Winter is the rainy and snowy season, but also price reductions of all kinds. We know the Molières for the theater, the Victoires de la Musique or the Oscars and César (among others) for the cinema. Well, the hotel industry is not left with its Awards or its so-called clientele Trophies . There are now rankings of all kinds from traveler review sites to designate the best hotels in the world.
With all this, we can count just for the hotel industry, about fifty Prizes, Awards, Trophies, Rankings,… all intended to identify and then name the “Best”. Do not count on us to call you back or give you the names of these medal distributors. First, because there are now so many and too many. And then, given the high traffic on our site, it is out of the question for us to advertise to them (CQFD).
• What is it about ? During an evening that is dazzling and ceremonial, in a more or less chic place (depending on the means), managers of hotels and / or groups or chains are given a sculpture in plexiglass, crystal or gold metal, designed by an unknown artist (not Caesar who wants it), while explaining to them that they are the best of something: better hotel, better website, better service, better decoration, better marketing operation, etc.
• Who organizes them? Communication agencies, professional magazines and journals as well as consulting companies specializing in the hotel industry.
• How it works ? In many cases, the organizer publishes files to be completed, charges a registration fee (from € 50 to € 630, depending on the events) and collects everything, to ask a jury to subsequently award the price. Banal, in short.
• A jury ? For the jury, there are generally two scenarios:
Either it is a handful of “happy fews, personalities from the business world, who have no connection with the hotel industry”, just to make people believe that there is no conflict of interests.
– Either we ask the “real customers” of hotels to comment. The latter are invited by the hotels to go to a site to complete an online questionnaire and to vote for the “best one”.
As we can imagine, each organizer claims that it is his competition which is the most reliable , the most credible and the most official. Here, we are talking about “Advisory Board” which makes the seriousness of the competition indisputable; elsewhere, it is said that it is such an audit firm that reassures the impartiality of the competition.
• What’s the point ? They do this officially to “promote the profession and distinguish great initiatives and good professionals”. More in truth, the majority organize these trophies for money; and also to reward their customers or encourage their prospects to make them work, under the guise of an operation which is intended to be distinguished and indisputable. In short, they are suppliers who give gifts to their actual or potential customers. And beware of those who are not good enough customers! The sanction of the year is “no price” or a small compensation or encouragement price (… to place orders the following year).
Let us not forget either that all, by announcing the sensationality of their event, also manage to convince sponsors(more modestly we say “partners”) to come and accompany them and incidentally to give them funds (10,000 € and more) or free services. Everyone must live.
• Reliable? Let’s see, let’s see. If all these organizers of various trophies only admitted that their little contest is used to make people talk about them and to win the good graces of their customers and prospects, all would be well. But, that would be too honest. They feel compelled to say that what they are doing is the panacea in terms of credibility and selflessness. So, they hire “experts” to guarantee the seriousness of their operation and say they are playing with the most total impartiality. Hone who thinks badly about it.
Except that in the case of the “international jury of personalities”, the files are expertly prepared by the organizer in a clientelist register and the prizes are awarded in advance, according to the real or potential economic-commercial weight represented by each candidate to be won. . The jury (who knows nothing about it and does not ask existential questions on the subject), behind a good meal, between the cognac and the curls of cigar smoke, just after the small gifts, only has to sign what is presented to him on file, without even having to travel to see on the spot in the candidate hotels. Convenient.
Suddenly, faced with this type of small ethical gap, other trophy organizers, smarter, appeal to hotel customers to express themselves on what is best, according to them. Good idea, because the law of the client remains the most desirable. So we set up a questionnaire on the Internet which, “thanks to a secure system, means that it is directly the establishments which invite their customers who have actually stayed in the hotel to express themselves”, say the organizers concerned. Not stupid. In addition, it costs almost nothing and it looks modern.
We are also surprised, but ultimately not that much, that it is never the same hotels that are designated as the “best in France, Europe or the World” . So there are a bunch of “best hotels in the world” at the same time.
Safe and secure? Not really. Almost all of these questionnaires can be completed online without having ever stayed in the hotels mentioned, or set foot in them. To be honest, by visiting the sites, you can answer just about anything on the online questionnaires and above all say good things about the hotels at will, and as many times as you want. In case of limitation (rare), by signing with invented email addresses ( napoleon.bonaparte@wanadoo, Julescesar @ gmail, victor.hugo@yahoo, etc.), you can complete as many questionnaires as you want.
We are therefore still seeking the reliability and honesty of systems presented as “secure and impartial”. As for the winners becoming “the best of something”, only those who played have won, as they say for the Loto. So “the best hotel” is the best of some. As for the proposed criteria, if these were enough to achieve excellence, most hotels would win.
• Cheating? (Shhh!) The organizers (angry that we dare ask them about the possible cheating of hoteliers) claim that if there are abuses in the system, it can only be marginal. Except that once the exhibitors have registered, that they have paid “administration fees”, that they would like to be able to place a pretty little cup in a window in their reception hall, … in short, that there has an issue (as derisive as it is), we can imagine that they will do everything to ensure that as many customers, family members or friends (or their hotel staff) as possible leave glowing comments on their hotel. They want to win, so …
In any case, those who win the online questionnaires are the ones who should instead get the Prize for “Best-Who-Got-As-As-As-As-As-As-As-As-Can-Vote-On-The-Internet-For-His). hotel”.
• Naive? Oh yes. If there are naïve, it is all these hotel groups, these chains and these hoteliers (and others, because we now give prizes to schools and others) who are rushing en bloc on these medals in chocolate. What do you want, as with labels and decorations, we love Trophies, Awards, Statuettes, Cups and other Prizes in France. And why do ? To put the won thing and the “diploma” behind its reception counter or in a window in the lobby of the chain’s headquarters in plain view of customers, who do not and will never know what it is. You might as well buy sculptures and cups from a manufacturer on the Internet and place them at the reception. Everyone will see nothing but fire and it will have the same effect for less.
Because these prices are neither known, nor recognized, nor mediated towards the general public. No major press talks about it. They are only identified as the only hoteliers, and still not always, because everything is mixed. And then new hotel trophies, some are created almost every year.
On the other hand, the profession delights in running in these awards gala evenings, the registration price of which resembles that of large charity banquets (except that the money does not go to the same recipients). To be seen there seems important for all and if by luck one collects a crystal figure (or stainless steel or plexi), it is the joy and the consecration. And we begin to believe that the future will be rosy, as an actor who receives his Caesar imagines that he will never stop shooting in films. If by bad luck (is that the word?), We do not receive any award, then it is low profile, even shame, and we swear that we will not be fooled again … until the following year when we will try our luck again.
• And it works ? Yes, rather more than less, even if some trophy-giving ceremonies are dying. For the reasons mentioned above, the profession is always in search of recognition – even the most insignificant such as what these trophies offer -, there are a lot of registered candidates, people (sometimes) in the evenings of the awards ceremony. price and this circulates money for the sole benefit of the organizers. In the worst case, they manage to cover their costs and gain value. At best, they make money by selling illusions.
• In summary, what is the trick? There are several mirrors with larks that the organizers shine in front of the candidates. No need to be very original. The bigger it is, the better it works:
1) – First, make believe that it is about an unmissable event and that one will become famous by receiving a trophy – you know like in reality TV -. In short, it is the Oscar ceremony adapted to the hotel industry, we suggest. We want more. The interested party thus imagines that he will see a bunch of new customers galloping into his hotel (or his chain) thanks to this revelation.
2) – Present a pseudo jury or / and a methodology for selecting apparently unassailable winners to establish the credibility of the operation.
3) – Organize a prize-giving evening in a prestigious place, with (sometimes) a meal or a cocktail reception provided by a great chef or a good caterer, all animated by pretty ceremonial music, lighting effects, winner videos and by an animator who wants to be funny and who is obsequious at will, but not necessarily fine (you can’t afford great TV pros). Do not forget to promote the awards ceremony on stage and to film the tremolos in the voices of the winners and their tears of emotion “I thank my teams without whom none of this would have been possible … “.
4) – Invite big names in the hotel industry, VIPs and well-known personalities, even a Minister (who himself will wonder what he is doing there), whom we will show as much as possible, including one or the other will shake hands with each winner. Their role is to give attractiveness to the evening and credit: “if the great CEO of such a group is there, it is because it is an important event” , one will think.
5) – Make believe (or imply) that all the press is there and that the following day the winners will be invited to the 8:00 p.m. newspapers of each channel and will make the front page of the biggest newspapers.
6) – Publish the next day many photos (the smiles, the awards ceremony, the buffet, the minister and the VIPs, the trophies taken, etc.) of the event on the organizer’s website to show how enchanting everything was and prestigious, history of making regret their absence to those who could not or wanted to come. It’s simple, after all.
• Is it credible? No, of course. The string is too thick. But so many people get caught up in it that it becomes hopeless. Especially since we remain dreamy about the conditions of attribution of the “best this or the best that …” and “on the why him and why not me?”
But if this kind of competition – kindergarten style – pleases those who hope year after year to go on stage to receive a worthless reward, an image or good points, why would we remove these Trophies, which mainly earn their promoters? ?
Isn’t the essential thing that the first ones believe in it and that the organizers find their account there? “ The vanity brings credit to our thank you ,” said Jean Rostand . If some are of the opinion that these Trophies and Awards are useless, the happiness of all may be at this price … So, see you next year for a new plastic sculpture! And champagne (or sparkling wine, it depends on the generosity of the sponsors).
PS: Of course, we are not talking about Trophies unrelated to real competitions where candidates have a real job or a work to produce, such as the Meilleur Ouvrier de France and others.