EquipHotel Paris is the professional and international meeting place for the Hotel and Restaurant sector, organized every two years in Paris. This show attracts 113,000 professionals from the sector. These decision-makers, specifiers and project leaders meet new suppliers and discover new products and innovations in their sector.
But, the current health context, the ban on assembly followed by the announcement of the second lockdown have forced the show to postpone the 2020 edition.
To continue fulfilling its mission, the show has reinvented itself and is uploading a selection of exclusive content, live or on demand, on the EquipHotelWEEK digital platform from November 16th to 20th.
Carlin has been working with market players for years and is participating in this unprecedented digital week via a webinar available online for visitors to the show.
We had the privilege of meeting Béatrice Gravier, Director of the Hospitality & Food Division of Reed Exhibitions France, who tells us more about the challenges of the sector.
Virginie Corbasson – Head of Consulting Development: Hello, the second lockdown marks another halt in the sector, how are hoteliers and restaurateurs dealing with this new ordeal?
Béatrice Gravier – Director of the Hospitality & Food Division – Reed Exhibitions France: Some hoteliers and restaurateurs seek to remain creative during this period of lockdown and crisis. Many ideas are to be taken up and experimented with, such as using certain hotel rooms as teleworking spaces, providing gourmet meal delivery services, renting kitchens to home delivery platforms, making up graded preferential offers and check in and out shifted to attract Parisians in need of going out near their homes…. Hoteliers are above all business leaders who must always seek to innovate in order to be able to bounce back and meet their obligations. However, staying open can cost more than closing your establishment, especially for those who do not own their premises; they often have to resign themselves and close.
More generally, the 2,350 establishments in Ile-de-France are particularly affected due to the drop in air traffic, which generated 60% of the traffic.A little note of hope, however, with the announcement of Disneyland Paris which plans to reopen during the Christmas holidays, a positive signal for the Ile-de-France hotel industry.
Béatrice Gravier – Directrice de la division Hospitality & Food – Reed Exhibitions France
Virginie Corbasson: The impact is undoubtedly to be qualified according to the level of the range … which level is most affected?
Béatrice Gravier: According to an internal survey by the IHTU, an employers’ organization, one in two professionals closed their establishment in November due to a lack of customers and the closures mainly impact the luxury hotel industry suffering from the lack of foreign customers. But the reaction of palaces is mixed, each has its strategy.
In Paris, the Crillon, which reopened on August 24th, has just closed its doors until December 1st. Le Negresco de Nice has announced its temporary closure until further notice. The Ritz, the Four Seasons George V, Le Meurice, the Plaza Athénée or the Bristol are instead closing their bars and restaurants and their facilities such as swimming pool, spa and / or shops. The Royal Monceau only markets its five private apartments. The W in Paris – Opéra has announced its final closure.
This second lockdown is a blow to the head for the upscale and luxury Parisian hotel industry. We really thought that the activity would resume, even slightly, at the start of the school year. However, September-October were not very favorable. At the end of September, the unit revenue per available room was down by 70%. With the second lockdown, we will be between -75 and -80% by the end of the year, according to the IHTU. It seems difficult to imagine an improvement before spring. State support is fundamental for the sector.
Virginie Corbasson: Given the impossibility of organizing a physical fair, you have launched EquipHôtelWeek. What is your feedback on this digitalization?
Béatrice Gravier : In the current health and economic context in France and internationally, the 2020 edition of EQUIPHOTEL initially scheduled for November 15th to 19th, 2020 could not be held. We therefore had to postpone the event and it was a very difficult decision to make, because EQUIPHOTEL is the leading trade fair for the hotel and catering industry in Europe, it welcomes more than 1,600 exhibitors from 40 countries and 110,000 participants from more than 100 countries and it is therefore a long-awaited show to support professionals in their search for equipment and in their quest for inspiration and professional networking.
That being said, we are well aware that 2022 seems very far away for many of us and professionals need to stay connected, inspired and develop their business relationships. We are therefore now offering them a digital platform connecting and bringing together professionals around expertise content and the presentation of innovative products and solutions to promote networking between suppliers and decision-makers in the CHR.
We will start from November 16th to 20th with EQUIPHOTEL WEEK which will offer a selection of premium content live or on demand. The interest of professionals was immediate, we are supported by the vast majority of our partners who bring their content to be broadcast on the EQUIPHOTEL WEEK platform. Trade unions and associations in the sector are also following us and confirming the interest of professionals in such a digital initiative.
Virginie Corbasson: What content do you offer?
Béatrice Gravier: This digital platform offers a series of premium content, live or on demand (over a hundred in various formats), such as webinars, White books, product pitches, interviews with leaders, or the EQUIPHOTEL Innovation Awards competition.
The opportunity, thanks to this new digital experience, to stock up on ideas, get inspired and interact with the major players in the sector. We will also promote, in short and dynamic formats, the innovations of the exhibitors and partners of the show, from the worlds of catering, hotels, design, well-being and tech.
Finally, in partnership with L’Ameublement Français, Le FRENCH DESIGN by VIA, national furniture and the Intramuros media, we are offering a moment of inspiration and business discussion on the theme “French-style reception”.
Virginie Corbasson: The crisis has reinforced consumers’ appetite for local tourism, is there an increase in hotel-restaurant projects that take this trend into account?
Béatrice Gravier: The crisis will be long and difficult for many professionnals and the tourism landscape is changing, with fewer foreigners and more locals, which the hotel and catering sector will have to relearn to welcome with agility, flexibility and creativity.
But History shows that the tourism sector has an incredible capacity to reinvent itself, to find solutions in order to always meet the new needs or profiles of customers, who never lose interest in vacations and who always end up coming back.
History also shows that every major crisis spawns a period of great innovation and transformation. Today, the Covid crisis announces a much more digital hotel world, where the physical and the virtual will interpenetrate, at the service of an “augmented” and eco-responsible customer. I don’t think we have seen anything yet in terms of contactless interaction, short circuits, local manufacturing and that everything will accelerate.
We also need to think about sustainable and responsible tourism, without demonizing mass tourism. Regulating flows, channeling the influx of tourists will not happen overnight and we will have to invest in new infrastructure and new fittings. One axis may be to work on enhancing the value of long stays. This would make it possible to diversify the offers, “scatter” tourists and allow more tourism professionals to benefit while regulating flows …
The next hotel and restaurant projects will naturally have to take these new trends into account. In addition to sustainability and the focus on new technologies, the human dimension will be at the heart of the user experience: hotels with a lot of technology, but without forgetting the reception, and in particular the reception of families. An interesting path to exploit, it seems to me, which will allow professionals to differentiate themselves, and to capture the customers of tomorrow.
Virginie Corbasson: How to attract international customers again when the time comes?
Béatrice Gravier: When the time comes, foreign customers will have the same needs and desires as local customers. Tourism must become responsible, sustainable and keep a human dimension – with a cultural touch – in a world that is going to become more and more digital. Those who manage to respond sincerely to these new trends will have no difficulty (re) finding their clientele, whether local or international.
Virginie Corbasson: While consumers are concerned on a daily basis about the sanitary measures to be observed, what solutions are available to hoteliers-restaurateurs to reconcile an experience of escape and pragmatic health security? How to succeed in offering experiential moments of escape without being anxiety inducing ?
Béatrice Gravier: For consumers, health protection is important, 52% are afraid to go out to restaurants and 24% will find out about the hygiene measures taken by the establishment before they come. Compliance with health protocols is now the first criterion for choosing a hotel or restaurant establishment.
However, a health measure can also become an experience and a moment of escape, with a little creativity and a real sense of the customer experience. Take the example of starred chef Mauro Colagreco who offers Mirazur an exceptional moment around hand washing. Ceramist Stéphane Montalto has designed sixteen large ceramic bowls in ivory and turquoise colors for the Mirazur, in which alcoholic water and “elements of the day” are found. Served with both hands, customers only need to dip their fingers to disinfect. “People love it” reports the Argentinian chef.
Virginie Corbasson: EquipHotel has overcome the challenge of digitizing its content, what will be your ambition for 2021 ?
Béatrice Gravier: EQUIPHOTEL, like any trade fair, must reflect the industry it brings together. It must be continually redesigned to follow the movements of its sector.
Under the impetus of the Covid crisis, the hospitality sector is changing rapidly. Commercial catering is accelerating its digitalization, converting to urban delivery, the hotel industry is reinventing itself by being more responsible, more digital while remaining human and experiential.
We must take this into account and therefore have several reflection trails to adapt and design the next edition of EQUIPHOTEL. First of all, we will continue to revisit and enrich our tech, well-being and furnishing offerings, which are fast-growing sectors at our show. Regarding our food and kitchen equipment offer, we are considering synergies between EquipHotel and Sandwich & SnackShow, the trade fair for fast and nomadic food which is held every year at Porte de Versailles in Paris and whose next edition will be held from April 7th to 8th, 2021.
The EQUIPHOTEL digital platform launched during EQUIPHOTEL WEEK from November 16th to 20th will continue to expand and offer premium content, and presentations of products and solutions, in modern and dynamic formats, throughout 2021. In awaiting the next edition of EQUIPHOTEL scheduled for November 2022, we continue to support professionals to help them move forward and reinvent themselves.
Virginie Corbasson: Thank you very much for this interview! We wish you a wonderful digital week, rich in meetings and projects!
From November 16th to 20th, 2020
Webinar “Generation Dandy, how to seduce them?”, for visitors to the platform, and available from November 16th.