Forward March

Forward March is a common method used in hotel and restaurant operating sectors. Hygiene, food safety… controlling it, especially in these times of health crisis, is essential for managers in the sector.

• • • • • • • • •

This article was written with three hands: I was helped by two head housekeepers of profession, one from Martinique, the other from Paris.

Nadine DINTIMILLE, Head Housekeeper SQUASH HOTEL, Martinique

Victoria CHEVAILLIER, Floor Manager & Service Provider for Parisian Hotels

In a proposal for a post-Covid-19 health charter in the tourism sector, the Alliance Française Tourisme issued a 28-page Memorandum at the end of the containment.

The detailed Health Charter proposes transverse solutions to the different tourism sectors, converging towards a « common core », dense and abstract, applicable to all the actors.

The Charter’s driving force is to provide concrete responses to health issues for the various stakeholders:

– The clients.

– The employees.

– Suppliers, service providers and subcontractors.

Concerning employees in the tourism sector, the Charter distinguishes between :

– Employees in regular contact with customers (or « front office »).

– Employees without contact with customers (or « back-of-house »).

The Charter sets out specific proposals for certain sectors of activity, particularly in the hotel industry.

« These measures, which are specific exclusively to the commercial professional accommodation sector, are in addition to the measures applicable to the entire tourism industry.

Each group or establishment invents its own operational processes in its Anti-Covid approach, each one has its own personal vision of the March Forward revisited.

Most hotel groups and some independents are accompanied by an audit firm.

Labels have been created, Accor has developed a domestic and international label with Bureau Veritas, B & B Hotels and the independent hotels Paris Inn have formed a partnership with Socotec.

Nevertheless, the implementation of the Post-Covid Forward Walk, particularly among independent hotels, is adapted in a very empirical way from one establishment to another.

What are the concrete implementations and impacts on the Forward Walk in the Independent Hotel Industry?

The Forward Principle

The famous « Marche en Avant » is a principle of hygiene, deployed in a quality approach.

It applies to the hotel, restaurant and hospital sectors.

The rule: healthy products must not cross the path of soiled products.

In the catering sector, the premises are compartmentalized with method, ideally :

– Goods receiving and unpacking area.

– Washing area for vegetables.

– Hot and cold preparation area and according to specialities.

– Storage area for finished products.

– Alternative path for waste and insulated waste area.

– Alternative path for products to be stored and storage area for basic products.

Eliminating crossovers in the chain of soiled or unsuitable products is the objective of the Forward Walk.

Throughout the production process and at each operational stage, the product remains healthy.

In the hotel industry, the reasoning and procedures are the same for bedroom, bathroom or table linen.

Transporting dirty linen in a basket or bag identical to clean linen means re-contaminating the clean one with the deposits generated by the dirty one.

The Post-Covid Forward March

Before Covid, the Floor Staff had to wear a pair of gloves when cleaning the Bathrooms.

Wearing gloves made the staff safer by protecting them from the use of chemicals and toxic products.

In the Pre-Covid era, only bathroom safety gloves were mandatory.

Now, three pairs of gloves are mandatory:

– One pair of gloves to take the waste and dirty laundry out of the room.

– One pair of gloves to bring back clean linen and hospitality products.

– One pair of gloves to clean the bathroom and protect yourself from chemical agents (originally only safety gloves were mandatory).

As part of staff training, several pairs of gloves are required for maids.

Step 1

The Staff enters the room, masked, adorned with a charlotte.

Depending on the category of the hotel, generally from 3*, they can wear an additional protective gown.

The Staff opens the window(s) of the room, those of the bathroom or activates the ventilation system (vmc).

They collect the used bed linen and towels and stores them in an airtight bag.

The reception products are systematically thrown away, hence the need to put less than before Covid.

They throw the first pair of gloves in the trash can outside the room.

Step 2

The Staff takes a second pair of gloves.

They first run hot water over all the sanitary facilities and then apply the virucidal products in the bathroom.

They rub everywhere with a clean sponge (new each time for the high-end sector).

Sensitive corners in the bathrooms are to be cleaned carefully before and after Covid :

The shower trap, the top and bottom of the soap holder, the ventilation grid, in France: dust on bathroom radiators.

Vinegar is preferred on taps when there is too much limescale in the bathroom (also in the kettle to remove limescale).

Although much appreciated for its natural and effective character, vinegar is not virucidal, therefore not anti-Covid.

The classic codes of microfibers and sponges are of different colors:

– Microfibers and sponges in red color are intended for WC toilets 🟥

– Microfiber sponge set in green color are for sink and tub/shower 🟩

– Blue microfibers reserved for cleaning the room 🟦

The color system is a widespread and mnemonic means for Floor Staff.

The codes are reflected in the colors of the packaged cleaning products:

the red products are for the sanitary, the green products for the washbasins, the blue ones for the room … is for the sanitary, for the green washbasins.

The color code allows to avoid cleaning with the same supports the WC and the washbasin, for example.

One of the roles of the housekeeper is to enforce these codes.

While the product is acting in the bathroom, the Floor Staff take off their gloves and make the bed.

To do so, they change the protective pads on the mattress and cushions.

High-end post-Covid revolution: no longer at each Departure, i.e. redoing a White Room, but now at each Recouche.

The Palaces bring out the heavy artillery, such as the Hôtel de Crillon and its anti-Covid guns,

also provided with a 60-page Health Charter co-authored with the Apave audit firm.

 Au Crillon, les gouvernantes, femmes de chambres et responsables de la propreté, utilisent désormais un pistolet à UV et à spray désinfectant.

Sheets are changed systematically even when a room is made.

Same for the bathroom linen (bath and bath towels, floor mats, terry cloth squares) in 4* and 5*.

In 3* and below, the Customer has the choice of an « à la carte » cleaning to reduce maintenance costs.

In this case, two pairs of gloves are used to manage the overlay.

Finally, the Staff proceeds with the dusting of the room: headboard, bedside tables, interior and exterior lamps, baseboards, cupboards, doors…

clockwise so as not to omit anything, such as the underside of the bed.

Step 3

The Person throws the second pair of gloves into the outside garbage can and then uses the third pair.

They clean the bathroom to avoid damaging his/her hands and rinses everything with hot water.

They go on with the wiping of each bathroom, with the different supports.

The staff installs the towels and places the bathroom amenities in the position desired by the hotel.

They use their mop with a broom impregnated with the product and clean their bathroom floor.

The Upstairs service classically alternates two sweeping brushes.

While he uses a shaving broom on one room, they let the other broom soak and disinfect in the Office.

On their way out, they vacuum the room and leaves after checking his self-checking card.

They regularly (every 4 hours maximum) throw their masks into the dedicated garbage cans.

Depending on the category and positioning of the establishment, the room will be controlled by a housekeeper who is now masked and gloved.

She will be able to embellish it with a note from the management, additional welcome gifts and special attentions, as well as impeccable hygiene.

Where do we go from here?

In 4*, the average cleaning was 12 rooms before Covid, after Covid it will be reduced.

The cleaning time has increased: each room has to be redone automatically or on demand.

Processes have multiplied, especially with the use of triple gloves.

The total cleaning of the bathroom linen and sheets involves an additional cost.

What about the impact on Average Prices?

The Must’s

– The Essential Gestures for the Staff :

To make the bed, position of the knight serving for your Staff. One knee on the ground and one knee to raise so as to have a straight back.

When the Staff bends in all cases, he lowers both knees and keeps his back straight (i.e. training Gestures & Postures UMIH Martinique).

– Chemical Contamination :

In addition to the principle of forward motion that banishes the mixing of dirty and clean, avoid mixing clean and chemical by arranging the products together.

If the floor is carpeted, remember to place a towel underneath the bunk to prevent the toxic products from spilling onto the floor.

Also in the Staff bunks, do not mix the host products with the cleaning products.

MILCEM

Vatel Goal : the excellence of Martinican managers

The MILCEM is a Public Employment Service close to the aspirations of 7,000 young people in Martinique. We met Frédérique Dispagne, Director of the Vatel Martinique school. She tells us a little more about this prestigious school of hotel, restaurant and tourism management. The first class of Vatel Martinique will be returning to school next September at the Valmenière Hotel.

• • • • • • • • •

👉 https://bit.ly/3jykZIc

– You are the director of the Vatel Martinique school, can you introduce us to this structure?

Vatel Martinique is a graduate school of hotel, restaurant and tourism management. Our school is a member of the 1st World Group for Hotel and Tourism Management Education: 50 campuses – 7,000 students – 35,000 graduates.

Vatel’s objective is to develop the excellence of tomorrow’s Martinican and Caribbean managers. Our mission is to train, by alternating theory and practice, operational and executive managers in the international hotel and tourism industry.

Vatel combines the hotel values of availability and concentration, expertise and passion.

2 programs are offered :

1st Cycle: Bachelor Manager in International Hospitality (Title level 6 registered RNCP)

2nd Cycle: MBA International Hotel Manager (Title level 7 registered RNCP)

Vatel Martinique prepares its students for management careers in departments as diverse as :

* operational, marketing, sales, management, human resources, communication … adapted to hosting,

* Catering, hotel and tourism operations and entrepreneurship in the hotel industry.

For the moment, Vatel Martinique is recruiting 1st year students who wish to complete a Bachelor in International Hotel Management over 3 years (Bac + 3).

Eventually, a 2-year MBA (Bac + 5 years) will also be offered.

For our return to school scheduled for September 21, 2020, Vatel Martinique sees its promotion complete. It is still possible to apply, the file will be placed on the waiting list.

– Vatel, a prestigious school… A great opportunity for Martinique ?

The tourist job pool directly and indirectly supports thousands of people on our territory Martinique.

The more the hotel business will go up in range, the more it will hire more people. The upscale hotel industry, in addition to its economic role, is the face of an attractive destination.

Hoteliers and the entire sector will have to invest and reinvent themselves.

The rise of the hotel industry as well as the professionalization of bed and breakfasts and furnished tourist accommodation will be done by young people trained for these challenges.

Vatel Martinique is in place to support the professionals of the hotel sector, which is strategic for our economy and our society in Martinique.

– What is your career path ?

I studied at the Lycée Schœlcher in Martinique and then left the island to do an MBA at Vatel Paris (Bac +5).

I recently returned after 19 years of experience in the French and European hotel industry.

My curriculum has revolved around: marketing in Palaces (Le Meurice, Le Plaza Athénée, Le Royal Monceau) then the opening of 3 and 4 star Parisian hotels.

Consulting in yield management (internet marketing) and statistics (market intelligence) in the European hotel industry.

I am determined to contribute with all our team to the growth of Vatel in Martinique and the Caribbean.

Convinced of the determining asset of the mention « Vatel » on my CV and in my professional experiences, I wish that the young people of Martinique also benefit from it.

At the same time, I manage a furnished tourist accommodation in Fort-de-France, because Vatel has allowed me to develop an entrepreneurial know-how.

– What advice would you give to a young person who would like to get started ?

To take the plunge and take risks !

Tourism is a particularly resilient sector, where opportunities will abound once the COVID-19 health crisis is over.

The Vatel school, the experience and the network that results from it, allow young people to very quickly project themselves towards managerial and entrepreneurial careers.

I was appointed Hotel Manager 6 years after graduating from Vatel.

State and OTA’s

In 2018 Booking.com :

Around $100 billion in market capitalization

Annual revenues of around $93 billion

In 2019, bookings made through the various websites of the Booking.com Group reached $96.4 billion.

Customers booked the equivalent of 845 million overnight stays, 77 million days of car rentals and 7 million airline tickets.

Booking.com is the leading pure players in the travel industry, there are also Expedia, Trip.com, Airbnb.

These players benefit from advantageous tax exemptions due to their financial package.

It should be noted that Booking.com owes €100 million to the French tax authorities, with an adjustment of €356 million in 2015.

GDP of the French State: $2,762 billion in 2018

After COVID, the French government’s GDP would fall by 12.5%, placing it in 7th place in the world economy.

In France, the projected Losses of Tourism related to COVID 19: €40 billion.

When will a State Ministry of Tourism be able to seize these financial windfalls with all its might and defend the interests of French accommodation providers?

Not in 2020…

Opening of the Vatel Martinique School in 2020

Vatel opens its doors in Martinique, in partnership with a Caribbean hotel group experienced in business and leisure hotels. The school is located in Fort de France within the Hotel La Valmenière.

• • • • • • • • •

Study hotel management at Vatel Martinique

In the heart of the capital, this establishment has a privileged location and will allow students to take advantage of quality infrastructures with a breathtaking view of the famous bay of Fort-de-France.

Vatel Martinique offers a complete training with a level II curriculum (Bachelor-license) then the possibility to continue to level I (MBA- Master).

A management school on the flower island

Martinique nestles in the heart of the Caribbean arc between the islands of Dominica to the north and Saint Lucia to the south.

8 hours flight from Europe, the « Ile aux fleurs » is a French department and is part of the European Union.

The socio-administrative structures are identical to the other regions of France.

In 2017, Martinique welcomed more than one million tourists, a record figure that confirms its tourism development.

At the same time as strengthening the tourist offer and increasing professional opportunities, Martinique is taking up the challenge of upgrading its hotel facilities.

The destination Martinique is characterized by its biodiversity and unique landscapes: the South is bordered by a coastline with magnificent beaches.

The regional natural park covers an area of 63,000 hectares and includes sites as diverse as the south coast, the petrified savannah, the Caravelle peninsula and the Diamond region.

The North offers the luxuriance of tropical forests and reveals an extraordinary garden.

Montagne Pelée (1397 meters) and the Pitons du Carbet reign as masters of the volcanic massifs.

Whether one prefers activities on land or at sea, the exploration of Martinique is inexhaustible: diving, sailing, hiking, surfing, mountain biking, climbing, golf, paragliding, canyoning, jet skiing, rafting, tree climbing, swimming with sea turtles and dolphins.

The rich heritage reflects the history of Martinique and its inhabitants throughout history.

About a hundred sites are classified as « historical monuments ».

The population is distinguished by its great diversity, the result of the island’s history.

Martinique is a peaceful and exotic region of France.

A School a few minutes from Capital

In the immediate vicinity of the business district, the school is hosted by a classified establishment with a variety of services and hotel facilities.

The downtown area of Fort-de-France boasts a heritage steeped in history, shopping facilities, a large fruit and vegetable market, access to the island’s most beautiful beaches by shuttle bus, not to mention its many affordable cafés and restaurants.

Bordered by the Caribbean Sea, observable from the Place de la Savane, the bay of the flamingos of Fort-de-France has been classified among the most beautiful in the world.

The Vatel Martinique school is just a few minutes from the city center, fully served by the high level service bus (TCSP), also serving the airport and the city of Le Lamentin.

Living in Martinique, A continual Discovery

Martinique is part of the Caribbean Archipelago.

It is bathed to the west by the Caribbean Sea and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean.

Its astonishing nature offers sublime seaside landscapes, a luxuriant vegetation, a prodigious biodiversity including the famous Pelee Mountain.

Martinique’s cultural heritage sets it apart and makes the island unique and exciting: AOC rum distilleries, traditional sailing races, renowned literature and writers.

Living in the heart of the « Windward Islands » means being able to discover the neighboring islands of Dominica or Saint Lucia just a few kilometers away for a weekend.

At 3,150 km from New York and 440 km from the first South American coast, the American continent is immediately accessible.

They are talking about us

Veille Tourisme Antilles : https://bit.ly/2UTuPZw

Martinique 1ère : https://bit.ly/2wIiQ9t

France Info : https://bit.ly/2R0IXPU

France Antilles : https://bit.ly/2xGIT0U

ViaaTV : https://bit.ly/2R0IXPU

https://bit.ly/2UykTG2

Contact Entreprise : https://bit.ly/3dHAo65

https://bit.ly/2JzvA4J

Ewag : https://bit.ly/3bHHJko

Official website (brochures requests and registration): http://www.vatel.mq

Contact : Frédérique DISPAGNE

+ 596 (0)6 96 56 57 44

f.dispagne@vatel.mq

Hotels and Furnished Accommodation, How to Get Along

Commonplace : In many cities around the world, one-time housing platforms are all the rage. AIRBNB type actors are shaking up the codes of accommodation, questioning and transforming them. But if there is a war between Furnished Accommodation and Hotel Establishment, it is because there is a misunderstanding. The objective of this article is to take concrete actions to identify the share of cake of each party.

• • • • • • • • •

Background

Following several serious studies, angelism is no longer in order.

Decrease of the Average Hotel Price

Furnished accommodations undoubtedly lower the average price of hotels.

The 2018 report « Airbnb in Paris: what impact on the hotel industry?  « proposes a new methodology to measure the competitive pressure exerted on the hotel industry.

The results indicate that an increase in the number of Airbnb suppliers in the vicinity of a hotel leads the hotel to lower its price (between 0.75% and 1.6% in 2018).

The effect is amplified on weekend evenings.

The summary report explains two main points:

– Tourists prefer furnished accommodation, and business tourists prefer hotels.

So many ways to enrich a local offer without touching the fundamentals that have made it successful: shared accommodation.

Airbnb essentially targets budget and economic tourism.

Airbnb’s Corporate offer concerns 10 to 15% of its turnover.

While tourists may consider the Airbnb option for an experience, business customers probably don’t have that objective.

There is more substitutability between Airbnb shared accommodations with hotel rooms than between entire Airbnb accommodations and hotel rooms.

The fact that the supply of whole accommodations does not have a negative effect on the price of hotels seems to be consistent with the fact that hotels are more aimed at a business clientele.

– Unranked hotels are the ones that suffer the most from Airbnb’s competition for whole accommodations.

3* and 4* hotels are more impacted than 2* and 5* hotels for shared accommodations.

The 2* is not impacted: it can be assumed that in terms of offers and rates the 2* is equivalent to Airbnb accommodation.

The 5* remains little impacted: it can be assumed that its level of services, personalization and services positions it above the competition with furnished accommodation.

Note: 3, 4, 5 stars are negatively impacted by shared accommodation.

In addition to an overvalued average price, which implies a lower occupancy rate, regulatory disparities exist between the Furnished and Hotels.

Disparate Regulation

Hotel regulations are heavy: every 5 years, a safety and classification visit is mandatory, along with frequent hygiene checks.

The disparity leads to qualify the competition of the furnished apartments as unfair.

In the long run, this lack of regulation of furnished accommodation weighs like a chronicle of announced misfortune, like that of Orinda’s killing in a Villa rented on Airbnb.

The terrible child is as much for hotelkeepers as it is for institutions: the city of Paris intended to force the platform to withdraw more than a thousand ads deemed illegal.

The Court of First Instance dismissed the City in March 2019. To date, Airbnb is required to comply with the ELAN Law, concerning whole houses only.

Platforms are required to communicate to municipalities that have a « registration » procedure in place.

What Actions

When there is competition, two strategies arise:

– The Red Ocean Strategy

In Red Ocean, I fight head-on with my Competitors, until death follows (Red being an allusion to the blood that flows between the competing sectors or companies).

An example of the Red Ocean hotel business is the hybridization of establishments.

Eventually, market shares are shared, uncertain and positioning is blurred.

– The Blue Ocean Strategy

In Blue Ocean, I breathe and I distance myself from my Competitors: I leave them some ground to conquer others.

Once I’ve approached my fields, I anchor and develop them.

An example of Océan Bleu’s hotel business is the eco-lodges or the new human-scale Luxury Homes such as La Réserve.

Act in existing markets

Create new market

Win over rivals

Eliminate competition

Exploit existing demand

Create and capture new demand

Reach the best price/quality ratio

Break de Price/Quality cycle

Pursue differential prices or low cost

Create differential price and High prices

If a destination remains in the Red Ocean, it becomes phagocytic.

The prohibitions, penalties, regulations will not erase the new opportunities and facilities of the Furnished ones.

The power of incitement and mutual finding of common ground is often more perennial.

I am a Hotelier

Business Tourism Spotlight

On the scale of my Establishment

If the corporate clientele represents €5 billion annually, there is necessarily a lion’s share to be cut.

I make available to my Corporate Clients all the amenities they are fond of:

– Fast and easy access: downtown, highway and suburban areas to be favored.

– Presence on the Corporate Reservation Platforms: GDS, Egencia, HCorpo…

– Fast Reservation Tunnel: less than three ring tones phone, email response within the hour…

– Flexible and efficient Check in and Check out, ideally Pre-check in and Pre-check out.

– Customized company billing.

– Efficient and free WiFi.

– Provision of frequently forgotten and necessary items: razor, toothbrushes, shoe shine, 5G key universal adapters.

– Presence of Amenities and Services: Coffee, tea, bottled water…

– Late snack service, room service, reactive dry cleaning.

– In-room work surface, Lobby and work spaces in living areas.

– Affordable early morning breakfast.

– Loyalty program by service or rate.

On the scale of my Destination

The hotelier is above all a receptive. To be exemplary in its services Coporate is not enough.

He coordinates with his tourist collaborators for the structuring of the Business Offer of his destination.

Thanks to its regular surveys of its business clientele’s expectations, the hotelier establishes with its cluster/tourism office the annual action plan to be carried out.

An exemplary case study is that of Lille.

Based on its strategic infrastructure, including the Grand Palais, Lille has been one of the « Top 10 » French cities for hosting European and international congresses since 2014.

Spotlight on High-End Leisure

On the scale of my Establishment

The fundamental challenge is simple to understand: unlike Furnished Hotels, Hotels have 30 to 60% of Social Charges to manage.

And that the challenge is as clear and coveted by Airbnb: a traditional upscale and leisure clientele, familiar with 4 and 5* establishments.

The Hotelier employs young people, supports families and has a social responsibility in its establishment.

In order to achieve a Gross Operating Income of over 30%, which is essential for its re-investment, renovation and, let’s face it… for its own benefit.

The price is higher than and cannot compete with that of the Furnished apartments (between 50 € and 85 € depending on the city).

According to the attractiveness of each destination (agglo, city…), the Hotelier will be able to position his cursor. It will necessarily be higher than the rates resulting from the Furnished accommodation of equivalent category, according to its additional operating lines.

The increase in the price range assumes a human service trained, over-trained, a hotel product worked on in terms of equipment and services.

On the scale of my Destination

Here again, the representative body of the destination has a role to play at first hand.

The CTIG (Tourist Committee of the Islands of Guadeloupe) stands out in this context.

Example of measures characteristic of the virtuous will of the CTIG: aid is granted to accommodation only if it is upgraded.

[La TOUBANA Hotel & spa]

As a hotelkeeper, I avoid :

  • In the middle and low season, to plan my Average Price to win Tourists of Stay already captured by the Furnished ones. I keep my value-added positioning, a better condition of my accommodation, I grant my staff annual vacations, I privilege a local anchorage by pushing with my exemplary conference rooms, my co-working spaces and my catering offer for local Corporates.
  • To yielding too much on the length of stay beyond three nights that pushes away the business clientele.
  • To go downscale by omitting regular staff training, equipment renovations…

And why not, as a Hotelkeeper, tease the Furnished a little?

To appear on temporary hosting platforms. The furnished ones do it well on Booking . The positioning is not blurred as long as the accommodations are correctly referenced.

Propose apartments and not only rooms. Complementary alternative for families or trips with friends, additional income for the hotel and visibility with an exclusively « Furnished » clientele.

I am a Furnished

Standardization of the Offer

I classify myself according to my Furnished services, from 1 to 5*.

By structuring the offer of my destination and its transparency, I communicate commercially on my respect of reception standards.

Focal point on the Tourism of Stay

– Minimum capacity of 2, ideally 3 to 4 people per accommodation, with additional occupancy charged to enhance my Average Price.

– Friendly welcome and departure, full of feelings (fruit baskets).

– Local experience: targeted catering advice, personalized sightseeing tours, transportation rental.

– Provision of extra bed, baby and child accessories, tourist accessories (beach chairs and towels, snowshoes, skiing…).

As a Furnished, I avoid :

  • To go less than 5 nights minimum. It is not necessarily profitable, the margin is gained rather by the length of stay.

– Not to submit myself to hygiene, security and comfort regulations which degrades my e-reputation.

And why not, as a furnished, tease the hotelkeeper a little?

  • On the conviviality of the reception with quality welcome products, fruit baskets, an atypical presentation of the bed?

– Dusting off its services in order to stimulate the hotelier and help him to reinvent himself: an interactive welcome booklet, an atypical breakfast?

In a future article, we will discuss additional services in tourist accommodation.

Choosing the Right Suppliers

In the context of a cruising speed operation or a hotel opening, the selection of suppliers may vary between routine necessity and the act of survival. Why neglect it? Perhaps perceived as random, time-consuming, or even subsidiary, the comparative study of suppliers is going to be one of the best moments of our day, thanks to three simple approaches.

• • • • • • • • •

A few quick techniques to compare and contrast your providers will seem as fun as sipping a coffee. A few months before a hotel opening, a pile of suppliers to benchmark is waiting on the desk.

Mattresses, sheets, sponges, hospitality products, coffee machines, washing machines, dryers, breakfast, wine list, dishes, PMS, Channel manager, Webmaster, Laundry…The list is not exhaustive, is it ever to make the most of an establishment?

In this article, I share with you the three most amusing examples of benchmarks, with three different and complementary approaches.

A benchmark has a simple objective: in a specific context, to help you make the best decision.

1. Laundry, Cost Approach

When an item has a strong impact on the operating account (>10% of variable or fixed costs), it is preferable to give priority to the cost criterion.

Laundry (cleaning of sheets and sponges) is one of these very greedy budget lines.

For linen (sheets, mattresses, pillowcases), put external cleaning and linen rental in competition with each other.

Use the in-house cleaning method if you do not have a dedicated laundry area (this budget is often to be excluded in hotels where every square meter counts).

From the outset, narrow your selection down among the referenced launderers, such as the Cercle du Propre, a network of external cleaning professionals.

You can be assured of continuous, high-quality service from a trusted service provider.

Laundry is too vital in a hotel establishment to avoid a pre-selection, already carried out by the professionals who make up the network.

Case study

For laundry, the cost criteria is the most important.

Linen cleaning (flat sheets, fitted sheets, pillowcases, comforters, bolsters)

At the QOC, I excluded the method of internalization of cleaning because there is no space available for it.

It is calculated that :

  • the external cleaning of the linen would amount to 127 000 €.
  • instead of 210 000 € for the linen rental.
  • for the first two years of operation.

You can find and use the Comparative Linen Methodology.

I reinforced this economic choice by the presence of a full-time housekeeper, who constantly checked the shipments and returns of linen.

Without a prior and a posteriori control, external cleaning can drastically reduce your original stocks.

Some unavoidable losses are to be considered in the context of careful control. They are, however, minor compared to the economic delta of the operating account.

To make it easier to locate and identify our linen, we have customized it by the linen supplier, in accordance with our COQ image, Made in France.

We certainly reinforced the axis of our communication, first of all, for concerns of good economic management.

Cleaning of Sponges (face towels, bath towels, bath mats)

I made a similar comparison between internal cleaning (we had a smaller space dedicated to this possibility, with washing and drying machines), external cleaning and rental.

It is arbitrated that internal cleaning is the most economically advantageous:

  • 24,000 € for the first two years.
  • instead of 56 000 € for external cleaning of sponges.
  • instead of 80 000 € for the rental of sponges.
  • for the first two years of operation.

You can find and use the Comparative Sponges Methodology.

Acquiring a washing machine and a dryer seemed to me the most profitable solution over the next two years.

The equipment allowed a reactive and autonomous washing and drying from the suppliers.

Six months later, I realized my wrong selection.

I hadn’t measured the overall cost impact: the redundant use of the washing machine without a limescale filter in Paris was gradually greying the sponges.

This waste of hard water meant that we had to buy back the entire stock. The installation of the filter on the washing machine had not been costed and it was consequent a posteriori.

On the other hand, I hadn’t calculated the work imposed by the counting and folding of the towels either. The time of the breakfast lady was dedicated to this activity, instead of contributing to the cleaning of the rooms.

Thanks to the Sponges Methodology spreadsheet, I was able to revise my copy and re-arbitrate between internal and external cleaning on the basis of hotel occupancy.

A benchmark does not exclude casting errors, it allows you to review your choices quickly and methodically.

For heavy operating lines, the cost criterion is decisive.

2. Bedding, Quality Approach

There are budget lines that represent so much of the quality of an institution that it doesn’t matter how expensive or cheaper it is.

The most important thing is to maximize customer satisfaction.

The Quality criteria is intended to carry the most weight in the choice of these suppliers and products.

Bedding is, in my opinion, the most iconic example of Quality in an establishment.

The hotelier sells above all an ultra-serene, ultra-comfortable sleep. The Quality of the mattresses is to be assured at all costs.

Case Study

On the first spreadsheet, Comparative Methodology Mattresses, I have assembled the functions that seemed to me determining in terms of Quality,

by comparing the three selected competitors.

By selecting three discriminating quality criteria highlighted in yellow in the Method :

– the after-sales service, in this case the most important in case of deterioration of the mattresses, which would handicap the sale of the room.

– The carcass synonymous with the quality and durability of the product.

– The « Icon » function, which is the story we would tell our customers after their night’s sleep about their mattress.

A flagship product of the room is to be selected according to its tangible quality and to the dream function inherent to a night in a hotel.

50 professional mattresses and box springs do not have a neutral impact on cash flow and depreciation.

To be completed by a Comparative Bedding Rate where the rates before and after two negotiations are summarized.

The heaviest criterion was indeed the quality, but the cost, although secondary, could not be excluded for a global photograph.

In this case, I arbitrated in favor of the provider Nid d’Or for its quality:

– Product: Its functions were the most advanced.

– After-sales service: The sales representative was constantly moving from one hotel to another when necessary.

Fortunately, its rates were the most attractive: icing on the cake.

On strategic products, prices are always negotiable but it is the quality criterion that prevails.

3. The Amenities, Brand Image Approach

At the COQ, my selection turned towards the value of “Home sweet home ».

While Amenities (Hospitality Products) are particularly appealing to the customer, they don’t have the availability or the reflex to learn about the brand and buy it.

In the spirit of the Hotel as at Home, the Host will inform you about the products they use and is always open to share their tips.

We have developed with the signature Rituals in Holland and the local Parisian supplier One Touch their very first Hotel partnership.

The COQ guest always has in his room a coupon for a 20% discount on all Rituals products in the Boutique,

5 minutes from the Hotel, at Printemps Place d’Italie.

At Patio Gallieni, I wanted to develop strong partnerships with local providers.

The building is in the heart of Fort-de-France. Our moto is the easy and true discovery of Martinique in the North and South, without omitting the heart of the city.

I sourced the welcome products from a local supplier, the Savonnerie Antillaise, which exclusively promotes local production.

Made in Martinique, they are scented with local lime, aloe, pineapple, guava, coconut.

The plastic packaging and unit packaging is nevertheless regrettable.

The offer of a Dispenser and liquid soap in bulk is indispensable in the inevitable sustainable tourism.

Your suppliers or service providers are above all in your image on the products that your customers use.

Amenities (hospitality products) give a deep meaning to the Brand Image.

On the products that are directly subject to customer perception, priority is given to the Brand Image of your hotel.

The Essentials

Justify your choice with the rejected suppliers in your benchmark: it’s a second chance for them … and for you.

A supplier rejected one day can become your best future supplier: don’t hesitate to renew your benchmarks every year.

Share your benchmarks with your hotel competitors: a grouped negotiation is worth hundreds.

Invite your suppliers to share moments in your hotel: they will often give it back to you with equivalent gestures.

In a future article, we will consider the methods of Prospecting Company Clients, essential to the mattress of your occupancy rate.

Establishing an Activity Forecast

At the end of each year, establishing a forecast of activity for the coming year can be as imperative as it is uncertain. The process makes it possible to establish an activity forecast with eyes almost closed. The method dedicated to the hotel sector is established in three quick and concrete steps.

• • • • • • • • •

A hotel forecast is divided into three parts:

The Top Line (Average Price, Occupancy Rate, Income Per Room)

The Bottom Line (Consumables, Social Security, Fixed Charges, Other Charges)

The End Line (Gross Operating Surplus)

To each establishment the joy of putting to music its forecast according to its operating account. Each hotelier determines his own lines of management of exploitation. Here, the large ensembles are determined.

Our focus is to easily find the right metrics in the right places and insert them in its own matrix.

Two approaches are commonly used to predict the future: the Top Down and Bottom Up approaches.

In Top Down, the reasoning is more like this:

Destination – City – Market – Hotel Establishment

With decisive statistics, we favour this most scientific method as soon as the choice is open to us.

On the basis of a critical volume of participants in the sector (10 participants from the same segment in relation to the market for example), the relevance of KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), and the history over several decades, the decision-making process is considerably facilitated.

The past has a high probability of heralding the future.

In Bottom Up, the reasoning is more like this :

Hotel Establishment – Market – City – Destination

If we have poor or even non-existent market information, or if the players collaborate little in collective intelligence, we resign ourselves to the Bottom Up strategy, whose extrapolation is more uncertain.

Through external observation of the prices and commercial strategies of competitors or those who are close to them, one can effortlessly deduce a price level and vaguely a rate of occupancy.

The Top Line: Performance Indicators

The three basic indicators are :

Occupancy rate (O.R.)

Average price (M.P.)

Income per room (RevPar)

The basis is the three strategic indicators.

In parallel, it is possible to refine your forecast via the number of rooms available, the number of rooms to rent, the PM HT and TTC, break down the turnover between accommodation, PDJ – F&B, extras…

But it is around the basic indicators that I advise you to gravitate. They are transverse to your entire sector, and the objective is to be able to compare yourself with them.

It is nowadays quite easy in France to have reliable Top Down information, based on market statistics.

🏙️ At the level of destinations (countries) and cities: by the Observatories.

🏨 At the neighborhood level: by the Markets Reports.

🛎️ At the level of direct competitors: by the Competitive Sets (CompSets).

It is possible to refer free of charge to INSEE statistics, but with three reservations:

The delay in returning the indicators (delay of one or even several months).

The reliability of the methodology: the sample of establishments is unstable from one year to the next, and the M.P. is not necessarily indicated.

The key indicator of the M.P. is not constantly reported.

These cold statistics allow for a quality compiled return of the tourism sector from one year to the next, without being the decisive tool for a reactive forecast from one year to the next.

Reliability of the methodology: The sample of institutions is unstable from year to year, and the M.P. is not necessarily reported.

The M.P. determinant indicator is not consistently reported.

These cold statistics allow for a quality compiled return of the tourism sector from one year to the next, without being the decisive tool for a reactive forecast from one year to the next.

My recommendation is to select private firms or tourism clusters/associations able to provide you with hot statistics on a daily basis.

At this stage, you are therefore called upon to compare the most representative samples of the market to which you belong: complete indicators, critical volume, appropriate segmentation.

In addition, the selection will be based on their methodology: punctuality of report delivery, reliability of collections. Thus the report will be as close as possible to your market.

If you have market information such as Observatory (city) or Markets (neighborhood, conurbation), you can already look forward to it. These statistics are generally free of charge, as they are financed by the tourist institutions that mandate them for your property.

If you can go as far as the comparison by a CompSet in most cases paying, I recommend you to invest in these reports customized to your establishment.

You will then have all the levels of observation, from the macro-market (the destination) to the micro-market (your competitors) through the intermediate market that is your neighborhood or town.

👉A lot of hotelkeepers asked me how to set up a good CompSet when I was working for MKG.

Some of them wanted, in the future, to move up-market. They were wondering about the relevance of comparing themselves to hotels in a higher category in their current market.

Their goal was to position themselves upwards by comparing themselves with better establishments than their own, before having made their move up-market.

A CompSet is a true mirror of your hotel. Select your most similar competitors in every respect (category, type, room volume, or even e-reputation).

The objective is to provide you with a benchmark to ensure that you can draw up a scientific and statistical activity forecast.

The objective is to stick to the reality of your future and your performance.

By the time, for example, you move up the range and all your improvements are delivered, you will be able to establish a brand new CompSet with your adapted high-end competitors.

👉Some hotelkeepers have also objected to me that CompSets are based on the past.

Why refer to the past performance of competitors when it is the future performance that is of interest?

Our answer is that the past is much more predictive than the future.

For metrics (excluding attacks), the volatility of the Paris market, with its complexities, multiple events and hazards, is estimated at 5% from one year to the next.

👉Some hotelkeepers believe that the Top Line of CompSets mixes oranges and carrots:

Average Net Price (especially with Expedia, wholesalers, Tour Operators) and Average Commissioned Price (especially with Booking.com and most Online Travel Agencies).

The objection is well-founded, however the Average Price is always interesting to study in terms of annual and monthly variation (upward or downward trend). On the other hand, the estimated M.P. remains a market indicator, more than any other indicator.

It is the same for the Occupancy Rate which is not always restated in the same way according to the establishments (the methods of firm and pending reservations diverge, of withdrawal or addition of rooms under construction).

This scum makes the O.R. vary by a few points, but here again, an estimate exists in absolute value and in variation.

In synthesis, the CompSet is a slightly blurred photograph, which has the merit of drawing decisive contours for forecasting decisions.

A fragmented, crossed and parallel approach to reality is more instructive than no approach at all.

Case study

I am about to open a 4* hotel in the 20th district of Paris.

I wish to establish my business forecast over 5 years to provide to my bank and be able to base myself on a Competitive Set in order to reassure it and obtain my loan.

There is no equivalent to my offer yet in Belleville or Charonne. I opt for the option of two Competitive Sets that I could cross:

A first CompSet « Market » in which I list the demand pick up of the 20th district.

The report compiles the occupancy rates of the entire hotel market over the last five years.

This Market CompSet will provide a framework for my forecast Occupancy Rate (O.R.) management.

A second CompSet « Offer » in which I list the Average Prices (A.P.) of the 4 stars in a nearby district: 10, 11, 12, 19. over the last five years.

Thanks to this CompSet, I can be sure of visibility on my price policy and the evolutions of my M.P.

By cross-referencing these two CompSets reports, I combine the monitoring of my T.O and P.M. performance indicators, from which I will determine the monitoring of my Revenue per Room (RevPar).

The Bottom Line: Operating Expenses

In France, load metrics are statistically unexplored.

No firm reports the percentage weighting of fixed or variable social security charges for hotels, based on a reliable sample, except through spot audits. Personally, I find that this is where the Property Management System (P.M.S.) would offer added value and convenience.

Since we can’t use the Top Down method, we may require the Bottom Up method.

It is based on the compilation of the direct interrogation of your market (at least a dozen hotel employees ideally neighbors for a relevant sample, a few service providers with knowledge of the sector in the background).

The approach has the merit of being grass root, directly from Operations.

It has the disadvantage of being fragmented and erratic from one institution to another. Nevertheless, it is the only option at the moment.

The Bottom Line can be broken down as follows:

🥞 Consumable Purchases

Usual weight: Around 5% of the turnover.

Home products (Amenities, Spa…)

F&B products (Breakfast, Bar…)

Supplies and administrative support

Maintenance products

👷Social Charges

Usual weight: Around 30% of the turnover.

Gross salaries

Paid vacations

Bonuses, Incentives

Social security charges, URSAFF

Interim staff

🏢 Fixed Charges

Usual weight: Around 25% of the turnover.

These are the charges which, whatever your occupancy rate, will weigh on your operating account.

Rent (Usual weight : About 10% of the turnover)

Building maintenance (Elevator, Air conditioning, Heating, Various repairs)

Hardware Maintenance

Fee Management Software, Channel Manager, Website

Phone, router, web subscriptions…

Expert fees

Insurance

Other Expenses (Variable, Tax, Financial)

Usual total weight: Around 20% of the turnover.

📈 Variable Loads

These are the expenses that impact your forecast based on your occupancy rate.

Energy (Water, electricity, gas, heating)

Laundry

Ad hoc marketing (ads, P.R., community)

 Tax expenses

Taxes

Visitor’s tax

Other Tax Expenses

💶 Financial expenses

Commissions on distribution intermediaries (OTAS, booking engine…)

Interest on loans

Bank commissions

The End Line: Gross Operating Surplus (GOES)

Usual weight : Around 25% of the turnover (30% = Champions !)

Your forecast is complete, you can pilot and correct your actions month after month.

You contain and account for your expenses, determined to reach the Top Line objectives based on your performance indicators.

The most important thing is to reach or even outperform the Top Line to reduce the weight of operating expenses.

Thanks to the forecast, you ensure visibility on your E.B.E. (Top Line & Bottom Line).

The E.B.E. on a monthly, quarterly and annual scale allows you to calculate the resource regularly drawn from the operating account.

The monthly, quarterly and annual E.B.E. makes it possible to regularly calculate the resource regularly drawn from the exploitation account.

It corresponds to the famous CASH FLOW of the establishment and will be reported in your intermediate management balance (I.M.B.).

The E.B.E is intended to maintain the production tool and to repay the equity and borrowed capital.

The E.B.E. is your ability, from your operations, to generate cash flow, whatever your financing policy or your depreciation allowance.

It isolates your operational performance and generates three K.P.I:

Profitability rate: E.B.E. / Turnover excluding VAT.

Gross rate of return: EBITDA / Capital employed.

Free Cash Flow: W.C.G. – Tax on operating income (in France, corporate tax 33%) + – Change in working capital requirements (WCR) – Investments.

In an upcoming article, we will discuss some techniques for « Benchmarking a Supplier or Service Provider effectively » 👋.

Hotel Singularity

For two centuries, hotel singularity has been dominated and almost exclusively reserved for ultra-luxury. The revolution in service codes and the transparency of atypical offers on the Web are revolutionizing the benchmark for « exceptional hotels ». So how does one become a singular accommodation today?

• • • • • • • • •

For a long time I wondered what, in the hotel business, and more generally in the areas of service, was exceptional. What kind of concept, brands and invariably brings guests in? What’s the recipe for top of the class and how do you duplicate it? A brief benchmark of practices in our sector can be a source of inspiration that can be adapted to our different categories of establishments.

On closer inspection, the operational exception has its roots in the luxury hotel industry, alongside the classic inn celebrated in the beautiful feature film Hôtel du Nord. Born in the 19th century, the exception is embodied in France by its very first palace, Le Meurice, 180 years ago. The services are innovative and exceptional: soap-washed linen, car rental, room service …

A little over half a century later, Caesar Ritz’s visionary establishment emerged, with a bathtub, private bathroom and telephone in each room, and an elevator on every floor.

After the Second World War, Paris, Nice, Monaco, Deauville, Biarritz became the strongholds of luxury and exceptional hotels. In Nice, the Negresco is the only French establishment to be equipped with a steam boiler, switches and a pneumatic post to deliver the mail in the rooms.

Luxury and exception were one and the same

The Palace qualification will be officially recognized as of 2010. It distinguishes itself from high-end establishments by combining two requirements: being 5 stars and enjoying the Palace distinction.

The exclusive and discretionary classification is reserved for 25 palace establishments in France. The label of exception is obtained in two phases: an expert jury examines the 5-star establishment, at least one year old, with a Spa and a multilingual team. Once this first airlock has been passed through, Atout France, the State operator, decides on the eligibility of the establishment on the basis of 200 criteria.

The award commission is made up of personalities from the worlds of literature, arts, culture, media and business, appointed for a renewable 3-year period by the Minister of Tourism.

The French distinction « Palace » is a response to the need for a palace, whether the standard withered its magic, or whether the multiplication of competition from the four fundamental palaces made this standard necessary… The French distinction « Palace » is intended to meet this need.

Considerable efforts are made in ultra luxury to continue to seduce a delicate and demanding clientele. Historic hotel luxury is no longer intrinsically the only expectation and consideration to embody the exceptional product and the exceptional experience.

The hotel exception is gradually no longer synonymous with luxury in its classic and historical perception. For more than two decades, singularity has flowed through the names « Boutique Hotels », « Design Hotels », « Concept Hotels », « Pocket Palace », « Experience Hotels », etc…

The standards and qualifications are not necessarily very clear, but the offer is prolific and is gradually structured around real customer expectations.

1. The real case by case

As part of the profound and sincere redefinition of luxury, La Réserve Paris, recognized as a Palace, makes a clear bet: fewer units (40 rooms and suites), more dedication to the client. The philosophy of the Michel Reybier group is to reduce the volume of units for a time dedicated and personalized to each client. The functions of gastronomy, florist, floors have one or even several Meilleurs Ouvriers de France. The exceptional treatment and customer experience has earned the establishment recognition two years in a row as the best hotel in the world and in Europe by the Conde Nast Traveler and the US News&World Report.

2. The framework

As a major trend in the hotel industry in the context of its medium and high-end renovations and restructuring, decoration is no longer a secret for the sector. In addition to the undisputed and prolific figures of designer Philippe Starck (Mama Shelter, the Royal Monceau, Brach, Hotel 9 Confidentiel…) and decorator Jacques Garcia (Maison Souquet, the Hotel, the Oscar in London…), other talents are imposing their style: Dorothée Meilichzon, Stella Cadente, Jean Philippe Nuel….

3. Innovation

Home automation

The objective of home automation is to ensure customer comfort without having to move around in the room and to manage the energy of the establishment. The Citizen M hotels with their touch-sensitive tablets are pioneers in this field. A single workstation controls the ambient temperature, lighting, the Web, TV and radio channels, service control, alarm clock, etc.

Biometrics

Check in – check out with your smartphone, seal your safe by fingerprint or facial recognition, it’s done. The field of possibilities is open to a precise knowledge of the customer’s profile (age, sex…), his weight, his health (heart rate, weight), his food consumption at the minibar.

High tech equipment

Glass is explored in all its potentialities: opaque glass to the touch for shower walls to guarantee privacy, magnifying mirror integrated in the bathroom mirror to save time).

Flat and connected screens are embedded in the mirrors. The Artemis intelligent mirror allows the magnifying glass function, the 360 vision to see each other from the back and from the side. It analyzes the skin texture and the adapted treatments, beauty tutorials, and … the check out.

The sanitary facilities are also sexy and atypical, in restaurants and hotels. The French brand Throne is revolutionizing the intimate experience of sanitary facilities.

4. The sustainable

The trend is towards ecology or « green effect ». In 2014, the Green Air Hotel concept born in China aims to upgrade aging hotels with purified air and a refreshing space. The concept will be generalized in the United States by 2020.

5. The staff

An exceptional hotel is a hotel that radiates its staff and its well-being. It is no longer a question of dissociating customer satisfaction from internal satisfaction : the expectations of the new generation of hoteliers differ from the previous ones : fulfilment, social usefulness, team motivation.

The staff, too, is becoming robotic. At the Campanile in Shanghai, it is a robot that ensures the check-in and customer follow-up.

The exceptional has gone from luxury to the quest for simplicity, simplicity and authenticity in human relationships, in daily and practical uses, in the flexibility of the offer, in the wonder, in the rooms or the promotion of the most instagrammable living places, in the respectful (even egalitarian? ) contact with the staff.

New offers related to this mutation are emerging such as the Glamping contraction of glamour and camping. Urban hotels are being transformed into family homes. Eco-lodges are sustainable examples around the world.

We no longer speak of a compartmentalized « reception » but of a welcome, of a « lobby » but of a place to live, of a « personal » but of an « ambassador ».

Day after day, the hotel industry proves its ability to reinvent itself, to adapt to the new model of society, and to surprise us with its exceptions.

 In a forthcoming article, we will discuss simple and quick techniques for establishing a business forecast.

The Hotel Industry will be Sustainable

The idea came to me while having a drink with a hotel owner committed to a sustainable approach.  I am not spontaneously sensitive to environmental issues. But by digging effortlessly, It’s a commercial treasure offered to us. Here, I’ll tell you the benefits to which I am particularly sensitive: financial performance, guest perception, staff motivation.

• • • • • • • • •

I opened the first ecological hotel in Paris. The concept of ultra-claimed urban eco-lodging, a follower of the green attitude, was born in 2011, never to be duplicated. When I left the establishment, I promised myself that I would no longer venture into the land of the environment. Customer feedback was too mixed and even hurtful to make it a success. While some were encouraging and seductive, the vast majority, reading our e-reputation, felt that :

  • We were saving money to their disadvantage.
  • We did not ensure a real quality of equipment: the low-energy lamps did not provide enough light, the water mixers did not allow sufficient pressure.
  • We were a marketing sham.

With hindsight, I’m convinced that we were a sham in my ecological approach. Making sustainability an image success is within the reach of all hotel owners! Several structures around sustainable and concrete practices have already mobilized around the sector, with maturity and a good understanding of the market.

Sustainability is no longer the Holy Grail

For a long time, the environmental approach was exclusively sanctioned by a label. Among them, the Green Globe, on the international scale of ecology, is the Everest international. The Green Key and the NF Environnement mark are well known and recognized eco-labels at the national level; at the European level, the European Eco-label, without forgetting the ISO14001 and EMAS certifications, which are used more for B to B than B to C purposes.

An idea emerged from the Grenelle de l’environnement: environmental signage. The concept? There is no need to be exhaustive in the approach, simply to indicate the efforts made as part of a voluntary approach.

Yes, my super-committed hotel has opted for the systematic sorting of its hospitality products, batteries and toners, yes it has opted for LED bulbs in its living areas and rooms. But no, she has not yet taken the step towards green electricity. As a good housewife, she wants to take a step back on the reliability of the deployment and not impact her guests. So she doesn’t have 20/20, but she is working on it. We call this path an environmental label or display.

Out of 150 hotels piloting the approach since 2011 (a panel made up of 2* to 5* hotels, of which 68% are 3 and 4* hotels – almost equal distribution between independent and large groups: 56% independent hotels and 44% chain hotels), the results show that the approach is being implemented in a number of countries:

30% environmental gains, including greenhouse gas emissions, energy consumption, water and waste.

Reduction in the panel’s operating costs of around €0.50 to €2 per night. 2 € per night seems to be on the margin; calculating on the basis of a 50-room hotel, at 80% occupancy rate: 50 rooms X 80% of TO X 365 days per year X 2 € = 29 200 € per year represents one month of additional GOR (Gross Operating Income).

Beyond the encouraging cost-killing and the concrete means to measure it, the environmental label draws us two ultra – profitable investments which are Guest perception and Staff motivation.

Stakes

Guest perception

Guest perception is the most sustainable financial benefit.

The Booking.com study « 2017 Sustainable Travel Intentions, Goals and Considerations » has contributed significantly to the media coverage of the topic. Among other edifying statistics.

68% of respondents said they chose an establishment that is primarily eco-friendly.

79% of respondents make their choice of transportation mode based on environmental considerations.

There is a market and therefore a way to monetize it. To achieve this, how can we make a hotel’s sustainable approach visible and transparent? To be recognized, eco-labeling makes visible a coherent and global effort to improve the environment, or even sustainable development. It is a marker of commitment and trust for the end customer if it is well known.

On a national scale

The French hotel ranking totals 6 mandatory points and 25 optional points in favor of sustainable development.

Reference

Criteria

Points

229

Raising employee awareness of efficient energy management

2

230

Raising employee awareness of efficient water management

2

231

Raising employee awareness of economical waste management

2

232

Guest information on the establishment’s actions in terms of sustainable development

3

233

Informing guests about the actions they can take during their stay in terms of sustainable development

3

234

Staff training in the economical management of energy, water and waste

3

235

Implementation of at least one measure to reduce energy consumption

2

236

Rooms equipped with 100% low consumption light bulbs

2

237

Common areas open to the public 100% equipped with low consumption light bulbs

2

238

Implementation of at least one measure to reduce water consumption

2

239

Implementation of at least one waste management measure

2

240

Use of environmentally friendly cleaning products

3

241

Presence of eco- friendly hospitality products in the bathroom

3

On a European scale

The European Eco Label specifications are strict and include 90 criteria, 30 of which are mandatory. Its demanding and exhaustive nature can be discouraging. In the long term, it will ensure the transparency of the hotel offer, will reinforce the European clientele in its choices and may become a certification either mandatory or highly recommended.

According to the UNWTO (World Tourism Organization), the strongest growth in tourism is in Europe and Asia. The issue of sustainable visibility for France as a destination is crucial.

In order to prepare this marathon without getting discouraged, small runs marked by the environmental label are proving to be very useful. Identifying areas for progress, planning a business plan, and consolidating results in concrete terms are all valuable motivations.

Software such as Winggy is, to my knowledge, the most advanced compiler for the hotel industry. To date, it is also the only software that can be used to issue environmental labels for hotels and restaurants. The software compiles the impacts of reductions in consumables (food, textiles, hospitality and maintenance products) and equipment (heating, water management, swimming pool, electrical equipment).

On an international scale

For a first international visibility, you can opt for Trip Advisor’s « EcoLeaders Program ». It offers the hotel owner the opportunity to self-assess its good environmental practices and present the EcoLeader badge on its page. It can be a first approach to international visibility.

The Green Passport approach is a product of the United Nations Environment Programme. At the heart of the subject: the creation of international destinations of excellence within the framework of sustainable tourism.

The Green Globe certification is the program unanimously recognized internationally since 2002.

Staff Motivation

A motivated staff is a staff that makes our guests happy. What a strong argument in the environmental commitment. The key factors of mobilization are intense and numerous. To have objectives and a cause, to make sense of professional collaboration, to live its usefulness within the framework of a company, to perceive one’s hotel as having a positive impact on the world, to get out of one’s surroundings, to encourage professional exchanges.

Precisely because they are so numerous, these motivations must be channeled around a clear vision and a unified process. To deploy it in the field, the approach is structured into business sheets. Concretely, by inserting simple and recurring routine procedures. The introduction of environmental objectives can be used in the annual performance evaluation of facility managers. The action plan is determined over 1, 2, 3 years.

I enjoyed reading the practical guide to the Thau Lagoon. The destination has mobilized its team (i.e. its tourist accommodation) around its communication objective. I advise you to reproduce it more succinctly in order to submit an action plan to your team.

Recommendations

Unisoap collects all your soaps and recycles them to improve hygiene in underprivileged countries as part of an ecological and social approach. Its Anglo-Saxon counterpart is Cleanworld.

Too Good To Go manages the unsold food products and buys them to resell them. Instead of throwing away your breakfast pastries, you can give them back to them. The manifesto of commitment is readable and their interventions are multiplying on the national network.

Dispensers, adapted to each hotel range. They communicate directly (through an explanation) or indirectly (through the brand) on the high quality of the product. They are always full and allow a generous use to avoid the pitfall of cheapness. For hotels with a strong DNA, having them designed by a decorator is an option.

Local, organic and bulk products. The One Thousand Plants console combines the use of the bath infusion, the tea bar, the infusion jar (especially for spas and wellness areas).

Professional steam cleaners are subsidized by the state to reduce occupational hazards. Virtue: reduce the excessive use of cleaning products that are toxic to humans and the environment, replacing them with the powerful action of steam to clean hotel spaces.

However, as I recall my painful Hi Matic story, this guest perception has its setbacks. How can we not be suspected of green washing when we take a sincere approach?

By not touching the Essential

Low-energy light bulbs and overly efficient mixers are to be banned. The measures avoid altering the raison d’être of the hotel industry: a better home than at home, a comfort for which we have paid. Otherwise, our guest, fooled, is waiting for us at the intersection of Quality – Price, equipped with a club.

Highlighting our Global Responsibility

Your commitment is not only based on your energy saving benefits or paperless. It also involves efforts that « cost » you.

Rigorously based on a sustainable approach, you provide high quality breakfast, hospitality products, drinks…. You communicate about the customer benefits, well-being, better living, health, taste … that such an approach allows.

Our guest feels that at every level of our decisions, we do so out of love.

Love of the service we dedicate to them, love of our environment that we seek to preserve, love of our destination that we wish to promote.

Destination Quality Podium

When I look at myself, I feel sorry for myself. When I compare myself, I console myself. « And what if, like Talleyrand, we had a definition of our Quality that was a little too relative and personal in the French way? What if the comparison with the Quality of competing tourist destinations would help to settle the old debate?

• • • • • • • • •

The Standards have continually evolved since the industrialization of the sector. Its two virtues are the legibility of competition and consumer protection. In France, we now refer to a unified classification grid issued by Atout France. The ranking must be renewed every 5 years to ensure the sustainability of the level.

The ranking is not the only quality standard. In parallel, there are safety and health standards for town halls (from the Prefecture to Paris) and quality labels issued by private organizations. The standards are measurable and objective: hygiene, comfort, reception quality, sustainable development.

Quality is also Experience. An element less easily measurable, a little more rebellious to metrics. The extra soul, the unexpected attentions, the decoration, the atmosphere, the scenography…. are at the heart of our concerns. This beautiful dimension makes the choice of a prospect change from one establishment to another. It has become the competitive advantage of a growing number of hotels.

Podium of Destinations

Forbes Magazine reports on the UNWTO (World Tourism Organization) 2018 report, with :

A Destination Podium in terms of number of visitors

France: 86.9 million

Spain: 81.8 million

United States: 75.9 million

China: 60.7 million

A Destination Podium in recipes

China: $257.7 billion

United States: $135 billion

Germany: $89.1 billion

United Kingdom: $71.4 billion

France, on this podium, is in fifth position.

Let us retain for our podium Spain, Germany, the United Kingdom and France for Europe, China and the United States. How do France’s competing destinations rate their Quality? What are the Quality standards of the top destinations in the class?

Quality Standards of Destinations

Standards Room Areas

Room Size (square meter)

1 star

2 star

3 star

4 star

5 star

Germany

Simple

8 m2

12 m2

14 m2

16 m2

18 m2

Double

12 m2

16 m2

18 m2

22 m2

26 m2

Spain

Simple

7 m2

7 m2

8 m2

9 m2

10 m2

Double

12 m2

14 m2

15 m2

16 m2

17 m2

China

Simple

Double

UK

Simple – Double

14 m2

18 m2

22 m2

30 m2

Suites

USA

Simple

Double

France

Simple

9,5m2

9,75 m2

11,5 m2

14 m2

20 m2

Double

10,5 m2

10,75 m2

13,5 m2

16 m2

24 m2

– : Not referenced

Standards Services and Equipment

In Germany, the ranking, which is voluntary, ranges from one to five stars. A professional association has been determining and guaranteeing the classification since 2000. The classification has the particularity of being the result of market research. The respective clientele of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 stars. It is the field that makes the standard.

1* – Reception, fax, restaurant with the possibility to have breakfast.

2* – Bedside lamp and chair for each bed, towels, toiletries, payment by credit card.

3* – At least 10% of the rooms are non-smoking, internet access, telephone, full-length mirror, luggage storage, shoe polishing accessories, drinks in the room, safe, heating and hairdryer in the bathrooms, reception available 24 hours a day and insured 14 hours a day, bilingual staff, laundry on request.

4* – Armchairs, 24/24 room service, various amenities in the bathrooms (hygiene products, shower cap, nail file), bathrobe available, slippers on request, reception available 24/24 and insured 18/24, a la carte restaurant, bar, computer with internet access.

5* – Choice of cushions, adjustable light accessible from the bed, flowers, welcome gift in the room, reception assured 24/24 and personalized welcome, valet doorman.

In Spain, the attribution of stars, which is mandatory, has been decentralized and assigned to the Autonomous Regions (as in Italy). Each Region applies its industrial prerogatives in the field. The result is an arduous readability and non-homogeneous classification standards. Below is the common core of the classification standards:

1* – No service criteria, only area criteria

2* – Telephone, heating, elevator, safe.

3* – Telephone, heating, air conditioning in public areas, elevator, safe, bar.

4* – Telephone, heating, air conditioning in the room, elevator, safe, bar.

5* – Telephone, heating, air conditioning in the room, elevator, safe, bar. It is the surface area that enhances the category.

In the United Kingdom, the classification, on a voluntary basis, is managed by Quality Tourism and regulated by the tourism organization « Visit England ». While in the vast majority of countries the quality criteria (i.e. subjective) weigh 10 to 20% (in France, Belgium and Spain), they make up 50% of the British ranking.

The subject in the United Kingdom is not only to note the existence of a standard but to qualify its quality of execution (e.g. breakfast is served with a smile). Innovative, the British ranking is, in my opinion, a decisive step towards measuring Customer Experience.

In the United States, the AAA (American Automobile Association) awards diamonds and not stars. The ranking is voluntary and each country has its own regulations. The ranking would be set by self-proclaimed private organizations and Forbes magazine’s standards are authoritative:

1* – Small, clean rooms at an affordable price.

2* – Rooms of medium size, telephone, television, proximity of a restaurant, proximity of an expressway.

3* – Spacious rooms, restaurant offering breakfast, lunch, dinner, swimming pool, fitness center, close to a shopping area.

4* – Very spacious and well appointed rooms, lobby, fitness center, room service, close to a shopping area.

5* – Luxurious and elegant rooms, well furnished, quality and pro-active staff, jacuzzi, movie theater, several restaurants, fitness center, room service 24/7, close to a shopping area.

In China, hotels are officially rated by the government body CNTA (China National Tourism Association.) Chinese chains are based on the standards issued by the State. The constraint of a gigantic park coupled with the massive opening of establishments does not always allow for uniform control.

The particularity of Chinese standards is their very high added value. For the sake of brevity, I will give a few examples by category.

1* – Air conditioning, coffee, dining room, 75% of the rooms with private bathroom, central heating, lobby with information and reception, postal service, cold and hot running water.

2* – 95% with private bathrooms, 50% with telephones, free western and chinese breakfast.

3* – Well decorated rooms, dressing table, desk, drawers and closet, carpet or wooden floor, mini-bar and refrigerator, movies on demand, music, cover service, disco, karaoke, store, laundry, bar, China Daily and China Tourism News free, doorman 16/24, deputy manager present in the lobby 18/24.

4* – Luxurious and spacious soundproofed rooms, low noise toilet, guest elevator, background music, health club, swimming pool, sauna, business center, 24-hour doorman, 24-hour room service, 24-hour coffee store.

5* – Own fleet of Mercedes limousines or Toyota vans available, executive floors with concierges and free continental breakfasts, best Western and Chinese cuisine in the city, most luxurious breakfast buffets, sumptuous halls.

In France, hotel classification is voluntary, its criteria are arbitrated by Atout France, controlled by the Cofrac and control is delegated to private organizations.

Operational Solutions

Each podium country has its own classification system and operates according to its own rules.

For Europe, Hotrec has launched its classification system. It has 17 members and four observers, including France. The points system is cumulative and has the originality to measure MICE, children’s services, the presence of a library, animation programs. The system is being piloted.

Another American initiative also in progress: the World Hotel Rating (WHR World Hotel Rating). It focuses on the environment, the size of the hotel, the atmosphere, and the activities accessible from the establishment. They also seek to establish international classification standards.

For the moment, none of the countries on the podium are harmonizing their system. Harmonization is essential for the coherence of the hotel offer, on a national, European and international scale. In the meantime, it is delicate to objectively judge a destination on the basis of non-existent common standards.

Europe receives half of the world’s international tourist arrivals, still according to the UNWTO. The immediate imperative is to make the French hotel offer more immediate and understandable in order to strengthen the image of our destination.

How can we make our Quality offer understandable to international travelers, when the Top Destinations reveals such disparate standards?

Legibility of Room Size Standards

As we have seen, France does not lead the way in terms of room surface area. Eventually, it will be in our interest to bring ourselves up to European comfort standards. In the meantime, in concrete terms, the objective is not to revolutionize our classification by surface area, but to let our national and international clients know about it to avoid disappointment.

Communicate, especially around your smallest surfaces, around 3D videos. You give your future customers a concrete vision of your spaces, beyond the simple declaration of surfaces. You wipe in advance the dissatisfaction of rooms and spaces imagined more spacious. In addition, you give your prospect the opportunity to get a preview of the experience he will have in your home.

Legibility of the Standards of Services and Equipment

The enumeration of our services is often long on our supports. The prospect has to compare between several lists of services and equipment. The legible entry is imperative to accelerate the conversion of sales to your profit:

  • By pictograms illustrating them.
  • By systematic translations of your communication supports according to your priority customers over the last three years or since your opening (you will find them in your PMS).
  • By the synthetic explanation of your labels: The establishments generally display the labels’ buttons on their official website, at the entrance of the establishment, or even on the brochures in the rooms. In addition to this display, make the values and promises of your labels your own and insist on your own commercial arguments (Luxury Image, Sustainable Development, Place of Silence …).

Transparency of the Client Experience

The Experience is by definition outside the cursor of the Standards. However, it is obvious when we look at the e-reputation of hotels. You put it forward:

  • By relaying your positive AND negative customer opinions on your official website. The maximum possible number of languages is to be preferred to facilitate the understanding of your prospects.
  • By videos of experience reflecting the image of your establishment and your collection.
  • By ephemeral offers (and not year-round packages…) which are a renewed and attractive showcase for your brand.
  • By a regular feeding of your Social Wall. Your beautiful and sincere images will be more immediate than the text.

Next week, we will consider a more and more marked part of the Quality Standards and Experience: Sustainable Hotels.