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By Georges Panayotis

The heart has its reasons that reason cannot understand. In this era of customer experience, all that is authentic, all that is lived, it is interesting to draw a parallel between recent news and our hoteliers' activities. Two men who were part of our heritage and French and francophone culture left us one after the other. Each left a deep impression on the collective memory, but each in his own way.

One was an accomplished intellectual, crowned and praised, who spoke with his spirit. He excelled in the handling of words, ideas and concepts. The second one spoke with his guts and heart. He lived strong moments of communion with his audience and shared an immense love with his fans. Like the Greek gods, he possessed intense powers although he was not free of defects which are only all too human. One concerned himself with the knowledge of being, the other with the desire to be.

At a time of experience and remembrance, the relationship between customer and brand has changed dimension. What is important is not the price, but the pleasure and memories that can be drawn from an experience, one no longer consumes, one experiences. At the last minute, we crave sunshine, an escapade, family moments and a return to our roots. We want to be recognized, familiar and indigenous everywhere. These new motivations, expectations and behaviors cause us to question certain achievements and revise how we operate.

It is important to speak to your guest's heart, share a part of yourself with them and tell them a story. For this, it is imperative to develop the human qualities of staff in addition to their skills. It is necessary to teach them to build unforgettable moments for their guest with respect to their personality, their tastes, their knowledge, their preferences...

Knowledge lies mainly in the hands of the elite who define the strategy. Know-how is a set of skills that any well-managed and trained person can potentially acquire. It is the acquisition of the right gesture, the knowledge of the tool. Knowledge of being is sometimes intangible, but it is essential. It is a mixture of listening, availability, service sense for and with the other, and it is more complex to master. To find the right moment, the right words, reassure, guide, render the service expected ... it is also to develop human qualities and increase the guest's loyalty to the brand or establishment. Because let's never forget it, hospitality is to welcome the other, to offer him lodging and food, as well as conviviality and human warmth.

Marketing, which has been a revolution based on technology, target concepts, markets and segments, must now be directed more towards the humanity of those who produce and manufacture services. It will no longer be enough to know the targets, it will be necessary to know the hearts of men and women to better meet their expectations. By putting a soul back into the production of our services, the properties regain strength that has been missing because very often productivity has dehumanized our services.

We will rebuild efficiency and re-create value by giving our employees the desire to inspire. The key to tomorrow's success will result from developing our employees' human qualities. It is imperative for our sector to create, build and retain value with its employees in order to recreate conviviality. Initially, hospitality was based on philoxenia, a word full of meaning: "philos" the friend and "xenos" the stranger. We must offer our visiting guests friendship. It is possible we have forgotten a little bit about the friendly and human side of this relationship.

About Georges Panayotis

Georges Panayotis is the President & Founder of MKG Group & Hospitality ON.

Born into a family of hoteliers, Georges Panayotis left Greece at the age of 18 to study Political Science and earn a management degree at the University of Paris, Dauphine.

In 1986 he created his own company and started developing specialised marketing tools for the hotel industry.

Over the past 30 years, MKG Conseil, later to become MKG Group, became the leading European consulting firm for the hotel business, food service and tourism industries. He is also a consultant for several radio and television stations that focus on the economy.

Contact: Georges Panayotis / 0033 (0)1 56 56 87 77

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