For the third consecutive year, Christie & Co attended the hotel debate organised by Grupo Vía. This time, it was moderated and presented by Carlos Diez de la Lastra, CEO of the Hotel Management School "Les Roches International School of Hotel Management “.
As could not have been otherwise, the debate began with an issue of current interest in recent years: collaborative platforms and tourist apartments’ problems.
Good news are that hoteliers seem to have (finally) understood that this hosting model has entered the market strongly, mainly driven by the success of the Airbnb platform, responding to market needs mainly related to two concepts: Family and Socialization
. Juan Carlos Sanjuan, CEO of Casual Hotels, rightly pointed out that "Hotels have to learn to adapt to customer needs". Finally, someone in the industry has the courage to assume that hoteliers have been very static and have failed to adapt to the current traveller needs.
It seems clear that the hotel industry has reacted understanding that they must face the real threat of tourist accommodation innovating in their products in order to compete directly with this new accommodation concept. A good example of this is Sidorme which, following Room Mate’s steps, has created a new concept of tourist accommodation ‘family friendly’ and segmented by different social groups, too. It is also marketed through the platform Airbnb in addition to traditional hotel platforms. They have joined the enemy!
As remarked in the debate, the hotel industry should focus on the "hyper segmentation
". I.e. hotels have to respond to the needs of different traveller groups who demand accommodation and fully understand the reasons why they choose a tourist apartment instead of a hotel. A clear example is Casual Hoteles, as I said above, which has focused on meeting the needs of different social profiles, such as: Women
: equipping their hotels with hairdryer, hairpins, feminine hygiene articles, etc; Runners:
providing the necessary equipment for the practicing sport; Families
: offering cribs, diapers and other children/babies needs; as well as those who do not want to travel without their pets.
There is no doubt that some hoteliers have launched strategies to win the game to its main threat, tourist apartments, through marketing, offering customers new services in order to surprise and exceed their expectations
. Now we wait for the most representative hotel chains, which at the same time have slower reaction capacities due to their large number of hotels, to adapt to the changes demanded by present and future guests.