Michel Loris-Melikoff, Managing Director of Baselworld, explains the rationale behind the hotel partnership presented last week.
Mr Loris-Melikoff, the hotel partnership presented last week has been criticised by some media who still find the agreed maximum prices too high. What do you think?
Michel Loris-Melikoff: The question is what will be taken as the standard. Of course, hotel prices are higher at times of trade shows than at times of low demand, and even more so at such popular shows as Baselworld. Try reserving a room in Munich for the Oktoberfest or for the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona – you won’t get one for the price of a normal weekend either. Basel is in comparison with these two cities a relatively small trade fair city with a low hotel capacity for a world show like Baselworld. In order to balance supply and demand, only a tenth of the visitors should come. That said, the fact is that some of our partner hotels have dropped their prices by between 10 - 30%!
What have you achieved with the hotel partnership? What is its objective?
Michel Loris-Melikoff: On the one hand, we create transparency that has never existed as such before. Secondly, together with the hoteliers, we have defined price caps to prevent excesses. This accusation has been made time and again in recent years without it being possible to define what reasonable prices are and what are not. Thirdly, every partner hotelier is, of course, free to set their own prices as long as they do not exceed the limit, so they can remain below it. And fourthly, our "Official Partners" all waive obligatory additional services and a minimum stay, which for many visitors brings substantial savings – if you only want to stay for two days, you only have to pay these two, not four or six as in the past. So you have to consider the whole package, not just a single aspect. All in all, it will be more affordable for visitors and exhibitors to attend Baselworld, that’s the most important thing.
Why aren’t more 5-star hotels taking part in the partnership?
Because Basel has only one 5-star superior hotel, the Grand Hotel “Les Trois Rois”. And that is one of our hotel partners.
Sporadically also the quality of the hotels was criticised.
Michel Loris-Melikoff: We did not select our partners on the basis of quality, but on the basis of their willingness to fulfil the four criteria developed in cooperation with the Hotelier Association: adherence to the maximum price, no minimum stay, no price increase compared with 2018, no compulsion to additional consumption. We can therefore only negotiate and agree on these “hard facts” for our visitors and exhibitors, and there is no quality judgement associated with this. This is not our objective, but is at the discretion of the visitors, who can use different sources of information for this purpose.