The Changing Face of Hospitality

As the owner/operator of a small French Style Hotel providing a fully serviced bed and breakfast hospitality option to travellers, ( in New Zealand) we have seen considerable change in the accommodation environment, since we commenced operations.

Coming from the experience of nearly 15 years in the business here in Sumner, Christchurch, plus our regular sampling of similar hospitality offerings in both Europe and Asia, change is certainly afoot , and we believe largely driven by the global disruption generated by AirBnb.

But it’s not just AirBnB driving the changes. Travellers price and service expectations, their behaviours and attitudes to accommodation options, hosts, and services, are all evolving.  Also driving change within the industry is the behaviour of the historical booking channels most of which have been swallowed up by either Booking.com or Expedia.  While these 2  global operators contribute to the cash-flows of accommodation businesses large & small, is their insatiable drive to gather more and more cash profit for their conglomerant owners, largely at the expense of the smaller hospitality operators, that is also going to drive change in the industry.  Small operators are being forced to innovate and market themselves directly to travellers.

Certainly , as the hosts of Le Petit Hotel here in Sumner,  New Zealand,  we have seen a wide cross section of global travellers pass through our front doors. In one sense this is the interesting, lifestyle side to small hosting businesses like ourselves.

It’s also an unescapable reality that guests who have become accustomed to, or aligned themselves to  the typical AirBnB walk in walk out – largely carefree attitude to their accommodation choice, are of a different ilk to what were/have been traditional bed & breakfast guests .  Even large chain hotels are not immune to the fallout of the shifting attitudes of travellers,  and in many cases it is leading to higher maintenance costs, eg. stains on carpets etc.

As the shake-out continues between the largely unregulated AirBnB accommodation providers and the more traditional hotel operators – both large and small, there are growing signs that Front office service combined with an effective “personality” differentiator is increasingly the success factor for the latter operators.

 

 

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Winter Blue Skies in Sumner Christchurch

For Sumner Village visitors, Le Petit Hotel guests and suburb residents alike, there is no arguing that the shortest day of the year has past, and despite a few frosts, the weather has been simply amazing.  Daytime temps have reached 15-16 degrees Celcius, paraglider customers and model aircraft enthusiasts have been out in force, using the local Heathcote Ferrymead park as a rendevous point. Dog walkers have also been making the most of the pleasant clear blue sky winter days, either on the beach or in nearby parks.  Many of our guests, blessed with the good weather have headed out for walks to either Taylors Mistake or Godley Heads. However I’m told that things will change soon. It is winter after-all!

Le Petit Hotel manager Martine Marshall is currently in the south of France, enjoying time with family and friends, but in totally different climatic conditions…where daytime temperatures have soared into the 40’s C.

It’s fair to say that our hotel accommodation is known globally and locally for 3 things especially, and those being its french style, the morning fresh croissants, and the resident Scottish Terrier– known as Kara….which is Scottish vernacular for “beloved”.  However Kara is approaching 10 years this October…and her health has had its ups and downs lately.  As you can imagine we are given her a lot of attention at the moment. Frequent visits to the vet are the normal, as are the antibiotics she takes.  However the mild winter so far has been a bonus in that Kara can get to enjoy the sunshine and socialise with other dogs at the Ferrymead Park. 

Meanwhile back outside Le Petit Hotel and in Sumner village,  contractors are working steadily on the new roading surfaces, sorting out drainage issues, and even planting some more trees along Marriner Street and Wakefield Avenue in the village. Hurrah! I’m an unashamed tree-lover.  Sumner is going to look better than ever….in time for the new visitor season which for us starts in September.

Let’s all enjoy our winter whether it’s cold, wet or the blue sky stuff that we have been seeing lately.

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Pinus pinea; Italian Stone Pine trees common to France & Italy

Travellers arriving at Le Petit Hotel can’t help but notice the distinctive juvenile pine trees – Pinus Pinea, on the street frontage.  Our original news item copied below was published on the 4th Nov. 2010.  Still in their formative state, their umbrella type canopy is just beginning to take shape.

Martine & myself recently had some R & R in France during September…one of the best months in respect of the French climate. Some of the time was spent near Plan du la Tour near the Med. coast, http://lepetithotel.wordpress.com/2010/09/11/chasteuil-to-plan-de-la-tour/
and we couldn’t help noticing a tree with an attractive green umbrella like top…commonly called the Parasol Pine…its correct name being Pinus pinea. Clearly this was one tree which could survive not only the hot dry Mediterranean seaside environment but also the cold winter winds. For some time now here at Le Petit Hotel, we have been pondering what species of tree we could plant safely in our own Sumner location where the climate varies from hot summer winds, salt laden sea air, and also our cooler winter temperatures. So it has been a surprise, in the last few days to locate a source of these Pinus specimens here in NZ at a nursery in New Plymouth : http://www.conifers.co.nz/
Needless to say, we are looking forward to trying the species in our own unique NZ climate.
It’s interesting to note that the Pinus Pinea species is the one that produces genuine edible pine nuts, the tree and its nuts having a history of more than 6000 years at least.

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Le Petit Hotel Accommodation, Boutique French Style

Le Petit Hotel, 16 Marriner Street, Sumner, Christchurch
Le Petit Hotel open 24 hours

Le Petit Hotel accommodation provides boutique French B & B lodgings for all travellers, both domestic and international. The property  is located by the beach in Sumner; the premier seaside suburb of Christchurch.

Unlike most AirBnB properties, managers – Martine and Bruce are on-site 24/7 and are focused on providing genuine hospitality to all guests.  However the privacy of individuals is very much respected when required . Both short & long stay guests are most welcome  at Le Petit Hotel’s unique retreat from the city bustle.

The daily room rate includes a served French breakfast and the hotel has free high speed data/WiFi services throughout the complex. The en-suite accommodation rooms are most suitable for 2 adults.

 

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