Growing up I was fortunate to eat and stay in a number of exceedingly nice hotels. What can I say? I was spoilt, although I didn’t perhaps appreciate it at the time. Consequently, at one time, I toyed with the idea of going into hotel management which I imagined might be like steering a ship on a round-the-world voyage, where every day would bring surprises and emergencies.
It’s my belief that there is no efficient and profitable family hotel business unless you are physically present every day in the on-going operations of the hotel. It’s only in that way a family run hotel – through a highly personalised client offering – can survive the competition from chains. Distance management doesn’t work.
It’s an industry that keeps you on your toes. Keeping up with the times requires staying on top of changing value systems and guest expectations. Often small family organisations turn to larger ones to learn from them how to approach a problem or situation. However, isn’t it time for big players to pay attention to small ones? The latter are more flexible and adaptable. The bonus track is a personalised approach, a cozy atmosphere and the opportunity to make guests feel at home.
In the post-covid world travellers are more concerned with safety and choose family hotels because fewer people pass through their doors and the owners are more careful about hygiene, because they are also doing it for themselves and their staff. Let’s face it, the last thing any of us needs is yet another grey business hotel. The idea of staying in a more homely space is something we all enjoy.
The events of the last couple of years have lead to more French travellers opting for staycations within their own borders and that changed traditional summer travel flows in France. Somewhat remote interior regions, such as Auvergne, enjoyed unusually high touristic demand, because of those turning their backs on popular crowded beach destinations. Mountain destinations also enjoyed a higher demand, with many new guests, who would never before think of a mountain escape, opting to enjoy nature in small groups, away from the crowds. These are trends in hospitality that may well continue.