(Paris) After the stars, the keys: from 2024, the Michelin guide will distinguish hotels as it does with restaurants, a “new page” in the history of this more than century-old guide.
The future hotel rankings will be revealed in the first half of next year, but the format and exact date remain to be defined, the guide’s director Gwendal Poullennec announced on Thursday.
“The guide was created to give keys to discovery to travelers and enlighten their choice at a time when there was a lack of information”, recalls the owner of this guide created in 1900 by the brothers André and Edouard Michelin, in destination of motorists.
“Today, conversely, they find themselves faced with a mass of information. Our users spend an average of 10 hours on screens to prepare for a trip and consult more than 10 platforms, a real obstacle course,” he explains.
“They tell us that they lack a reference to sort things out,” continues the man who took the reins of the guide in 2018, the year the group bought Tablet Hotel, an American site offering a selection of “boutique hotels”. namely hotels that want to stand out and have careful decoration.
It will serve as the basis for the future ranking, which, as with the famous macaroons which cover 45 countries, is based on a team of “mystery shopper” inspectors “whose decisions are informed by customer feedback and are the result of a collegial decision .
These inspectors, former professionals in the sector, come from 25 different nationalities, all generations combined, explains Gwendal Poullennec: “we range from young people with tattoos to people in suits and ties, and we have more and more women”.
Insisting on the “truly independent” dimension of the selection, he specifies that the inspectors never return to the same place twice and that all meals/stays are paid for by the guide.
What will be the criteria for the ranking? “We don’t look at hotel stars, which have no consistency from one country to another and are based more on administrative criteria, we don’t look at brands, networks or labels,” explains the manager.
“We can distinguish between a boutique hotel in London, a hacienda in South America, a farm-to-fork concept or a ryokan [traditional inn] in Japan,” he continues.
Establishments will be awarded keys that are “universal and timeless symbols”, the design of which refers to that of the stars in the red guide.
For its economic model, the guide relies on reservations: on the restaurant side, it is paid 1 euro per cover reserved via its platform and honored.
For hotels booked through the same means, the commission is between 10 and 15%, which corresponds to market standards, according to Mr. Poullennec, who insists on “tightness” between the sales teams and those responsible for selection .
“We invest in recruitment and training, particularly abroad, we also invest in interfaces,” he explains.
The guide claims 47 million visitors per year to the site and 6 million subscribers on social networks. As for the paper guide, “it remains an iconic product, but usage is anecdotal compared to digital.”
The Michelin guides belong to the tire giant Michelin which does not detail the figures for this activity, but clarified this summer that it was growing.