The hotel industry as we know it today (i.e. the contemporary hotel industry) was formed and developed after the Second World War, with the development of the leisure society. Since then, this sector has undergone an intense diversification of its offerd(hotel clubs, hotel-casinos, motels…) in order to welcome all these new tourists. Then in the 1950s, with the development of air transport, a new target was created: businessmen. At that time, they were called airport hotels. Finally, the 80s are synonymous with the creation of tourist residences, or appart’hotel.
Faced with economic conditions and new trends, the hotel industry has always been able to reinvent itself and bounce back. However, nothing is set in stone for this sector: due to the transformation of consumption patterns, the challenges are numerous. They can be grouped into 3 pressure points: the sector’s environment; the clientele; and the sector’s internal transformations.
The sector’s environment
There are four constraints on the hotel sector:
- Technological delay: faced with the arrival of digital technology, the Internet, broadband and all these innovations, some hotels have still not completed their technological transition. While clients demand a high performance internet connection, some professionals are not able to offer it for example.
- The emergence of new platforms: here we are mainly talking about Airbnb. The American giant is hurting this sector, which is struggling to compete with the offerings of individuals.
- The importance of booking platforms: how can we not mention Booking, without which many hotels could not fill their rooms? Customer reviews and the ability to compare thousands of hotels in one click appeal to consumers. Due to these platforms, finding and booking a hotel has never been so easy for individuals and companies, indeed. you can now even book online rooms in major hotels for your meetings and seminars. But for hotels, getting to the top of the results is very expensive.
- The importance of standards: many laws constrain the professionals of the sector, who must comply with drastic rules and specifications.
The clientele is more and more difficult: it is no secret that the client is king. To be fully satisfied, hotels have to bend over backwards: what was optional and “premium” content 10 years ago is now standard. Finally, customer relations must be at the heart of a hotel’s priority, hence the importance of having staff who are 100% dedicated to clients.
The internal transformation of this sector
It is not just the external environment that puts pressure on hoteliers, the constraints also come from within. Some workers in the sector feel that they have not been revalued because their job has not changed much. This is clearly seen with the new generation, who have very different demands of their employers, demands that they are reluctant to concede for fear that it will hurt their business. Working in the hotel industry requires you to give up weekends, regular hours or vacations.
The hotel industry was able to adapt during the second half of the 20th century and there is little doubt that it will be able to respond to the pressures of the 21st century.