of the way.

Tourism and its hospitality component have always been characterized by their resiliency despite geopolitical, economic and sociological constraints. But this strength is now being put hard to the test by repeated and combined attacks of actors in the sharing economy, online distribution partners, the social climate and its onslaught of strikes, by the economic crisis and increase in charges, by security management and urban violence. The mechanism is being worn down from all the blows it has taken, and it also needs to be able to catch its breath. It is true that hoteliers-restaurateurs are no longer very credible when they take to the streets to complain about their difficulties and the threats to their survival. Nonetheless, commercial courts find themselves handling a worrisome number of backup files and business suspensions. A bit more consideration and interest for a sector that accounts for 10% of the GDP would be welcome. The silence of supervisory authorities is deafening.

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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