The latest Booking.com vs Hoteliers case leads us to believe that hoteliers have won a battle against the juggernaut online travel agency that grows hundreds of thousands of dollars every day.

Finally, it is the press which presents the information as follows: “Victory of the French hoteliers against Booking.com”, “The hoteliers are bending the powerful Booking”, “Booking gives in to the demands of the hoteliers”, “The freed hotel industry the yoke of Booking ” – just that …

It must be said that, like Asterix, journalists and public opinion like the Gallic villages (independent hoteliers) which resist the Roman invader (online travel agencies / OTAs).

Booking would have loosened up a bit without waiting for possible lawsuits by freeing the hoteliers registered with it from certain constraints that it had imposed until then. It will allow them to offer lower prices with other OTAs or through other distribution channels / offline reservations, in particular.

These spectacular headlines and simplistic press-knitted articles prove once again that few journalists seek to understand and dissect information. The majority were satisfied – as usual – to take again the dispatches of press agencies without going further in an investigation which would however be necessary.

So here we are presenting the hoteliers as winners , the famous David winning against Goliath. But who can believe for a moment that Booking.com will let the hoteliers registered with it get away with getting married with its competitors? We can imagine that he will very quickly spot hoteliers in his house who do not play “his game” and are not “Booking.com-friendly” . It is easy to imagine that he will distinguish them from others and that he will know how to hide them and treat them less well than his “friend” hoteliers. The naivety of some is advantageous to others.

In short, the operators concerned will pay for their unfair infidelity, when they thought they were “freeing themselves from the yokes of Booking” , as an uninformed newspaper recklessly recalls.

The winner is not the one we think

This little affair is barely a mosquito splinter on the armored windshield of the Booking car . Not to mention that the voracious is not that close. By the time of writing this article, he may have already invented new ideas for applications, new tips to earn more and better from his customers. He’s inventive, the guy. To forget this characteristic would be gross professional misconduct. Yet this fault, many commit it.

In short, we wonder how hoteliers are winners in this story as in everything else. Does the mouse have a chance once placed under the claws of the tomcat? Because, as you now know, the Committee for the Modernization of French Hotels and Tourism likes to look behind the curtain and is not satisfied with what they want to show us. By observing the market and listening to each other, we are forced to see that the hotel sector behaves more like a lose-lose.

He also had the bad idea of ​​taking the “  loser-attitude  ”. But if, you see, that of the victim, of the one who asks for compassion, who begs for help, who seeks to be pitied. Is this a harsh opinion? Yes, but just the result of continuous observation. Let us judge. Any resemblance to known people and situations would be fortuitous.

The French hotel industry takes victim postures and behaves like a loser:

  • When the OTAs impose their law on it. In fact, online travel agencies have taken (nibbled) on whatever hoteliers let them take. They took full advantage of the atomization of the profession, the candor and incompetence of hoteliers (including hotel groups) with regard to the Internet, the slowness of reactions and the passivity in the face of them, from their gargantuan and rapid success with the public, and finally from the fact that few hoteliers are working on their marketing (see below).  
  • When elected officials and political personnel seek to constrain it by new taxes, unproductive regulations and new obligations, which are generally not justified or very little. It must be said that the regular announcement of “France, the world’s leading tourist destination” has a little to do with it. We believe rich hoteliers. An exaggeratedly victorious “cocoricoesque” ad for information invented from false statistics ( see our article on the subject ). To oppose this, the arguments used by representatives of the profession are generally unconvincing, ineffective and give an amateurist image of the hotel industry.
  • When hotel unions play the big arms when they lack muscle, when their presence is not sovereign, when two employers’ organizations are opposed and play childish rivalry, when their tools and negotiating arguments with the public authorities are pathetically ineffective.  
  • When hoteliers constantly complain about their fate in the media, bringing up their problems instead of trying to solve them and washing their dirty laundry as a family. Let’s face it, they don’t come across as responsible business leaders. Journalists benefit greatly from these “good clients” to be publicized; the reports and articles they produce are not necessarily satisfactory for the image of the sector among the general public, its customers. We forget too quickly that the hotel industry and the catering exist to please, like the theater and the cinema. What would one say of an actor who would spend his theatrical performances complaining in front of the spectators about his tooth which hurts him, about the too many taxes which he has the feeling to pay and about the lighting designer who does not do well? his work ?
  • When hoteliers do not modernize their establishment , leave it dormant and distress their customers.
  • When hoteliers chase after labels (more than 150 in France in the hotel industry alone) that are completely unknown to the public, chase out worthless paid distinctions and chocolate medals, and rush for stars with ridiculously minimalist criteria. None of this brings commercial gain. It all looks like a lark mirror and Narcissus’s mirror.
  • When only 1 in 5 hoteliers develop active marketing for their hotel (Coach Omnium studies). The hotel industry is therefore the architect of its own misfortune to do nothing, or very little, to find customers and boost its turnover. She then abandons herself to the OTAs and complains about it at the same time.
  • When you encounter a great lack of entrepreneurial culture among many hoteliers, who do not understand the functioning of tourism, OTAs, tourism marketing, the choices and expectations of customers, VAT, … and / or simply ignore how a business operates and its rules.
  • When professionals accuse everyone else (except themselves) of the cursethat they want to present as being their daily lot rather than finding in themselves the origin of their misfortune and remedy it. Their accusations go to unfair competition which is not housed in the same regulatory vein, to para-competitors who take business from them, to bounty hunter customers and those who express themselves on the Net about their experiences. hoteliers. Their acrimony is directed against public authorities who only think about taxing and OTAs who play dictators. Their bitterness turns to staff “who don’t want to work” or to bankers who don’t lend, and so on. The list is long even if it is not all wrong. But all is not fair either. If this presents itself as a faulty disempowerment, once again,  

Of course, it must be recognized that during the last ten years, at least, hoteliers have been bombarded by countless new constraints, each heavier and more expensive than the next: fire safety, standards of all kinds, accessibility, tourist taxes. increased, obligations imposed by OTAs,… not to mention the constant threats of creation of new taxes by the Assembly.

But, to see oneself thus mistreated by the public authorities and by the “partners”, isn’t it simply because one is not a winner? The winners know how to win and are respected.  

The only winners among hoteliers are those who take charge, develop efficient marketing , fully satisfy their customers and consider themselves (alone) responsible for their destiny. They also know how to work in groups, play together and unite with other hoteliers having the same values. They gain customers, profitability and pleasure, even fulfillment.

They probably remain numerous; but are they in the majority? 

It is clear that the life of a hotelier has never been so complicated as it is today: see our White Paper on Hotel and Tourist Modernization . But, isn’t this the time to put everything back on track, to review everything, to work on the future and above all… to stop whining.

Also read our analysis ” The Ingenious War Against OTAs “.

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