S EÑOR Rafael Rubio, president of the Pimem, the small to medium size business association claimed in Tuesday 7 June 2011 issue of the Majorca Daily Bulletin that the Majorcan Hoteliers are promoting an antiquated style of tourism. He refers to the “all inclusive” initiative as outmoded and adversely affecting other businesses.

Alas his is a cry, which will not attract any sympathy from anyone but those intimately affected by the downturn in business. It is undoubtedly true that “all inclusive” has created a severe downturn in business for bars and restaurants, but the fault does not lie with the hoteliers! If Senior Rubio was in business, his whole reason d'être would be to ensure his business was profitable. He would research every possible avenue and implement appropriate measures with which to turn his particular business into a thriving concern. Indeed, I would venture a guess, that if he owned a hotel, which would profit from “all inclusive”, he would not refrain from taking the opportunity to implement this initiative.

Consequently, what is the response to his argument? Quite simply he needs to address the demands of the market place and he will soon realise that the plethora of bars and restaurants surrounding hotels, which provide “all inclusive” are simply exceeding the demand.

It is very unfortunate, to say the least, for all those who have businesses of this type and are undoubtedly experiencing severe hardship. However, one must be realistic, but more importantly, one must be aware of the market forces that shape the way business develops.

To be a success it is essential to move with the times, and move at the speed dictated by the ever changing market forces. It is simply not acceptable to decry other business ventures, which are profitable simply because it adversely affects your particular business. One has to develop new ideas, which will accommodate the changing attitudes and demands of the very fragile, but volatile tourist market.

How many times have we seen companies with household names go to the wall, simply because they have either not kept pace with changing trends or simply been overcome by more competitive businesses. Consider Woolworths as one of those who failed in the High Street and had to sell all of its stores in the UK. Additionally, Marks and Spencer whose fashions failed to keep pace with its competitors and was in a downward spiral.

However, by downsizing and some restructuring, Marks and Spencer deftly adapted their merchandise and procedures, and succeeded in regaining their place in the retail sector.

Dixons were all the rage, but rebranded to Currys and became an online outlet.
Perfect example
The latter was a perfect example of adapting to the changing market to secure survival and future profitability. Need I go on? All of this requires acknowledgement that times and customer requirements change with an essential requirement for businesses to adapt to meet the new demands.

Notably, this change is continuous in nature and not something that needs to be addressed every decade! Unfortunately, I do not have any immediate solution to the current predicament that the small to medium business are currently experiencing, but as a consumer, I can see that there is a surfeit of some outlets. However, what one cannot do is simply place the blame on another competitor, which is ignoring the whole premise of being in business.

Currently, “all inclusive” is attracting adverse publicity, but of note, this is from other businesses and not the consumers! Now why is that?
The answer is simply because the “all inclusive” initiative is providing a service to one sector of the huge market of tourism. Other, sectors of tourism are thriving within their own niche markets and it is this fact that must be addressed by the business community as a whole.

We talk about making Palma a city break, but do not provide the facilities that the tourist requires, like weekend shopping etc. We blame the airlines for not flying to Majorca in the winter, but they respond to seat occupancy just as hoteliers respond to room occupancy! Quite a blame culture when you consider everything, but very little positive action.

I watch SKY News every morning and see holiday advertisements for Malta, Malaysia and Eastern European Countries, but never Majorca. Now why is that?
Flock to our shores
Do we just expect tourists to come flocking to our shores and spend money without a care in the world? Those days went with the price rises, the tourists are more discerning now. Those with less money to spend seek “all inclusive” and those that are wealthier, expect quality and variety.

It is the job of those in the tourist sector to satisfy these requirements, not waste energies on perpetuating a blame culture.
The moral is clear:
Change and Adapt or Perish! Gerry Mulligan