Olivier Petit, partner at In Extenso Tourism, Culture & Hospitality
Is the resilience of the long-stay hotel industry compared to the traditional hotel industry a surprise?
Olivier Petit – This resilience is not a surprise; we even anticipated it at the beginning of the crisis. With the pandemic, people seem to be rediscovering the long-stay product, but its advantages were already there before and will be there after. In such a crisis, with limited reception and services or weekly cleaning, social interactions are reduced, thus limiting the risk of transmission of the virus. Moreover, fewer services also mean the possibility of selling at a slightly lower price, which works well in a period of economic tension for individuals and companies alike, in addition to a limited restaurant budget. Finally, the product, with its kitchenette, also allows you to get some fresh air while continuing to work and live with your family. All these things explain this resilience.
How do you view the evolution of these residences, which are adding numerous services around their apartments?
O. P. – I share it moderately. If you look at it from the consumer’s point of view, I obviously prefer to have a 30 m2 room rather than a 15 m2 room, to be able to go to the restaurant one evening and use the kitchenette another day to heat up a dish and spend a quiet evening. But if I look at it from the investor’s point of view, it’s less attractive. We must not forget that the tourist residence model is based on apartments with larger surfaces and few services, and therefore few staff. In the hotel industry, the range of services offered is counterbalanced by smaller rooms. What model can live with both large room sizes and service, except in the luxury sector? The aparthotel has a real legitimacy when it remains within its logic. There is no mystery with the fundamentals.
Does the addition of all these services go against these fundamentals?
O. P. – I’ll take an example: if the residence offers a restaurant, I don’t need to have a kitchenette in my room, and if there is one, I’ll inevitably eat less food. It’s the same with the seminar: the added value in surface that a long stay apartment brings is antinomic. After a day of meeting, the organizer does not want his collaborators to stay each one in their room while eating a warmed pizza to watch a soccer match. On the contrary, he will want to gather his team at the restaurant to spend a good evening which, moreover, has a good chance to end late. Hence, less interest in spending one or two nights in 25m2 rooms.
I’m Michelle, and I love to travel. As a former hotel expert for one of the world’s largest hotel chains, I’ve stayed in nearly every type of room imaginable (including many that were not so desirable!). Nowadays, I am fortunate enough to be able to explore the world on my own terms. From international flights to learning different languages, there is nothing too far out of reach!