by Georges Panayotis
In reality, what are Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple or AirBnb? Technology companies? No! They represent new ideas and a bold vision of entrepreneurship! But also and especially a reflection, a strategy, research and development centered on the customer experience. These companies have based their dazzling success on taking into account customer needs and experience design upstream, during and after. By responding quickly, efficiently and smoothly to the customers' needs, or even by anticipating them thanks to a pointed knowledge of their needs and relevant and efficient use of their data.
The former model of partitioning and monotasking has failed. It is imperative to develop versatility, to be reactive and to integrate a maximum of knowledge and know-how in order to adapt to our world where boundaries are increasingly porous, where co-working and co-living are developing exponentially and where everyone increasingly works and lives according to their own rhythm and needs.
Europe is lagging behind, it does not enjoy the same territorial unity as the United States or China, but it must fight and preserve its culture, its know-how and its DNA. However, no state is in a position to run a company of this scale alone, private companies have and will have the capital to impose themselves and implement the actions and alliances necessary to ensure that Europe remains on the podium on the international stage.
Vertical integration is now a matter of course. Virgin Atlantic also owns Virgin Hotels and Corsair the brand by TUI the accommodations developer and tour operator. Their success lies in their complementary offers with a controlled customer path from the beginning to the end of the stay. Travelers thus enjoy equivalent standards at every stage of their holiday: booking, transport and accommodation, among others. The customer experience must be seamless and only the creation of strong synergies will create an unforgettable travel experience and build customer loyalty from start to finish. Because we can't ignore it: very few products are exceptional enough to be self-sufficient, not all hotels are lucky enough to be the Danieli, the Savoy or the Taj Mahal… Not all destinations have the privilege of boasting the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum and Sacré Cœur. We must therefore work together, create value and anticipate, to satisfy and exceed customer expectations.
Development through acquisitions makes it possible to develop strength while adding new professions within its scope and also to develop synergies at the level of human resources to enable career development for its employees. Claude Moscheni, former General Manager, is a good example. He began his career as a steward at Air France where he accompanied the presidential trips. He then joined AccorHotels to manage the new Novotel in Lille. Forty years later, he manages more than 1,000 hotels worldwide, and in 2011 he received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Worldwide Hospitality Awards. All this was only made possible because social mobility and continuing education exist at Accor and these will probably be strengthened thanks to the Accor – Air France alliance.
It is essential to adapt to changes in our society and our economic world. At this point in the cycle, we are reinventing new models to continue to deliver value. What if the most important synergy is simply human? Accor owes its prosperity to its management and its social peace, and this could be an excellent dowry to bring to Air France.