Strength to strength2 January 2023
A symptom of a world recovering from a pandemic is on the rise in holiday-makers and business travel, much to the advantage of hotels as they accept guests and reaffirm partnerships and industry relations. As the year draws to a close, Panos Almyrantis, president of EHMA, shares an update on the association as he discusses state of the hotel industry and his aims for the future.
Over the past few years, we’ve been very fortunate to collaborate with HOTREC. As an umbrella association of hotels, restaurants, bars and cafes and all similar establishments in Europe, they practically bring together 47 national associations in 36 countries – operating similarly to EHMA – and promote the key role of the hospitality and tourism sector in Europe, acting as a forum for exchange and helping advance.
EHMA’s vision is very similar to HOTREC because it includes elements of their DNA, like supporting and stimulating the hospitality environment, sharing experiences, inside support and effectively communicating within the hotel industry. The alignment between the two associations is pretty much evident and the profound background presents new opportunities and synergies. A roundtable will be organised at the annual general meeting in Lisbon on 23 February 2023 with EHMA’s executive committee, where myself, the two vice-presidents, our treasurer and HOTREC representation will further elaborate our synergy by exchanging best practices. So we will be happy to receive some feedback from our members that could be used in a fertile manner during the round table, as we feel that this exchange is important.
While it’s impossible to predict the future, 2022 boomed with travel demand and foreseeable hotel price increases are predicted in 2023 in most of the key cities. We actually saw four trends this year that will most likely continue in 2023. The first is that demand for business events worldwide for in-person meetings after pandemic disruption is growing. The second is travellers looking for more sustainable holidays, particularly wealthy young people living in cities who would be willing to pay more for an environmentally sustainable holiday.
The third trend we saw was people looking for curated experiences – it’s not about a hotel, a resort or destination anymore, but rather what makes it different. And the fourth is consumers are willing to pay extra for booking flexibility; in today’s environment the higher level of reassurance means the world to them as last-minute bookings aren’t as appealing or relevant anymore as they were during the pandemic.
Hotels are in a period of significant evolution and opportunity. Changes in the travel and the hospitality industry are challenging hotels to move beyond brand identity to extend and deepen their relationships with travellers. But hospitality will always be centred around customer experiences and connecting with people. So, even as new technology, evolving customer preferences and new competitive threats change the hotel experience, outstanding hospitality will still require a thoughtful human touch. This is why we have extended our synergies with Ecole Hotelière de Lausanne and Nolan Cornell University by working on exciting new projects that will produce a valuable footprint for our members and future hotel players alike.
We’re also discussing extending mutual synergies with other associations, those who are committed to growing business for hotels and their partners as the industry’s leading advocate for intelligence, sustainable and hotel growth. So, it is important to provide our members with the tools, insights and expertise to fortify their operation, fuel their sales, inspire marketing and optimise their revenue. I always say this, and I think it’s very important, with a changing global situation and at the same time behavioural change in consumers it’s time to accelerate on ‘humanaucracy’ and stop with the bureaucracy.